[lg policy] Quebec: IKEA offers English-language flyers on request

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Thu Apr 16 14:52:58 UTC 2015

IKEA offers English-language flyers on request April 15th, 2015

This is the latest in a series of articles looking at stores and companies
and their language policies in areas with majority and significant
anglophone populations, as documented by Hampstead’s Harold Staviss, a
lawyer, and Côte St. Luc Councillor Ruth Kovac.
IKEA has had a partial change of heart regarding its policy of sending out
French-only flyers and catalogues to Quebec residents.
Now the company is offering to send English flyers if requested by Staviss
and others who want them in that language.
The company’s St. Laurent store is perhaps the most bilingual in Quebec.
As reported last week in The Suburban, the company’s Madeleine
Löwenborg-Frick, with corporate public relations for IKEA Canada, had
informed Staviss that it had made a final decision “not to produce English
flyers for distribution in Quebec homes.” She also pointed out that the
English material was available online and in the store. Last year,
Löwenborg-Frick said IKEA was considering a change to the mailout language
Since last week’s story, Staviss e-mailed Löwenborg-Frick a copy of our
article on the issue, which the IKEA official said she already saw.
In the same e-mail, which was copied to The Suburban, she proposed a
compromise on the flyer and catalogue language issue.
“I would like to update you on how we are working towards meeting your
desire to hear from us in English,” she wrote. “I hope you know that we do
value you as a customer and we understand that this is important for you.
Please know that it has never been our intent to offend or discriminate
against anyone. After further reviewing our options, we would like to
extend an offer to personally mail you, and anyone else who wishes, a copy
of all our flyers as well as our catalogue in English. We respect your
position on wanting to hear from IKEA directly in your language of choice.
If this is of interest to you, please provide us with your address and we
will ensure that going forward we will mail you our flyers and catalogue in
Staviss thanked Löwenborg-Frick for the offer, but refused it. Staviss and
Kovac have said English speakers should not have to do extra work to get
flyers in English.
“The Charter of the French Language and its regulations permit the use of
English on flyers, so why IKEA does not respect that part of the Charter is
beyond me,” Staviss added. “All we are asking is for IKEA to treat both
francophones and anglophones with equal respect, nothing more and nothing
less. It is quite apparent to me that you would rather offend your
anglophone clientele rather than a very small minority of francophones. I
wish to remind you that our campaign has nothing to do with language, it
has everything to do with respect.”
Staviss wrote that he would rather spend his money at retailers “that show
equal respect to both francophones and anglophones.
“In addition, it has come to our attention that in many condos and
apartment buildings where IKEA flyers are delivered, the mail areas are
flooded with your flyers. Isn’t this a waste of money and bad for the
Staviss and Kovac’s e-mail address, bonjourhi2u at gmail.com — is “for anyone
who is interested in getting involved to encourage merchants, retailers and
the like to post English signage or more English signage in their

*IKEA, offers, English-language, flyers, on, request, Still, not,
acceptable:, Staviss*


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