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News room/ De Facto union

Highlights 2011-2012


Key decisions made by the Commissioners

The Commissioners adopted the Commission des services juridiques’ fourth Action Plan With Respect to Persons with Disabilities. The action plan covers the 2012-2013 fiscal year. The Commission is working with the regional legal aid centres in order to improve access by disabled persons to legal aid services and thereby ensure they can fully exercise their rights. In March 2012, the Commissioners also adopted the Commission’s Emergency Plan which provides a general response framework in the event of exceptional circumstances. The plan allows for a structured response to emergency situations by the Commission’s administrators so as to reduce the impact of such situations. The Commissioners also adopted the second Annual Information Technology and Communications Francization Action Plan for fiscal 2012-2013. The Commission undertook to work towards ensuring that the entire legal aid network complies with the Government of Québec’s standards for information resources.

Online billing and teleservices

During the summer of 2011, the Commission stopped printing and mailing the nearly 84,000 payment notices intended for lawyers and notaries in private practice. These notices may now be consulted on the Commission’s intranet. This new method ensures better confidentiality and facilitates billing management.

In addition, the Commission asked lawyers and notaries in private practice to send all their bills electronically as of December 31, 2011.

Lawyers in private practice and notaries have cooperated with both of these initiatives which fit within the Commission’s Sustainable Development Action Plan and the government’s sustainable development strategy.

Appearance of the Commission des services juridiques before the National Assembly’s Committee on Institutions

Within the scope of its mandate to oversee public institutions, the National Assembly’s Committee on Institutions summoned the Commission’s officers to report on the management of the public funds entrusted to them under An Act respecting legal aid and the provision of certain other legal services.

The Commission’s Chairman, Vice-Chairman and officers appeared before the Committee on Institutions on February 15, 2012. The Commission’s Chairman described the objectives and results of the Commission’s operations during fiscal 2010-2011 and answered the Committee’s questions regarding the activities and management of the Commission.

The Commission had not been invited by the Committee on Institutions within the scope of this supervisory mandate since 1997. The Commission’s officers accepted the invitation extended by the Committee after the auditor general filed a report that included recommendations regarding the Commission.

The February 15th hearing provided an opportunity for the Commission to make itself better known to members of the National Assembly. The members of the Committee on Institutions who were present concluded that it would be important to once again review the Commission in the coming years.

Increase of eligibility thresholds

On November 23, 2011, the government published a notice providing for the adoption of a regulation which will gradually increase the eligibility thresholds for gratuitous and contributory legal aid over a period of three years. The draft regulation proposes that the increase, which will take place on June 1st of 2012, 2013 and 2014, will be in addition to the indexation of the thresholds on January 1st of each of those years.

Service administratif de révision des pensions alimentaires (SARPA) [child support recalculation service]

At a press conference held on November 29, 2011, the Minister of Justice, Me Jean-Marc Fournier, announced that he would be tabling a bill to create a child support recalculation service in cooperation with the Commission des services juridiques. This announcement was followed by the introduction in the National Assembly of Bill 64, entitled “An Act to promote access to justice in family matters”. The bill provides for the creation of an administrative service within the Commission des services juridiques entrusted with the mandate to recalculate child support and amends An Act respecting legal aid and the provision of certain other legal services in order to offer all citizens the professional services of a lawyer for the purpose of obtaining a judgment on an agreement, submitted in a joint application, which settles all child custody and child support matters.

Robert-Sauvé Award

The 2011 Robert-Sauvé Award, General Public category, was conferred posthumously upon Father Jean-Louis Morin for over 30 years of work providing a more compassionate living environment for homeless people suffering from mental health problems, alcoholism, drug addiction and chronic social disorganization. The winner in the Legal Aid Network category was Ms. Suzanne Pilon for her contribution to promoting the rights of the disadvantaged through her work in the Research Department of the Commission des services juridiques and through her involvement in community activities aimed at the social reintegration of adults with limited intellectual abilities. 

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© Commission des services juridiques Création: Diane Laurin - 2017