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Legal Information/ Legal Briefs

Legal Briefs

Until 2010, these legal briefs provide examples of judgments pertaining to everyday situations. Beginning in 2012, they deal with various topics of general interest, such as rental issues, family law, human rights, civil liability, insurance, dealings between spouses and social aid. They are intended to inform and to prevent undesirable situations.


Legal Briefs 2021

Legal brief
The age of consent for sexual activitiesThis hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
In Canada, the age of consent for sexual activities is 16. This means that, subject to certain exceptions, a person under the age of 16 cannot consent to sexual activities. It is important to know that the term “sexual activities” includes all activities of a sexual nature (kissing, touching a part more
Participating in an Offence: Encouraging and AidingThis hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
John, Felix and Annabelle are talking to each other as they leave school. Felix is thinking about stealing a bag of chips from the local convenience store.

John encourages him to do it and then leaves to go home.

Felix and Annabelle enter the convenience store. They agreed that Annabel
The Youth Protection Act and Its Placement PeriodsThis hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
One of the objectives of the Youth Protection Act is that a child be able to remain with his family or be able to return to his family as soon as possible, if it is in the child’s best interests. At what point does one determine that the objective of returning a child to his family is no long more
August - September
HAS or SARPA, which applies to me?This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
Homologation assistance service (HAS)

The Homologation Assistance Service is intented for parties residing in Quebec who wish, for whatever reason, to modify arrangements pertaining to child custody or access rights or support involving a child or spouse (or more
June - July
Nicole and Raymond own a family home and have money in their bank account. Are they financially eligible for legal aid?This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
Nicole and Raymond have been living together for over a year. Raymond works at the village hotel as a waiter. Nicole occasionally babysits. They have a combined annual gross income of $40,100. They have no children. They own a family home worth $110,000, which is fully paid off. They have $6,000 in more
Moving and the New Divorce ActThis hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
The new Divorce Act (hereinafter the “Act”), which came into force on March 1, 2021, governs moves by separated persons with parenting time or decision-making responsibilities in respect of a child of the marriage. There are two regimes that distinguish between a change in the place of residenc more
Buying a Vehicle and Third Chance Credit This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
You’ve been unlucky and you have bad credit. You’ve just declared bankruptcy and are unable to find financing. In these situations, it can be tempting to go to a car dealership offering a second or even third chance at credit, especially since their advertising indicates that no one is refused!

It sounds too good to be true... And in most cases, it is. This type of financing, which may seem attractive at first glance, is often catastrophic for low-income people who are already vulnerable. 

One of the first things to consider when signing a financing contract is the nature of the contract. Most car purchases are made through instalment sales contracts. This type of contract is governed by sections 132 to 149 of the Consumer Protection Act (hereinafter the “CPA”). You have possession of the vehicle, but the dealer retains ownership until you have paid the full purchase price. It can take back the vehicle if you fail to make a payment.

As for companies offering third chance credit, they propose instead a long-term lease with an option to purchase. This type of contract is governed by sections 150.1 to 150.17 of the CPA. Therefore, you do not own the vehicle until you exercise the purchase option at the end of the contract. 

These contracts often include a number of fees that are difficult to explain and that will be referred to as service fees, administrative fees, other products or even a tracking system. Most of the time, these fees will exceed $1,000 and will be funded over the life of your contract.

In addition, an extended warranty will often be added to this contract at an exorbitant rate. Dealers will not take the time to fully explain the contract and all the consequences that come with it. The mistake many people make is to simply look at the payments they will have to make each month. However, they will find that they are left with a total obligation equal to three times the value of the vehicle they originally intended to purchase. 

In addition, when shopping for car insurance, they will be unpleasantly surprised to find that most insurance companies refuse to insure vehicles financed by this type of contract, and those that do agree to do so, do it at a high price.

It is therefore strongly recommended that you do not sign the contract immediately and ask the dealer for a copy so that you can take the time to study it at home and fully understand it. It is also possible to request the removal of the unexplainable fees and the insurance or guarantees that have been added to the contract. If the dealer refuses, it’s better not to sign this type of contract, because the total obligation is much too high.

What should you do if you signed such a contract without realizing the extent of your obligation? Pursuant to section 8 of the CPA, if the disproportion between the respective obligations of the parties is so great as to amount to exploitation of the consumer or if the obligation of the consumer is excessive, harsh or unconscionable, the consumer can go to court to ask for the contract to be annulled or for the obligation to be reduced. 

There is a decision of the Court of Québec that annulled this type of contract under specific circumstances.1  Another decision reduced the obligation by declaring that the lessee had paid enough and named him the owner of the vehicle before the end of the contract.2

If you need advice regarding this type of contract, don’t hesitate to make an appointment at your nearest legal aid office.

1 Breton c. Intégrité Automobile inc. 2018 QCCQ 10182
2 Rondeau c. Laquerre Chrysler inc., 2016 QCCQ 4553

Don’t hesitate to have your eligibility for legal aid evaluated by making an appointment at a legal aid office near you.

To find the contact information for your legal aid office, please visit our website at www.csj.qc.ca.

Legal brief *
April  2021
Number  4
Text prepared by   Me François Lacoursière
* The information set out in this document is not a legal interpretation.
The masculine is used to designate persons solely in order to simplify the text.
How Can I Intervene in the Case of a Child Who is Dear to Me When a Hearing in the Youth Division is Scheduled? This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
First of all, you should know that a child’s file in the Court of Québec – Youth Division is highly confidential. You cannot consult it or obtain information unless you are a party to the case.

Only the child, the child’s father (legally recognized), the child’s mother and the repre
The Right to Remain SilentThis hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
The presumption of innocence: It’s a fundamental principle of the Canadian justice system pursuant to which an accused is presumed innocent until proven otherwise, that is, until the person themselves admits their guilt or, at trial, the prosecution shows their guilt beyond a reasonab more
How is Child or Spousal Support Paid?This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
Henriette and Léopaul have three children. After living together for 12 years, they split up. Following a few mediation sessions, both parents agree that Léopaul will have sole custody of the three children since Henriette has a job that requires her to travel out of town for varying periods of time more
© Commission des services juridiques Création: Diane Laurin - 2017