Have you been told we can’t take that coupon because it’s in French?

no frenchHave you been told we can’t take that coupon because it’s in French?

Have you taken the time to carefully figure out your shopping trip, gather your coupons, get to the store…. YES it’s all in stock……you get to the cash and they tell you “sorry we cannot take that coupon as it is in French” and WHAM! There goes your planned shopping trip.

Can they do that? They think they can but the short answer is “NO” they cannot refuse a coupon that is in French if you are in Canada.

The most common “reason” they give is they don’t understand French. Do they need to understand French to see if a coupon in French is valid?

Things that don’t change from English to French!

  1. Numbers ~ Yes they many sound different when we speak them but physical numbers such as 1,2,3 is still 1,2,3 regardless if you speak French or English!
  2. A name is a name. Kraft Dinner is Kraft Dinner; you can speak any language you want and you can’t change the fact that the company named the product Kraft Dinner!
  3. Pictures – A picture is an image that breaks language barriers! The picture on the coupon is still the same picture!
  4. Costs- If it is 4.99 in Toronto that number 4.99 means the same thing in Montreal. The ONLY difference generally is the $. Example on the English portion of a coupon it will display $4.99; on the French portion of the coupon it will display 4.99$.
  5. Size – 4 X 100 g is the same regardless of the language

Here is a picture I took of a coupon that is in both of our official languages. English & French !

You can click the picture to make the image larger!


Here are some tips to have hassle free shopping while using coupons that are in French

  1. Highlight the expiry date
  2. Highlight the Canadian Mail to address
  3. Highlight the specifically words on the coupon that identifies what you are purchasing
  4. Make sure you are in Canada

Things to consider before we get to the law on why they have to take the coupon but some things to think about :

  • Why do they make coupons for Tylenol in French if they say not valid in Quebec…….. where do they want you to use them?
  • Why are there coupons all over Canada that are just in French? Shouldn’t they just be in Quebec if that is where they want them used?
  • Why do big companies such as P&G that have contests and advertise them in French if people from Quebec cannot enter and well French isn’t accepted anywhere else in Canada??
  • Why does Canada have 2 official languages if only one is accepted? Why are labels all over Canada in both languages?
  • Why does it not say in stores coupon policies “Only English Accepted”?

It’s because it is illegal to discriminate against any person in Canada based on many things


15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

Official Languages of Canada
OFFICIAL LANGUAGES OF CANADA / Official languages of New Brunswick / Advancement of status and use.

16. (1) English and French are the official languages of Canada and have equality of status and equal rights and privileges

These are important parts of our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

If you are not familiar with Law that is the Highest Law in Canada in which all our other laws derive from ALL other laws in Canada whether federal, provincial or even municipal laws they all need to fall within the Charter.


Next National Coupon Policies National Policies mean ALL the stores across Canada MUST follow them Here are 3 of the players and you will note that not one of them say the coupon must be in English.

Walmart Policies
Shoppers Drug Mart
Giant Tiger

(thanks to MrsJanuary for the use of these policies)


How to deal with it?

  1. Don’t get upset with the cashier, she/he only knows what she/he is told and we all know sometimes information doesn’t get filtered down.
  2. Politely ask to speak to a supervisor; if not successful the store manager.
  3. Ask to see a copy of their coupon policy (it’s always good for you to have your own copy as well in your binder)
  4. Ask them about the Charter
  5. If you still do not get satisfaction when you get home complete the online survey on your receipt…….head office does read them
  6. Call or email the head office when you get home and explain the issue of what happened AND email the company the coupon is from and advise them of your issue.
  7. In most cases it is simply information that didn’t get filtered down properly; by you stepping up you are being part of the solution
  8. Please do not use coupons that are in French that say Seulement au Québec that means only valid in Quebec
**This is an original article written by Dana Calder  ~ If you would like to copy this article in part or full you are authorized to do so as along as you provide credit & a link to CouponNannie * Failure to link back  will revoke authorization and thus using it in part or whole constitutes copyright infringement **


One comment

  1. Just wanted to point out that French is an official language in New Brunswick (the only province with two offical languages).

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