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Legal framework

In Québec, acts of bullying are legally governed, in particular, by the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms (sections 1, 4 and 10), the Education Act (section 13, subsections 1.1, 75.1, 75.2, 75.3 and 76) and the Criminal Code (section 83).

The fight against bullying in all environments is particularly based on compliance with the rules and living codes that a society adopts for "living together". This notion is based on democratic values that are also rights protected by the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, which provides that:

  • Every human being has a right to life, and to personal security, inviolability and freedom (section 1);
  • Every person has a right to the safeguard of his dignity, honour and reputation. (section 4);
  • Every person has a right to full and equal recognition and exercise of his human rights and freedoms, without distinction, exclusion or preference based on race, colour, sex, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, sexual orientation, civil status, age except as provided by law, religion, political convictions, language, ethnic or national origin, social condition, a handicap or the use of any means to palliate a handicap (section 10).

Other laws, in their field of application govern various behaviours that can constitute bullying, recognize the rights of individuals to dignity and integrity, and offer the possibility of penalizing those who impair these rights.

  • Civil Code
    • The Civil Code presents provisions that may apply to bullying or cyberbullying.
  • Criminal Code of Canada
    • The Criminal Code a series of behaviours of a criminal nature and stipulates their sanctions. Some forms of bullying may be expressed by various behaviours, like hitting or pushing someone, spitting on someone, or threatening to cause death or serious bodily harm to any person. Under sections 264.1 and 265, these behaviours are all considered crimes. In the case of repetitive threats, this may be considered as criminal harassment under section 264.
  • Youth Criminal Justice Act
    • One of the main objectives of the Youth Criminal Justice Act is to protect the public. However, the youth criminal justice system is different from the one that applies to adults in many areas. The youth system gives adolescents a just and proportionate responsibility that is compatible with their level of maturity. It helps rehabilitate and reintegrate youth back into the community and insists on the importance of intervening quickly.
  • Youth Protection Act
    • The Youth Protection Act applies to children who are living situations that compromise or may compromise their security or development and where the parents fail to correct the situation. It applies to children deemed to be in great difficulty and in need of protection.
  • Act Respecting Assistance for Victims of Crime
  • Crime Victims Compensation Act
    • The Crime Victims Compensation Act enables victims of a criminal offence to receive financial compensation in the event of psychological or physical harm, and for medical and paramedical expenses spent on their rehabilitation.
  • Education Act
    • The Education Act regulates the duties and obligations of public educational institutions, in particular the obligation of adopting and implementing an action plan against bullying and violence.
  • The Act Respecting Private Education
    • The The Act Respecting Private Education regulates the duties and obligations of private educational institutions, in particular the obligation of adopting and implementing an action plan against bullying and violence.
  • Act Respecting Labour Standards
    • The Act Respecting Labour Standards states the right of any employee to work in an environment free from psychological harassment and the duty of the employer to take all reasonable means to avoid psychological harm and, when such conduct is brought to the employer’s attention, to make it stop.
  • Act to Modify the Organization and Governance of the Health and Social Services System by Abolishing the Regional Agencies and Act Respecting Health Service and Social Services
  • Act Respecting the Ministère de la Sécurité publique (MSP)
    • Under the Act Respecting the Ministère de la Sécurité publique, the MSP must prevent crime and safeguard the public’s security and protection. Thus, it is in charge of maintaining public security and preventing crime. It must also oversee the social rehabilitation of inmates.
  • Act to Secure Handicapped People in the Exercise of their Rights with a View to Achieving Social, School and Workplace Integration
    • The Act to Secure Handicapped persons in the Exercise of their Rights with a View to Achieving Social, School and Workplace Integration is designed to ensure the rights of handicapped persons and, by a commitment from the departments and their networks, municipal administrations, and public and private organizations, to encourage their integration into society on an equal basis with other citizens. To achieve this, the Act provides various measures for handicapped persons and their families, their living environments, and the development of resource and service organizations. The Act provides for the Office des personnes handicapées du Québec to play efficiently its role in assessing the integration of handicapped persons, ensuring the respect of principles and rules described in the Act, and to play a significant role as an advisor, coordinator, and collaborator to improve opportunities for handicapped people.

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Last modified date :
April 19, 2017