The Québec ombudsman's powers | Protecteur du Citoyen

The Québec ombudsman's powers

Can the Québec Ombudsman intervene to have the Premier of Québec modify decisions?

No. The Québec Ombudsman is not empowered to contest decisions by the Premier, ministers or any other elected officials. What’s more, it cannot comment on government appointments, announcement of public subsidies or the outcome of negotiations.

As an impartial and independent ombudsman, it acts regarding the services provided by government departments and agencies or health and social services institutions. When necessary, it makes recommendations aimed at rectifying any abuse, mistake or failing. Examples? Long wait times, misinformation or unwarranted administrative decisions.

However, the Québec Ombudsman can also act upstream by commenting on bills introduced in the National Assembly or government draft regulations.

Can the Québec Ombudsman have a decision by the Directeur de la protection de la jeunesse (DPJ) overturned?

The first thing to remember is that, generally speaking, the Québec Ombudsman handles complaints concerning the Directeur de la protection de la jeunesse (DPJ) as a second instance. In other words, you have to take your complaint to the service quality and complaints commissioner first. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome (commissioner’s decision, grounds, attitude, processing time), then you can turn to the Québec Ombudsman.

However, the Québec Ombudsman cannot challenge a DPJ decision regarding, for example, the assessment of a report or any measure to help a young person and his or her family. 

However, it can look into whether the administrative rules specific to DPJ operations were applied correctly for the case submitted to it. For example, did the caseworker check the facts thoroughly and gather all the information on the child’s situation? There is a procedure for this. Was it followed? 

If necessary, the Québec Ombudsman recommends that the DPJ make the required changes. 

If the DPJ and the parents of a child disagree about the child being removed from the family environment, for example, the Chambre de la jeunesse can hear the case and its decision is then applied by the DPJ. Here again, the Québec Ombudsman cannot act to have the decision overturned, but it can act concerning the DPJ’s compliance with rules and practices.

Can the Québec Ombudsman have a tribunal decision overturned?

No. The Québec Ombudsman cannot act to have a decision by a tribunal amended or overturned. That is why it is very important for you refer to the Québec Ombudsman BEFORE deciding to take legal action, especially regarding the administrative tribunals and agencies listed below:

  • Commission d’accès à l’information;

  • Conseil de la justice administrative; 

  • Conseil de la magistrature;

  • Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales;

  • Régie du logement;

  • Tribunal administratif du Québec;

  • Tribunal administratif du travail.

However, we have the authority to handle a complaint regarding the administrative functions (service quality, wait times, etc.) of these tribunals. For any questions on this subject, feel free to call one of our offices.

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