Federal Court ordered Air Canada to pay $15,000 and send formal apology letters to a French-speaking couple for repeated language equality violations.
The lawsuit filed against Air Canada in 2016, claimed that word “lift” was engraved on seatbelts in English but not in French.
Michel and Lynda Thibodeau filed more than 22 complaints, alleged the French translations of the words “exit” and “warning” were in smaller characters than the English words, and, also that a French language boarding announcement at the airport was less detailed than the English boarding call.
“Air Canada systematically violates the linguistic rights of Francophones,” argued the couple, and said “Signage must be of equal quality,”
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Official Languages Act, ensures that English and French have equal status in Canada.
The airline argued it was the manufacturer’s decision to engrave “lift” on the seatbelts, and the use of which, is explained in a bilingual video.
“It’s not me that should be changing airlines,” Michel Thibodeau told local media CBC. “It’s [Air Canada] that should be serving francophone customers in the same way that you’re serving anglophone customers.”