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News room/ 2022-2023

Highlights 2021-2022


Following the recommendations in the “Plan d’action spécifique pour prévenir les situations de violence conjugale à haut risque de dangerosité et accroître la sécurité des victimes 2020-2025”, specific action plan to prevent situations of domestic violence with a high risk of danger and increase the safety of victims] and the recommendations of the Comité d’experts sur l’accompagnement des victimes d’agressions sexuelles et de violence conjugale set out in its report entitled “Rebâtir la confiance” [rebuilding trust], on October 1, 2021, the Commission set up a free telephone and virtual legal consultation service for victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence, regardless of their income. They receive four hours of legal consultation in all areas of law related to this violence.

This new service, called “Rebâtir“, is composed of a team of 14 people, including 12 specialized lawyers located in various regions of Québec.

It should be noted that beyond the four hours of consultation, the Commission des services juridiques may, when circumstances warrant, grant a victim additional hours.

This legal consultation service was made permanent by an amendment to the Act respecting legal aid and the provision of certain other legal services through the coming into force of Bill 92.

Management of the service has been entrusted to the Community Legal Centre of the South Shore region.


On May 31, 2021, the eligibility thresholds for free legal aid were increased by 3.1%. This percentage is equal to the increase in the minimum wage on May 1, 2021. On January 1, 2016, the legal aid eligibility thresholds had been increased, with the minimum wage as a reference point.

Thus, a person who is single and works a 35-hour week at minimum wage, namely $24,570 per year, is eligible for legal aid at no cost. Moreover, legal aid services are free to a family of two adults and two children whose income is less than $40,292.

The Québec legal aid plan also includes a component for individuals whose income falls between the eligibility thresholds for free legal aid and the maximum thresholds requiring a contribution (contributory legal aid). The contributory scheme offers a unique formula that allows individuals to be represented in court by a lawyer while knowing, in advance, the maximum amount of their legal fees and the costs that may be claimed from them. The contributory scheme allows an individual to receive legal services if their income, assets and liquidities match the eligibility scale in effect and if the individual pays a contribution ranging from $100 to $800, depending on the composition of the individual’s family and the individual’s financial situation. The eligibility scale for legal aid under the contributory scheme was also increased by 3.1%.

In summary, the enhanced financial eligibility criteria for legal aid benefit working people with modest incomes as well as seniors whose principal source of income is their Old Age Security benefits and the Guaranteed Income Supplement.

In 16 years, for a person who is single, the scale changed from $8,870 to $24,570, an increase of 177%.
In 16 years, for a person who is single, the maximum scale changed from $12,640 to $34,321, an increase of 171.5 %.

The Commission des services juridiques developed tools to evaluate the number of cases which, were it not for the increase in the financial eligibility thresholds for legal aid since January 1, 2014, would not have qualified for legal aid. For the 2021-2022 year, this number amounted to 23,429.


Over the course of the most recently completed fiscal year, the Commission des services juridiques continued the modernization of its practices and the implementation of projects and initiatives under the eMAJ Program, which will run from 2021 to 2024.

The opportunity statement entitled “Gestion du cycle de vie du dossier judiciaire de l’aide juridique” [legal aid court file lifecycle management] was filed in anticipation of obtaining approval from the Ministère de la Cybersécurité et du Numérique.

The vision for modernizing the legal aid network is to provide citizens with quality, accessible and simplified services, supported by state-of-the-art digital solutions, innovative ways of doing things, employee engagement and the strength of the legal aid network.


As with the 2020-2021 year, the most recently completed fiscal year was marked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Commission des services juridiques took appropriate measures to protect the health and safety of its staff. It focused on teleworking as the optimal form of work organization to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, while allowing professional activities to continue. It ensured that the necessary security measures to protect its data were built into its computer systems.

The Commission continually updated its procedures to comply with the directives of the public health authorities, the CNESST and other government authorities. The gradual return to work, in hybrid mode, began on February 28, 2022.

During this period, the Commission des services juridiques continued the temporary flexibility measures implemented in 2020-2021 for the processing of legal aid applications and the payment of invoices for legal aid mandates accepted by lawyers in private practice; these measures should continue until the adoption and coming into force of the Act to terminate the public health emergency while maintaining transitional measures necessary to protect the health of the population.


During fiscal 2021-2022, the Commission des services juridiques and the union representing its employees signed a new collective agreement which will be in effect until March 31, 2023. The same is true for seven of the eleven regional centres comprising the legal aid network. These collective agreements provide the network’s employees with working conditions comparable to those of employees in the public sector. In addition, an agreement in principle was reached with the union representing support staff in Saguenay-Lac Saint-Jean.

Negotiations are continuing for the regional centres in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Montreal and Laurentides-Lanaudière.

Given that the collective agreements for lawyers expired on December 31, 2019, negotiations between the single management negotiating committee for all of the negotiating tables and the union parties continued.

Negotiations began on March 12, 2020, and, as of March 31, 2022, no less than 81 meetings had been held at the seven separate negotiating tables (employees and lawyers).

Work on maintaining pay equity began during the past year, for the purpose of ensuring internal equity between the various employment classes for all of the network’s employees.


After three years of negotiations between the Ministère de la Justice and the Barreau du Québec, two new agreements on the tariffs of fees of lawyers in private practice were entered into at the end of 2020.

The new tariffs came into effect on December 9, 2020.

The Commission des services juridiques acted as an advisor to the negotiator for the Ministère de la Justice du Québec.

The fee for lawyers in private practice in all areas of the law was increased by 14.7%, for an estimated total of nearly $35 million over five years.

The agreements also provide for the establishment of an Independent Working Group (IWG) charged with making recommendations on the reform of the legal aid tariff structure. The group is chaired by Élizabeth Corte, former Chief Judge of the Court of Québec.

Since its inception in December 2020, the IWG filed a progress report on July 9, 2021, on two topics identified as priorities: identifying solutions to the sources of irritation in the issuance of legal aid mandates, and the payment of special considerations.

The report contains 43 recommendations, some of which affect the legal aid network’s digital transformation program (eMAJ), others which are administrative in nature because they concern the Commission and the regional centres, and yet others that will require regulatory amendments. Discussions to that effect are currently underway between the Commission des services juridiques and the Ministère de la Justice.

The following is the progress of the recommendations as at March 31, 2022:

For the 18 recommendations related to eMAJ:

  • 2 recommendations were implemented (11%)
  • 9 recommendations were partially implemented (50%)
  • 7 recommendations were not implemented (39%)

For the 13 recommendations related to administrative processes:
  • 13 recommendations were implemented (100%)

For the 12 regulatory recommendations:
  • 12 recommendations were partially implemented (100 %).

It should be noted that, in order to address some of these recommendations, the Comité sur la cohérence (consistency committee) created by the Table des directeurs généraux (roundtable of directors general) gathered to review the Commission’s documentation policy and legal aid application processing policy as well as the Declaration of Services to the Public.


During the 2021-2022 fiscal year, Me Yvan Niquette, who had been Chairman of the Commission des services juridiques, retired. The Vice-Chairman, Me Daniel LaFrance, was appointed Chairman, and Me Nadine Koussa was appointed Vice-Chair.

Claudie Côté became Treasurer following the retirement of Joanne Herron.

After more than 34 years at the Commission, Me Odette Legendre, Assistant Senior Director of Administration, retired and her position was filed by Me Marie-Claude Marcil, who previously held the position of Director Delegated to the Review Committee. Me Walid Hijazi became the Director Delegated to the Review Committee.

Somana Pong, Director of Information Technology, also retired and Carl Pineault took over her position.

The Commission des services juridiques decided to re-establish the position of Director of the Department for the Approval of Private Practice Fees, but under a new name, that of Director of the Department for the Review and Validation of Private Practice Invoices, a position held on an interim basis by Me Marcel Laplante.

In addition, the Cabinet appointed three new Commissioners, namely Me Amélie Charlebois, Me Joanie Lalonde-Piecharski and Me Sophie Noël.


On March 24, 2022, the Commission des services juridiques signed a partnership agreement with the Young Bar of Montreal for the purpose of updating the “Guide d’organisation du travail et de facturation pour les avocates et avocats de pratique privée acceptant les mandats d’aide juridique” [work organization and billing guide for lawyers in private practice who accept legal aid mandates].

The Commission des services juridiques actively participated with partners in the following committees:

  • Association of Legal Aid Plans of Canada;
  • Comité consultatif sur la violence conjugale et de la pratique judiciaire [advisory committee on domestic violence and judicial practice];
  • Comité de parties prenantes du Bureau de la transformation organisationnelle (programme Lexius) [stakeholders’ committee of the organizational transformation office (Lexius project)], including the Comité d’arrimage tactique et opérationnel [tactical and operational alignment committee] and a sub-committee; 
  • Comité élargi des visiocomparutions les fins de semaine [expanded committee for weekend appearances by videoconference];
  • Comité Justice dans le Nord [Northern justice committee];
  • Strategic committee and coordinating committee of the Programme d’accompagnement Justice et Santé mentale (PAJ-SM) [justice and mental health support program];
  • Forum québécois sur l’accès à la justice civile et familiale [Québec forum on access to justice in civil and family law];
  • Forum sociojudiciaire autochtone [Aboriginal socio-judicial forum];
  • Forum des communicateurs gouvernementaux [government communicators forum];
  • Federal-Provincial-Territorial Permanent Working Group on Legal Aid (PWG);
  • Independent working group on legal aid tariffs (observer);
  • Groupe de travail sur la mise en place d’un tribunal spécialisé en matière de violences sexuelles et de violence conjugale [working group for the establishment of a specialized sexual abuse and domestic violence tribunal];
  • Table Justice-Québec and sub-committees.

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© Commission des services juridiques Création: Diane Laurin - 2017