Some government departments and agencies violate the Act respecting administrative justice | Protecteur du Citoyen
November 29, 2018

Some government departments and agencies violate the Act respecting administrative justice

Québec City, November 29, 2018 – In her 2017-2018 Annual Report released today, Ombudsperson Marie Rinfret pinpointed several failings regarding the Act respecting administrative justice. The Act provides in particular that government departments and agencies must: 

  1. offer citizens the services they are entitled to within a reasonable time frame; 
  2. provide complete information that is easy to understand; 
  3. act with respect and prudence, according to ethical standards and in good faith; 
  4. establish simple and flexible rules;
  5. enable citizens to provide information that is useful for decision-making.

A few examples of failings:

  • Long wait times at certain administrative tribunals, including the social affairs section of the Tribunal administratif du Québec, jeopardized accessibility to these legal avenues; 
  • Because at times its reading of the Act was too rigid, the Direction de l’indemnisation des victimes d’actes criminels denied compensation to people who qualified for it; 
  • In August 2017, the Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur’s student financial assistance section only answered 22,704 of the 188,969 calls it received, that is, 12%.
  • 45,000 last resort financial assistance recipients did not get the solidarity tax credit because they had not filed a tax return or enclosed the schedule for that purpose. The Québec Ombudsman suggests that these people be automatically issued the tax credit refund for which they are eligible. This process would be better adapted to the realities of these vulnerable people.
  • Immigration candidates waited years for an interview with the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion to assess their language skills. They could have taken standardized tests, which would have speeded up processing of their application, but the Department failed to inform them about this possibility. 

The three main grounds for substantiated public service complaints were wait times, failings that have a financial impact and failure to respect citizens’ rights. The Québec Ombudsman intervened regarding 55 of the 79 government departments and agencies within its purview. Because of the Québec Ombudsman’s recommendations, problems of complainants’ and of many other people in similar situations were solved. 

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