Justice: Questions and answers for the general public

To enter a courthouse, you must wear a mask or face covering. An exception may be made for persons under the age of 10 or those who meet one of the medical conditions determined by public health authorities This hyperlink will open in a new window.. If you qualify for one of these exceptions, you must state so as soon as you arrive at the courthouse.

In addition, an employee or security agent will assess your state of health to determine your risk level. In order to limit the number of people in the courthouse, you may be asked about the reason for your visit and given an alternative option.

Hearing rooms, interview rooms, service counters and common areas have been adapted to comply with current public health guidelines, including through the addition of protective panels, sanitizer dispensers and signage. Increased furniture and surface cleaning has also been implemented.

Anyone who enters a courthouse must sanitize their hands using the sanitizer provided. They must follow courthouse directives at all times, such as cough etiquette, hygiene measures and physical distancing, in accordance with current health guidelines.

Access to courtrooms is also controlled to ensure physical distancing.

All regular court activities have resumed since September 1, 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a new reality which the Ministère de la Justice has to contend with, particularly when conducting jury trials.

That is why, in collaboration with the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ), we have implemented the necessary measures to limit the risk of infection. 
Our staff will greet you in the safest conditions possible and will guide you through the selection process. It is also mandatory to wear a face mask or covering when circulating in the courthouse’s common areas. 

If you are considered at risk according to the criteria established by the INSPQ, or if you have COVID-19 symptoms, you can apply for an exemption or for postponement to a later session by explaining your situation in the exemption form you received. To learn more about who is considered at risk, please visit the INSPQ's website This hyperlink will open in a new window..

In any event, if you have COVID-19 symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 shortly before your appearance date, please communicate with the courthouse prior to going.

There is no suspension of jury trials. You must respect the jury summons sent to you. Measures have been taken to ensure your safety.

The suspension of time limits was lifted on September 1, 2020. There is currently no suspension of time limits for civil, penal or administrative justice proceedings.

The time limits for bringing proceedings relating to matters heard by the following bodies, excluding matters deemed urgent by their presidents or members the presidents designate for that purpose, are suspended until the declaration of a public health emergency expires:

  • the Administrative Tribunal of Québec;
  • the Administrative Labour Tribunal;
  • the Financial Markets Administrative Tribunal;
  • the Commission de la fonction publique;
  • the Commission d’accès à l’information (adjudication division);

However, this does not apply to proceedings relating to applications for certification provided under section 22 of the Labour Code (chapter C-27).

Additionally, the time limit to lodge a complaint regarding police ethics provided under section 150 of the Police Act (chapter P-13.1) is suspended until the declaration of a public health emergency expires.

Concerning matters under the jurisdiction of:

  • the Comité de déontologie policière;
  • the Commission municipale du Québec;
  • the Commission des transports du Québec;
  • the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux;
  • the Régie des marchés agricoles et alimentaires du Québec; 
  • time limits are suspended for:
  • applying for the renewal of a permit or other similar authorization; 
  • paying fees or charges;
  • making submissions; 
  • applying for review of a decision.

However, this does not apply to the periodic review of a recognition under section 243.19 of the Act respecting municipal taxation (chapter F-2.1).

Yes, you can, but we ask that you opt for other available methods to access the Ministère de la Justice’s services.

To file a pleading, please do so via the Digital Court Office of Québec (DCOQ) This hyperlink will open in a new window..

Please note that certain documents cannot be filed via the DCOQ. You can find the list of exceptions in the terms of use. If you cannot file your pleadings online, please mail them where possible. If you have no alternative option, you may file your pleadings onsite at the courthouse.

You can file a notice of appeal in appeals as of right in civil matters online via the Digital Office of the Court of Appeal (DOCA) This hyperlink will open in a new window..

You can file an application or a response with the Small Claims Division of the Court of Québec online service.

For services relating to the Bureau des infractions et amendes, you can make a payment online at www.amendes.qc.ca This hyperlink will open in a new window. or by telephone at 1-877-263-6337 (AMENDES). For more information, please contact an agent of the Bureau des infractions et amendes at the same telephone number.

For registers, such as the Register of Personal and Movable Real Rights This hyperlink will open in a new window., most of the transactions can be done by mail or online at https://www.justice.gouv.qc.ca/en/programs-and-services/registers This hyperlink will open in a new window..

If you have any questions, please call 1-866-536-5140.

Yes, in accordance with standard procedures and current health guidelines.

Celebrations may take place.

The maximum number of people who can attend a wedding varies by courthouse, based on guidelines from the Department of Public Health. In addition, given these guidelines, the desired date and time for the solemnization of a marriage or civil union may be limited.

If you have any questions or if you wish to postpone a celebration, you can contact us by phone at 1 866 536-5140.

Small claims interviews will continue, unless otherwise specified, and may be held at the courthouse, by telephone or by other technological means.

If you have any questions, you can contact us by phone at 1 866 536-5140.

You can do so online directly on our website using the online form This hyperlink will open in a new window. or by mail. If you proceed by mail, do not forget to provide your phone number so that the clerk can contact you for the payment of fees.

You can also go to the courthouse, but we ask you to use the other means available to you.

Yes. However, you may also submit your documents by mail, making sure to include your contact information so that the clerk can get in touch with you regarding fee payment.

Various pleadings can be submitted through the Digital Court Office of Québec (DCOQ) This hyperlink will open in a new window..

Yes. For services relating to the Bureau des infractions et amendes, you can make a payment online at www.amendes.qc.ca This hyperlink will open in a new window. or by telephone at 1-877-263-6337 (AMENDES).

Please come to the courthouse with the form.

Forms are available in the Ministère de la Justice documentation center This hyperlink will open in a new window.. We recommend filling out the form in advance.

Yes, the counter is open, but we encourage you to use our online services at www.rdprm.gouv.qc.ca This hyperlink will open in a new window..

The usual payment methods are accepted. Court costs and fees for filing pleadings or documents via the Digital Court Office of Québec (DCOQ) This hyperlink will open in a new window. or the Digital Office of the Court of Appeal (DOCA) This hyperlink will open in a new window. can be paid directly on those platforms. The same goes for small claims applications and responses. You can pay directly on our website.

You can check the resources available on the website of the Ministère de la Justice This hyperlink will open in a new window. or Éducaloi This hyperlink will open in a new window.
 
You can check with your local Community Justice Center This hyperlink will open in a new window. for free information, support and orientation services.

To get a lawyer, you can contact legal aid, use assistance services in criminal matters or search the Barreau du Québec’s directory This hyperlink will open in a new window..

For free aid services for victims or witnesses of a crime, or those close to them, please contact the Crime Victims Assistance Centres (CAVAC) This hyperlink will open in a new window..

Yes. Please visit the website of the Register of Commissioners for Oaths This hyperlink will open in a new window..

This information sheet This hyperlink will open in a new window. may also be helpful.

Yes, these services are maintained. To open a file, you need to make an appointment by calling 1-866-536-5140. Deposits can be made onsite at the courthouse.

The usual payment methods are accepted. You may also temporarily make your payment by personal cheque payable to the Minister of Finance. Please write your file number on your cheque. And make sure your name and contact information are written legibly on your cheque or on a separate sheet of paper included with your cheque.

The cheque must be mailed to the courthouse where your file was opened. Courthouse addresses can be found here This hyperlink will open in a new window..

You are required to respect your obligations and pay the amounts due pursuant to your voluntary deposit undertaking. 

You may also temporarily make your payment by personal cheque payable to the Minister of Finance. Please write your file number on your cheque. And make sure your name and contact information are written legibly on your cheque or on a separate sheet of paper included with your cheque.

The cheque must be mailed to the courthouse where your file was opened. Courthouse addresses can be found here This hyperlink will open in a new window..

You must report any change in your situation or information within 10 days following the change.

To notify the office of the Court of a change in your situation, please fill out the Declaration by Voluntary Deposit Debtor (SJ-1086) This hyperlink will open in a new window. form and mail it to the courthouse where your file was opened This hyperlink will open in a new window..

Detainees and Offenders

Since the beginning of the health crisis, the ministère de la Sécurité publique (MSP) has made sure to follow the recommendations of the Institut national de santé publique du Québec and has implemented numerous measures to protect detainees and MSP correctional services staff. For example,

  • a reminder of the health instructions of the Institut national de santé publique du Québec;
  • access to water, soap, and cleaning products in the living areas of detainees and to alcohol-based hand sanitizer in areas where they do not have ready access to water and soap;
  • confinement of newly admitted detainees;
  • segregation of prisoners at risk, symptomatic, or affected by COVID-19;
  • mandatory seclusion of staff who have contracted or are likely to have contracted COVID-19;
  • provide protective equipment to staff whose duties require it and make procedural masks available to correctional officers who come into contact with detainees in the course of their duties;
  • restriction of movement in and out of correctional facilities (suspension of programs, no access to gymnasiums, etc.);
  • restriction of entry to and exit from correctional facilities (offenders serving intermittent sentences, visitors, volunteers, appearances, etc.);
  • provision of a hotline for all detainees and their family members to obtain information on measures taken in correctional facilities to reduce the risk of virus propagation.

No. Only those individuals with COVID-19 or with symptoms of the disease are secluded and confined to their cells in segregation or quarantine areas, as per the directives of the healthcare department of the correctional facility. A person who is symptomatic is placed in a cell alone and is monitored by the said healthcare department.

Since March 26, all inmates admitted to a correctional facility have been quarantined for a period of 14 days before being placed in their respective living areas, as long as they do not show any symptoms.

As of March 14, 2020, all visits to detainees, with the exception of lawyers, are suspended until further notice.

Since the announcement of the suspension of visits, and for each 15-day period thereafter, all inmates are offered $30 to use the telephone system to contact family and friends.

Cell phones are also available for those confined to quarantine areas.

Yes, however, staff at the correctional facility will take several days to process these donations.

No. Meals are being served at the usual frequency and portions have not been reduced in any way. Canteen supplies, subject to availability, remain the same as before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Measures have been implemented to help detainees get through this period. For example, telephone call time is offered to each detainee. Movies, books, and board games are available to them. Chaplains are always on site, and a COVID-19 hotline is available to individual detainees and their family members.

In order to protect the health of detainees and correctional facility staff, the execution of intermittent sentences has been suspended since March 20. Individuals under this type of sentence have been granted a medical discharge with the condition that they remain in their homes.

The MSP is closely monitoring the situation. For the time being, it is prioritizing, with respect to persons serving a continuous sentence, the terms of release provided for in the Act respecting the Québec correctional system, such as temporary absences for medical reasons or for purposes of social reintegration.

In order to allow for appearances by detainees that could not be postponed, MSP correctional services worked with the Commission québécoise des libérations conditionnelles du Québec to expand the use of videoconferencing for hearings, as well as with the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions, the ministère de la Justice, and defence counsel to make use of videoconferencing, video parlours, and telephone appearances whenever possible.

You must follow the instructions of the Institut national de santé publique du Québec and stay in your home as much as possible. We suggest that you contact the resource and your correctional services worker to inform them of the situation. If you do not have enough time to complete your work within the prescribed period, your correctional services worker will be approached to collaborate in asking the court to extend the deadline.

There are no pandemic-specific financial measures offered by the MSP. The usual resources are available for assistance in applying to the ministère du Travail, de l'Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale for benefits or to initiate job search procedures.

A correctional services worker can also refer  detainees to the appropriate resources, if need be. 

Yes, detainees and their family members (spouse, child, parent, or other family members) can call 1-833-905-0001 to find out what measures are being taken in correctional facilities to reduce the risk of virus propagation. In addition, this hotline allows family and friends to express their concerns about a detainee who may be showing signs of psychological distress or to report any problematic or risky health situation. If the service is not available and the situation requires urgent reporting, please contact the correctional facility directly This hyperlink will open in a new window..

The support and information hotline for detainees and their families is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. However, no confidential information regarding detainees can be provided.