A formal notice is a letter. It is not a paper or electronic form created by the Ministère de la Justice.
The goal of a formal notice is to encourage its recipient (such as a person, company or organization) to do or not do something in a particular way and within a given time. In other words, it allows you to explain your claim to the recipient and how they can rectify the situation.
This gives the recipient an opportunity to settle the obligation without having to go to court. Sending a formal notice does not oblige you to take the case to court.
In some types of proceedings, a formal notice is required, and you may lose your case simply because you failed to send a notice. If you are unsure whether a formal notice is required, it is best to send one or consult a lawyer.
Nothing forces the recipient to respond to or comply with the formal notice. They can ignore it or refuse to comply.
Hidden defects: written notice required
In cases involving hidden defects, you must notify the seller in writing and within a reasonable time that you have discovered a defect. Instead of a written notice, you may also send the seller a formal notice.
Writing a formal notice (with a template)
You can write a formal notice yourself. While there is no requirement to do so, you can hire a lawyer to write your formal notice, even for cases destined for the Small Claims Division.
A formal notice is drawn up in the form of a letter and should contain:
The words “Without prejudice” to protect you with regard to your statements in the notice
How the letter will be delivered (by registered mail or by bailiff)
The expression “formal notice” in the body of the letter to ensure that the recipient is aware of its importance
A summary of the dispute
The nature of your request and how you expect it to be resolved
A reasonable time limit to resolve the request (in general, 10 days)
Your contact information and signature.
Template for a formal notice
Place and date
By registered mail (or By bailiff)
Name and address of the recipient
Re: Formal notice
I am writing to inform you that I am claiming the sum of $XX from you for the following reasons:
This letter constitutes formal notice to pay me the sum of $XX within ten days.
This letter also constitutes formal notice to return this object which belongs to me and which is currently in your possession within ten days.
Otherwise, I may take legal action against you immediately and without further notice.
I hereby inform you that I will consider any proposal for mediation or negotiation before referring the case to the courts.
Please act accordingly.
Your address and telephone number
Sending a formal notice
Send the original copy of your formal notice by registered mail, or have a bailiff serve it to the recipient.
No matter how you send it, you may have to prove to the court that the recipient received the formal notice. So keep your proof of receipt, such as the proof of delivery from Canada Post, if you used registered mail. If you have a bailiff serve the notice, request a copy of their minutes as proof of receipt.
Lastly, no matter how you sent it, always retain a copy of the formal notice for your files.