Public services fail to fulfil their obligations towards citizens | Protecteur du Citoyen
September 26, 2019

Public services fail to fulfil their obligations towards citizens

Québec City, September 26, 2019 – In her 2018-2019 Annual Report released today, Ombudsperson Marie Rinfret pinpoints the main failings of the public services of the Government of Québec noted during investigations by her institution.

"This year, yet again, individuals and families saw respect for their rights compromised and experienced major distress as a result of failings by government departments and agencies," said the Ombudsperson.

Examples of failings by government departments and agencies

  • By interpreting the legal provisions concerning compensation for pregnant women on preventive withdrawal too narrowly, the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) issued these workers only a portion of the amounts they had the right to. 
  • The burden of proof that crime victims must assume, and on whom the Direction de l’indemnisation des victimes d’actes criminels (DIVAC) makes ever greater demands, is often too much for people already affected by the events to which they were subjected. 
  • Reassessment of incapacited persons’ protective supervision must be done within the legal deadlines. Currently the Curateur public is lagging far behind the guidelines established. 
  • Many students who want information about their loans and bursaries never manage to reach the Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur by phone.
  • Retraite Québec sometimes applies the family allowance and supplement for handicapped children programs rigidly. As a result, the agency deprives families in a precarious situation of the support they need. 

The percentage of substantiated complaints about government departments and agencies was 22.2%. The three main reasons for substantiated complaints were lengthy wait times (45.9%), failure to respect citizens’ rights (19.4%) and failings with a financial impact (17.9%). In 2018-2019, the Québec Ombudsman intervened regarding 53 of the 79 government departments and agencies within its jurisdiction.

See the highlights at

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