OQLF targets international online platform owned by a local Francophone businessman

Photo from Robotshop.com Facebook page

The founder and CEO of RobotShop.com, Mario Tremblay, received a letter from the Office Quebecoise de la langue Francaise (OQLF) stating that his website is in violation of Quebec’s French language laws.

Robotshop.com is an online marketplace for all things robotic for people of all ages featuring technological elements, artificial intelligence items and multipurpose gadgets from many countries around the world.

The OQLF claims that Mr. Tremblay’s platform is in violation of Article 51 of their charter which would require each item being sold on his platform to be tagged in French. According to Tremblay, the task is impossible seeing as the products that are featured on his site are listed and come from manufacturers of which the majority are outside of Quebec selling any multitude of products on his website.

Can the OQLF police internationally based platforms because the owners are registered in Quebec? Hundreds of businesses have moved to Ontario, the US or other countries exactly for this reason, because the answer seems to be yes.

Mr. Tremblay was given two months to respond to the letter. He stated to the press that for the moment, he is evaluating his options, which include potentially moving his business headquarters elsewhere.

According to the guidelines set forth in Bill 51, it is virtually impossible for Mr. Tremblay to ascribe French inscriptions onto every single item as the platform is designed to sustain millions of products for sale from nearly any country in the world.

All online platforms have a translation option and/or a program can be downloaded to facilitate the process. Some of the items on Tremblay’s site may not even have a French name yet as they are new items on the market with new names given in their country of origin.

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