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Court ordered Air Canada to pay French-speaking couple $21K over language violations

The Federal Court has ordered Air Canada to pay $21,000 to an Ottawa couple for repeated violations of their French-language language rights, including seatbelts on which the instruction to "lift" the buckle was marked only in English.

Michel and Lynda Thibodeau filed 22 complaints in 2016 with the commissioner of official languages for alleged offences under the Official Languages Act.

The pair complained that planes' emergency exit door signs were either in English only, or the English words were in larger font than the French ones. They noted seatbelts were engraved with the word "lift" with no French-language equivalent.

They also complained that a French-language boarding announcement made at the airport in Fredericton was not as detailed as the English-language one.

The two say Air Canada systematically violated the linguistic rights of francophones.

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