Montreal real estate broker fined $1,500 for English-language social media ad

A Montreal real estate broker has picked up a hefty fine for posting a social media ad in English only.

REMAX Broker Qiang Zhong said he was issued the ticket of $1,500 by the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) over the post, which advertised one of his properties.

Zhong said he didn’t mind picking up the bill. “I know the government just wants to promote the French language,” he said. “I don't have any personal emotion against this stuff.”

The fine came from a violation of Article 52 of Quebec’s French Charter, which states that, “catalogues, brochures, folders, commercial directories and any similar publications must be drawn up in French.”

The OQLF said it became aware of the infraction after a complaint on Oct. 23, 2019.

Zhong said he’s been working as a broker in Montreal for more than a decade after moving from China, where he’s used to navigating between languages: Mandarin, the official language of Mainlaind China, and Cantonese, which is also common in his home province of Guangdong.

He said he’s still connected with his home communities, and has helped several new Chinese immigrants find homes in Montreal. He said he also encourages newcomers to learn French -- the province’s official language.

“Even though I got the bill, I still love Montreal,” he said. “I could get double or triple the money in Toronto or Vancouver, but I want to stay here.”

He also said the ad brought prospective buyers to the REMAX website, which can be viewed in both French and English.

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