CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers - Bill 101: Pros and Cons

History, Social Studies
3 lessons
To examine the benefits and drawbacks of Bill 101
Students will identify the benefits and drawbacks of Bill 101.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Ask students to imagine that their culture was being threatened and that they were no longer able to communicate in their native language. What actions could they take to preserve their cultural identity? List class responses on chart paper or the board.

Tell students that in response to concerns over the loss of French culture and language in Quebec, language laws were enacted that had a substantial impact on the English-speaking minority. Proponents of the proposed law, Bill 101, argued that it is necessary to preserve and assert French culture and identity. Opponents criticized the law as a violation of their rights to communicate in the language of their choice.

Outline the Opportunity

Direct students to the topic Fighting Words: Bill 101 on the CBC Digital Archives website. In partners, have students browse the clips "Master plan for a new French Quebec," "Politics of smoked meat," "Bill 101 is official," "Sun Life packs up," "'French is Quebec: it's a plus,'" "Bill 101's first legal blow," "Mr Singer goes to court" and "Five years after Bill 101."  They should also read the accompanying text. Have them identify the advantages and disadvantages of Bill 101, the Charter of the French Language. Specifically, they should note the areas of impact identified in the clip "Politics of smoked meat."

Each pair will complete the download sheet Bill 101: Pros and Cons, summarizing the impact of Quebec's Bill 101 in places such as businesses, courts, schools, and places of work. Students compare and discuss their charts.

Revisit and Reflect

Gather students and discuss the results of their investigation chart. Ask: Which changes do you think had the most impact on life in Quebec? Why? What were the implications of Bill 101 for the economy? For French culture and language? For anglophones?

Assessment Tip: Look for individual students to identify two advantages and two disadvantages of the language laws.


In small groups, students can prepare a short presentation on a legal challenge to Bill 101. They can view the clips "Bill 101's first legal blow," "Bill 101 suffers legal setback over education," "Three strikes against Bill 101" and "Bourassa's dilemma" or the clips relating to the 1988 Supreme Court of Canada decision: "The 1988 Supreme Court decision on signs," "Defending his decision" and "Quebecers on the Supreme Court decision."


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