The mandate of the Commission des services juridiques (legal services commission) is to ensure that legal aid is provided to low-income persons. This government service provides low-income persons with legal assistance by procuring them a lawyer or notary either free of charge or for a small fee. You may be eligible for legal aid. Should you need this type of assistance, check with the office nearest you to see if you qualify for this program.
There are several types of courts, each with its own area of jurisdiction: criminal, administrative or civil, provincial or federal, and municipal.
If you would like to bring a case before the courts, or are summoned to appear before a court, you will no doubt want to retain the services of a lawyer. You are free to choose who will represent and defend your interests, but you will have to pay the fees.
Small claims court
The complexity of the legal system and the sometimes long waiting periods prompted the Court of Québec to create the Small Claims Court. This court facilitates settling every-day civil cases, for example, a misunderstanding with a shopkeeper, a service provider, etc. Although quicker, this procedure imposes the following conditions:
Access to information
In Québec, An Act respecting Access to documents held by public bodies and the protection of personal information allows access to documents kept by the State and protects the personal information of citizens, with respect to fiscal, medical, educational or other information.
If you feel that you have been discriminated against when looking for a job, housing, or in any other situation, contact the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (youth and human rights commission).
To lodge a complaint with the Commission, you must be able to support your case with facts. It is also, of course, to your advantage to have witnesses. Be careful to note:
The Déclaration du gouvernement du Québec sur les relations interethniques et interraciales (Declaration by the gouvernement du Québec on ethnic and race relations) condemns any form of racial discrimination. It undertakes to ensure that everyone's rights are respected in all areas of life (work, housing, health, social services, education, etc.).