Access to legal advice

What is it?

It is financial assistance allocated by the Québec Ombudsman to pay for legal adviser of your choice.

Who qualifies for it?

According to the Act to facilitate the disclosure of wrongdoings relating to public bodies, the service is for anyone who:

  • discloses a wrongdoing or wants to do so;
  • cooperates in an audit or investigation stemming from a disclosure;
  • believes he or she has suffered reprisal stemming from a disclosure, audit or investigation.
    • Exclusion: Reprisal may constitute a prohibited practice within the meaning of the Act respecting labour standards, in particular, regarding employment and work conditions. In such cases, you are not eligible for access to legal advice managed by the Québec Ombudsman. Instead, contact the CNESST. You may be represented by a CNESST attorney, or by your union, depending on your situation.
  • conveys information to the Autorité des marchés publics or the Commission municipale du Québec;
  • makes a disclosure to the Commissioner for municipal integrity and investigations (CIME) within the Ministère des Affaires municipales du Québec (MAMH).

What you need to know

Financial assistance is granted if your specific situation warrants legal assistance. The Québec Ombudsman determines the terms for granting access to the service, especially the number of hours of legal counsel, on a case-by-case basis.

You must make a request for financial assistance to the Québec Ombudsman before retaining legal counsel.

For more information about the financial assistance granted by the Québec Ombudsman, see the Terms and conditions for access to legal advice (PDF, 318 KiB).

Financial assistance 

Generally, the Quebec Ombudsman authorizes financial assistance for a total of three hours of legal counsel. The financial assistance must be used within six months. However, the Québec Ombudsman may increase the length of assistance or the authorized amounts if it considers that the file is special or complex. Note that the assistance cannot be used for you to be represented by an attorney.  

Processing of requests

After receiving a request for access to legal advice, we:

  • contact you within two business days;
  • examine the request’s admissibility;
  • contact you again as needed to complete your file or obtain any documents of use; 
  • do all we can to finish analyzing your request and deliver our decision within 30 days of receiving it.

Not sure whether you qualify for access to legal advice through the Québec Ombudsman? Don’t know whether you should contact the Québec Ombudsman or the CNESST instead? Feel free to contact us.  

To apply

By phone
At toll-free 1-800-463-5070 or in the Québec City region, at (418) 643-2688.
By email
By mail 
Direction des enquêtes sur les divulgations en matière d’intégrité publique
Protecteur du citoyen
800, place D’Youville
18e étage
Québec (Québec)  G1R 3P4
By fax
At 1-844-375-5758