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Every business operating in Québec should already be aware that it is a French-speaking province and that given the population it would make sense to operate in French when carrying on business in the province.

We are frequently asked, however, about the requirements of the Charter of the French Language (the “CFL”), particularly about whether specific documents must be translated, and whether websites must be offered in French as well.  

The December 20, 2017 decision of the Québec Court of Appeal in 156158 Canada Inc. v. Attorney General of Québec, 2017 QCCA 2055 provides a useful summary of the major provisions of the Charter of the French Language and upholds the validity of all of them, including the relatively recent requirement for French language websites.

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As a general rule, non-resident employers who send their employees to Canada to perform various tasks for them are required to withhold tax in respect of the employees earnings while in Canada, and remit same to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).  Employees, are then required to file Canadian income tax returns to recover those taxes, if meeting certain tax treaty tests for determining taxability of those earnings in Canada.

Perhaps not surprisingly, these rules have made sending US employees to Canada an extremely cumbersome process for US employers, with full technical compliance with these rules perhaps honored more in the breach that the observance.

Thankfully, the CRA has instituted a brand new program addressing this situation, aimed at certifying non-resident employers, and then allowing a stream-lined process for sending US employees to Canada.   The program will apply for all payments made to US employees after 2015, and offers possible relief from the withholding tax requirements referred to above, upon certification.

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Canada's new "Anti-Spam" Legislation will come into effect on July 1, 2014 (for simplicity, Canada's "ASL").

While a step forward for Canada in this legislative area, a more pessimistic view of it might position it as largely ineffectual when it comes to removing spam from my inbox and your inbox (because it does not contain any real measures aimed at enforcement on foreign owned computer systems or internet providers where much of Canadian spam actually originates), and the spam that it does effectively remove (Canadian-based spam) seems to be at a huge cost to legitimate Canadian businesses that seek to market their legitimate products and services to Canadians in the digital market-place).

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