This section provides you with information on the most recent developments in public policy in Quebec and in Canada which directly affect your civil rights.
Winter 2015 - CRARR encourages individuals who feel they have been abusively or unfairly treated by the police, private security guards or other public law enforcement officials to file police ethics and civil rights complaints.
All persons enjoy fundamental civil rights and liberties under the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They are protected from racial profiling, or profiling based on prohibited grounds of discrimination such as age, social condition and political convictions and from other violations of their right to the security and dignity of the person. Persons who feel or who have been unfairly or illegally treated by law enforcement officials as well as private security guards are encouraged to take action to defend their rights by filing complaints with agencies such as the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission, and the Police Ethics Commissioner. They can also sue in common-law courts for civil rights violations.
ATTENTION: We advise you against rushing to file complaints, especially if you have been arrested or fined. If you do not write your complaint properly, it may be used against you later by these public protection agencies or in court. As well, since criminal charges or penal charges (i.e. the fines) can be laid against you up to six months after the incident, be careful what you write or say in your complaints. And pay attention to time limits to take legal actions
With its expertise, CRARR is available to assist and represent persons who wish to file complaints and take legal actions against abusive and discriminatory law enforcement practices. Its associate counsels can also provide legal defense.
Winter 2015 - DELAYS IN PROCESSING COMPLAINTS FILED AT THE QUEBEC HUMAN RIGHTS AND YOUTH RIGHTS COMMISSION: Individuals who file complaints of discrimination and civil rights violations at the Commission may have noticed that it takes up to 3 to 4 months before a Commission staff person contacts them for a meeting at the intake level, for the preliminary evaluation of the complaint. This is a procedure whereby Commission staff will decide whether the complaint goes further to mediation or investigation, or whether it should be rejected for a variety of reasons.
If you are dissatisfied or concerned with this delay, the best way is to contact your Member of the National Assembly (MNA, at www.assnat.qc.ca). Although the Commission is an independent public agency that reports to the National Assembly (it is not a ”government” agency per se), it still receives its budget from the government and is therefore publicly accountable. Note that the Commission is not subject to scrutiny by the Quebec Ombudsman, contrary to many other public agencies.
Your elected representative must be informed of the problem, since he or she must bring it directly to the attention of the National Assembly or the minister responsible for the Commission, in this case, the Minister of Justice, Stéphanie Vallée
2010 - REFERRAL OF CASES TO THE QUEBEC HUMAN RIGHS TRIBUNAL by the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission: Due to budgetary restraints and other reasons, the Commission has adopted a position that results in complainants having to bring their cases, at their own expenses, before the Tribunal even after the Commission has ruled in their favor. Using a set of criteria that include ”the public interest” as defined in s. 84 of the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, the Commission no longer automatically provides for free legal representation before the Tribunal to victims of discrimination even if their complaints are upheld. CRARR's lawyers are available to provide legal representation to this category of persons if they wish to bring their cases before the Tribunal. Plaintiffs must act rapidly due to the prescription deadline of 90 days to make an application to the Tribunal.