In the province of Québec, are restaurants legally required to provide free potable water upon request?
If so, what is the name/article of this law?
There are plenty of Quebecois laws covering what you must have water for (food prep, bathrooms, etc) and that if you are using the water in any fashion that it might come in contact with a human mouth (i.e. food preparation, etc) it must be drinking water (as defined in the document I linked), but no such laws requiring free distribution of drinking water on request by restaurants.
It's worth noting, I suppose, that tap water must be provided by restaurants in their bathrooms for the washing of hands and that said water must be of drinking water quality, but they are not required to offer it in a glass, free of charge.
Anecdotally, I will also note that there are laws in several other Canadian jurisdictions that DO require free drinking water on request, but those laws also do not stipulate the glass must be provided for free.
I've lived in Quebec my entire life and I can tell you for sure that any restaurant will give you water for free as long as you are buying something else.
As for when you are in a bar, you will have to ask and hope for the best, sometimes they can give you free water, sometimes they're not allowed to, but a nice smile might still get you a free glass, especially if you're foreign and polite and make the effort to try to ask in french (Est-ce que je pourrais avoir un verre d'eau s'il-vous-plaît?).
On that same topic, I don't know the exact law, but I'm fairly certain that a few years ago we passed a law that allows you to bring your own water pretty much anywhere, even if they sell water. The reason behind this is that some people need access to water for medical purposes, and to avoid discriminating anybody they allowed everyone to carry their own water.
I'm sure somebody could complete my answer with an actual law article.
I'd be surprised if it was.
In what context ?
You walk in a restaurant and only ask for a free glass of water ? Or when you have ordered your food and want water instead of alcohol ?
I've never been to a restaurant where they refuse to give me a glass of water upon request after ordering the food.
Heck, that's probably the first thing they do most of the time (with some exceptions)
If they want to charge you for the plain water, I assume it should be written on a menu somewhere (I'd check the "Loi de la protection du consommateur")
- Un commerçant doit indiquer clairement et lisiblement sur chaque bien offert en vente dans son établissement ou, dans le cas d’un bien emballé, sur son emballage, le prix de vente de ce bien, sous réserve de ce qui est prévu par règlement.
Translated via Google Translate:
- A merchant must clearly and legibly indicate on each property offered for sale in his establishment or, in the case of a well-packaged item, on its packaging, the selling price of that property, subject to the provisions of the by-law.
In short a seller (restaurant) must clearly indicate the price of an item ...