Lavergne Law (1910)—An Act to amend the Civil Code, respecting contracts made with public utility companies

Affected Legal Entities

Quebec

Legal Status

Repealed

Context

This law amending the Quebec Civil Code (Chapter 40) required public utility enterprises in Quebec to serve their customers in English and French. In French, it was called the Loi amendant le Code civil concernant les contrats faits avec les compagnies de services d'utilité publique. The act was applied very progressively at the time, so much so that even more than a decade later in 1921, people were still denouncing cases of non-compliance in newspapers.

This law was an initiative of MLA Armand Lavergne, who had created a two-year stir across the province by tabling a petition with 1.7 million signatures, or almost the entire Quebec population, including anglophones. Faced with this support, the Quebec government resigned itself to enacting the law.

Linguistic Significance

Though limited in scope, the Lavergne Law marked the first intervention of the Quebec state in language matters.

Linguistic Provisions

Article 1

The following articles are added after article 1682b of the Civil Code as enacted by the act 5 Edward VII, chapter 28, section 1:

"1682c. The following shall be printed in French and in English : passenger tickets, baggage-checks, way-bills, bills of lading, printed telegraph forms, and contract forms, made, furnished or delivered by a railway, navigation, telegraph, telephone transportation, express or electric power company, as well as all notices or regulations posted up in its stations, carriages, boats, offices, factories or workshops.

"1682d. Every contravention, by a railway, navigation, telegraph, telephone, transportation, express or electric power company, doing business in this Province, of any of the provisions of the foregoing article shall be punished by a fine net exceeding twenty dollars, without, prejudice to recourse for damages."

Complete Text

Chapter 40

An Act to amend the Civil Code, respecting contracts made with public utility companies.

HIS MAJESTY, with the advice and consent of the Legislative Council and of the Legislative Assembly of Quebec, enacts as follows:

Article 1

The following articles are added after article 1682b of the Civil Code as enacted by the act 5 Edward VII, chapter 28, section 1:

"1682c. The following shall be printed in French and in English : passenger tickets, baggage-checks, way-bills, bills of lading, printed telegraph forms, and contract forms, made, furnished or delivered by a railway, navigation, telegraph, telephone transportation, express or electric power company, as well as all notices or regulations posted up in its stations, carriages, boats, offices, factories or workshops.

"1682d. Every contravention, by a railway, navigation, telegraph, telephone, transportation, express or electric power company, doing business in this Province, of any of the provisions of the foregoing article shall be punished by a fine net exceeding twenty dollars, without, prejudice to recourse for damages."

Article 2

This act shall come into force on the first day of January, 1911.