06/19/2012 06:20 EDT | Updated 08/19/2012 05:12 EDT

New Brunswick city launches plan to boost bilingual business signage

MONCTON, N.B. - The city of Moncton, N.B, has unveiled a plan to increase the use of bilingual signs by downtown businesses over the next five years.

A committee was formed last year to come up with an action plan, which was adopted by council Monday.

Among the plan's goals is ensuring 45 per cent of downtown businesses, mostly in the retail sector, use bilingual signs to indicate their hours of operation and whether they're open or closed by 2017.

The city, which declared itself officially bilingual in 2002, says only four per cent of downtown businesses currently use open signs in both official languages, and only 10 per cent list their hours of operation in French and English.

The action plan also calls for more bilingual signage in business windows and on storefronts, as well as plans to target businesses outside the downtown core.

The city says meetings will also be held with business groups and organizations to encourage the use of signs in French and English.