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Executive Summaries Jun 16, 2022

Adoption of Bill 96: What Are Your New Real Estate and Financing Obligations?

On June 1st, 2022, the Government of Québec adopted Bill 96, an Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec. Some of the modifications introduced by Bill 96 deserve particular attention due to their impact in the areas of real estate and financing.

We have listed below the main modifications according to their effective date.

New Provisions Effective as of June 1st, 2022

  • All declarations of co-ownership, amendments to an act constituting the co-ownership and description of the fractions, and all other notices relating to the co-ownership must be written exclusively in French.
  • Any deed of sale or exchange of all or part of a chiefly residential immovable of fewer than five dwellings or a fraction of a chiefly residential immovable held in co-ownership, as well as any related document (i.e., promise to purchase and preliminary contract), must be drafted in French. However, said deeds and documents may be drafted in a language other than French at the express wish of the parties.
  • Invoices, receipts, acquittances and other similar documents must be drafted in French.
  • When a document is permitted to be drafted in both French and in another language, the French version must at least be as prominent as the other language, and the French version must be complete without the parties having to refer to the version in another language to interpret it.

New Provisions Effective as of September 1st, 2022

  • Except as provided in Bill 96, an application for registration at the land register and the Québec register of personal and movable real rights must be drafted exclusively in French. In other words, with regards to the land register, the presentation of the deed itself (i.e. any deed of sale, hypothecary deed, notice of lease, modification and cancellation of a registered right) written in a language other than French as an application for registration will be refused. In this regard, the Chambre des notaires du Québec has recommended that its members favor drafting discharge documents in French, given the delays of several weeks to obtain the discharge signed by the hypothecary creditors.
  • Documents attached to an application for registration (i.e., any declaration under oath, judgment and resolution) must also be drafted in French or must be translated and submitted to the registry office with proof of official translation.

New Provisions Effective as of June 1st, 2023

  • Contracts of adhesion, such as standard loan agreements and related documents must be drafted in French. As explained in a recent article by our commercial law team, the parties to such a contract may be bound only by its version in a language other than French if they expressly wish to do so after having read the French version. The documents relating to the contract may then be written exclusively in that other language.
  • Finally, contracts with the government must be drafted exclusively in French, unless an exception is expressly provided for in Bill 96, such as loan agreements with the government, which may be drafted in French and in a language other than French, but not solely in such language.

We invite you to consult the articles that have been published by our colleagues in connection with the modifications affecting intellectual property law, commercial law and labour law. If you have any questions regarding this article, we invite you to contact any of our professionals of our real estate and banking law team.

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