Air Canada fined for poor French service in Fredericton

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A francophone couple from Ottawa who complained Air Canada failed to provide appropriate boarding instructions in French at Fredericton Airport has won its court battle with the airline.

The Daily Gleaner reports the airline was ordered to pay the couple $21,000 in damages last week for violating their language rights on several occasions in 2016.

Federal Court Justice Martine St-Louis also ordered the airline to give the couple a written apology.

According to the court decision, the boarding announcement for the couple's flight from Fredericton at the end of July 2016 was announced in English, and a much shorter French version followed.

The paper reports Air Canada argued the live English announcement was preceded by a pre-recorded one that was the same in both languages, and that it was not obligated to make sure every word was delivered in both languages.

The couple's complaint list also included that the seatbelts were engraved with the word "lift" in English only, and that the signage for the emergency exits was either in English only, or there was a discrepancy in font size between the English text and the French.

The Telegraph-Journal notes the couple first complained to the Canada's Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, and it acted as an intervener in the case in support of the couple.

The court decision notes several of the couple's complaints were still being investigated, while 8 were settled out of court.

(With files from the Telegraph-Journal)