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News room/ Highlights

Highlights 2012-2013


Vice-Chairman

On February 4, 2013, the Cabinet appointed Me Céline Giroux Vice-Chairman of the Commission des services juridiques. She replaced Me Lucie Dufresne, whose term of office ended on July 3, 2012.


Key Decisions Made By the Commissioners

The Commission des services juridiques adopted a plan allowing it to borrow up to $11 million through short-term loans and lines of credit from financial institutions or from the Ministère des Finances et de l’Économie, in its capacity as the entity in charge of the financing fund, thereby providing an additional tool the Commission can use to more easily even out its cash assets and other resources during periods requiring a greater outflow of funds.

During the fiscal year, the Commissioners adopted the budget of the Commission des services juridiques in two separate steps. They adopted a complete budget covering the operations and expenditures for the Commission’s permanent employees and another budget covering expenditures for the first ten months of the fiscal year for lawyers in private practice. Using this approach, they were able to adopt a no-deficit budget and update it in January 2013 by taking into account additional credits granted to the Commission during the year by the Ministère de la Justice.

The Commissioners ratified the resolution adopted by the board of directors of the Laurentides-Lanaudière Community Legal Centre appointing Me Caroline Blache as Director General of the centre.


Legal Aid Celebrates Its 40th Anniversary

The Legal Aid Act was passed in 1972 and the legal aid network was established the following year. This past year, the Commission des services juridiques and the regional legal aid centres participated in a number of regional events during which they highlighted this major anniversary.


Increase of Eligibility Thresholds

On June 1, 2012, the legal aid eligibility thresholds were increased for the first of three years in accordance with the regulation which amended the Regulation respecting legal aid on May 2, 2012 (O.C. 438-2012, (2012) 144 G.O. II 1438). The thresholds were increased by 1.65% for the gratuitous scheme and by 10.5% for the contributory scheme. In addition, on January 1, 2013, the legal aid eligibility thresholds were indexed in accordance with the Regulation respecting legal aid..


Service administratif de rajustement des pensions alimentaires pour enfants (SARPA) [Child Support Recalculation Service]

The Act to promote access to justice in family matters was assented to on June 15, 2012. This statute creates two new services offered to everyone in Québec: the Homologation Assistance Service (HAS) and the Service administratif de rajustement des pensions alimentaires pour enfants (SARPA). These services deal with the review or recalculation of support payments initially established by a court.

The law incorporates the Homologation Assistance Service (HAS) into the basket of services offered under An Act respecting legal aid and the provision of certain other legal services and gives the Commission des services juridiques the mandate to manage the Service administratif de rajustement des pensions alimentaires pour enfants (SARPA).


New Private Practice Rates

On March 19, 2013, two agreements were entered into between the Minister of Justice and the Barreau du Québec regarding the tariff of fees and disbursements for lawyers under the legal aid system. These agreements, which came into effect on March 27, 2013, deal with the fee rates in civil matters and in criminal and penal matters and will be in effect until September 30, 2017.


Teleservices and Direct Deposit

Since March 31, 2013, the Commission des services juridiques has used direct deposits to pay the fees and disbursements of lawyers and notaries. Lawyers in private practice and notaries have cooperated with this initiative which fits within the Commission’s Sustainable Development Action Plan and the government’s sustainable development strategy.


Labour Relations

During fiscal 2012-2013, the Commission des services juridiques and the unions representing its employees and lawyers signed new collective agreements which will be in effect until March 31, 2015. The same is true of the regional centres comprising the legal aid network, except for the Saguenay–Lac St-Jean Community Legal Centre, which has not yet concluded negotiations with its employees.

These collective agreements provide the network’s employees with working conditions comparable to those of employees in the public sector and they provide the network’s lawyers with conditions identical to those of lawyers employed by the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions. They also allow employers in the legal aid network to compete within the job market.


Working Conditions for Legal Professionals Employed as Management Personnel

The Commissioners adopted the Règlement établissant les normes de rémunération des cadres juridiques à l’emploi du réseau de l’aide juridique [Regulation respecting remuneration standards for legal professionals employed as management personnel in the legal aid network] in order to grant these legal professionals pay parity with those employed as management personnel by the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions.


Settlement of the Dispute Between the Barreau du Québec and the Regional Legal Aid Centres

On May 6, 2010, the Barreau du Québec served all of the community legal centres with a motion for a declaratory judgment dealing primarily with the application to youth protection matters of sections 51 and 52 of An Act respecting legal aid and the provision of certain other legal services. After numerous discussions and meetings between the administration of the Barreau du Québec and the administration of the Commission des services juridiques, the Barreau withdrew its motion in March of 2013.


Robert-Sauvé Award

The Robert-Sauvé Award in the General Public category was conferred upon Mr. André Laurin for his efforts in promoting the rights of disadvantaged people through his initiative to establish, with the help of the Barreau du Saguenay, the first legal aid service in that region and through his contribution to the creation of organizations devoted to supporting economically, legally and socially vulnerable individuals.

The Robert-Sauvé Award in the Legal Aid Network category was conferred upon Mr. Justice Jules Barrière for his commitment to the neediest litigants and for his work leading to the drafting of the Legal Aid Act and the establishment of the Outaouais Community Legal Centre, of which he was the first Director General. 

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© Commission des services juridiques Création: Diane Laurin - 2017