The Importance of Bilingualism for Canadian Cannabis Companies

This summer, Canadian culture and lifestyle are about to experience a shift this summer with the legalization of recreational cannabis. With such a significant change in the way Canadians access cannabis, we can expect communications and media surrounding cannabis culture to be set ablaze in a way we’ve never seen before.

Canadian cannabis companies are eagerly preparing for what will undoubtedly be a cash cow for business. Early projections see the Canadian recreational cannabis market being worth anywhere from $2.3 billion to $4.5 billion by 2021.

There are more than enough known cannabis users to create a demand for legal cannabis. 18% of Canadians report using cannabis within the last year, and over 15% of Quebecers admitted cannabis as being part of their lifestyle.

As Public Relations, cannabis education, marketing strategies, and content development for the legal cannabis industry is in overdrive in preparation for this summer, could cannabis companies be leaving out an essential cannabis consumer in French-speaking Canadians?

Engaging French-Speaking Canadians in Cannabis Culture

The existing and emergent cannabis culture in Canada is strong, and Canadians across the nation are coming out in droves to bring cannabis to the forefront. Blogging about lifestyle adds a fresh perspective to cannabis, sharing testimonials about medical use helping us advance understanding of how it changes lives and health, while cannabis education programs bring cutting-edge cannabis research and knowledge to an emerging demographic of Canadian users.

7.2 million Canadians are Francophone, with almost 80% of Quebecers citing French as their first language. Consumer regulations in the Province of Quebec require that essential information including packaging and labeling for consumer products be presented in French.  Marketing efforts are also expected to have the French language placed at the same prominence as other languages spoken within the province.

In the context of Canada’s recreational cannabis legalization efforts, Quebec has taken a slower and more conservative approach in comparison to other areas across the country with French-speaking pockets. Licensing within Canada is concentrated mostly in Ontario and British Columbia, with other prominent French-speaking provinces like New Brunswick slowly getting into the cannabis industry. No matter what the numbers say, Canada has always had a thriving cannabis culture, and individual provincial approaches shouldn’t speak for all Canadians and their enjoyment of cannabis products.

Despite the province-by-province approach to legal sales, Canada’s adoption cannabis culture, health and lifestyle must strive to be inclusive to French-speaking Canadians. The emergent recreational cannabis market nationwide has an opportunity to set standards for bilingual engagement and communication strategies for this booming industry.

Ensuring an Effective French Translation Strategy to Engage French Canadians

Here are a few ways that cannabis companies across Canada can emerge as leaders in bilingual cannabis communications within the nation:

  • Include a French-language presence in social media. Taking the opportunity to translate your social media communications (including blogs on your website) accurately to French can increase reach to the 7.2 million French-speaking Canadians.

  • Produce bilingual cannabis education. Leading cannabis companies are taking their cannabis education strategies seriously, which means maximizing accessibility and reach. Brochures, presentations, pamphlets, product information, and website content that is presented in French will ensure that no cannabis using Canadian is left uninformed about safe and responsible cannabis use.

  • Model the way in French and English labeling and packaging. The Charter of French Languages requires that the French language be given equal prominence in packaging and labeling of essential information as other languages. All mandatory information for products must present in French. Using a French translator will ensure that your company is not only meeting the Charter of French Languages’ requirements, but also presenting a proactive strategy towards bilingual communications

Melanie Bernier, Founder and Head Translator of WordFrog Inc. recognizes the importance of French translation in Canadian cannabis. “Prominent cannabis industry players in the U.S. states have gone above and beyond to provide informative lifestyle and health content to recreational users of cannabis,” says Melanie, “We have an opportunity in Canada to replicate the excellent communication strategies of the global cannabis movement in Canada while ensuring inclusiveness in the two official languages that make our country unique.”

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