Ford Case



In the Ford case (1988), the Supreme Court of Canada declared that sections 58 and 69 of the Charter of the French Language (Law 101), which required the exclusive use of French in commercial signs and the style of firm names, were incompatible with subsection 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and section 3 of the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. Freedom of expression included the freedom to choose the language in which one expressed oneself. Commercial expression also formed part of freedom of expression. This prohibition and the related exclusivity could not be justified by virtue of section 9.1 of the Québec Charter and section 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. There was no evidence that it was necessary to impose exclusivity. However, the Supreme Court added the clear predominance of French on commercial signs could be justified equally under section 9.1 of the Québec Charter and section 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms because of the goal of assuring the survival of the French language.