Québec, the French-speaking region of Canada, has seen a new language law implemented.
The Québec Government has already enacted Bill 96.
Its aim is to strengthen the language of the province…by making French the main language spoken in business, healthcare, etc.
And, that includes the video game industry.
So, as it stands, there are fears that this new law would dissuade non-French-speaking developers from coming to the region.
Which, when you take a look at the province’s output, is a hefty loss.
Québec currently employs around 11,000 people in the video game industry.
The region routinely sees revenues of around $1.75bn generated annually.
There are around 11,000 people employed in the industry in Québec, with revenue of around $1.75bn generated annually.
Ubisoft has studios there, as too does WB Games, Gameloft, Eidos Montréal, and Behaviour.
And, by the looks of things, many in the industry are already looking to leave Québec.
An anonymous source spoke to CBC, saying;
“You already see it, with some people looking at Bill 96 and saying; ‘Ok, it’s time for me to pack up and leave'”.
This source also told CBC that if Bill 96 had been passed before he had been hired, it “definitely would have had an impact” on his decision to work in the province.
“I just don’t see Quebec companies being able to attract talent if that’s what they have to [contend with]”.
Sadly, it isn’t just unknowns in the industry that have worries.
Christopher Chancey, the Chairman of the Board for the Guilde du jeu vidéo du Québec, which acts to represent studios in the province, also has concerns.
As Chancey notes, the Guild supports French being Québec’s default language.
In fact, it was the Guilde that helped the Government translate video game terms that did not have French equivalents to try and reduce Anglicisms in the workplace.
However, Chancey draws the line at this newfound gate-keeping;
“…We have a lot of people coming from everywhere around the world to make video games here in Québec. Our fear is that this is sending out a message [that Quebec is] not inclusive to other cultures”.
As it currently stands, with Bill 96 in effect, immigrants who have been in Québec for longer than six months will only be able to access most government services in French.
Chancey hopes that the government expands this six-month time limit.
Furthermore, he thinks the new law is a “PR issue” for the government that it try and address.
“I think everyone understands the importance of the French language. I think it’s just a question of making sure that [newcomers] feel included as well”.
Time will tell what effect this ultimately has on the province, but, for now, it’s certainly not looking hopeful.
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