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Legal recourses

If you think you are experiencing harassment in your employment, know that several recourses exist depending on your situation.

Before contacting these authorities, do not hesitate to consult you harassment prevention and complaints handling policy to find out about the solutions offered by your workplace.

Here is an overview of the various available legal recourses:

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Recourses concerning harassment at work

The Commission canadienne des droits de la personne (CCDP) 

  • Complaints for discriminatory harassment (including sexual harassment)
  • Deadline for filing a complaint: 1 year after the last incident of harassment
  • Complaint against the employer and the presumed harasser


The Commission de la fonction publique (CFP) 

  • Complaints for psychological and/or discriminatory harassment (including sexual harassment)
  • Deadline for filing a complaint: 2 years after the last incident of harassment
  • For employees appointed under the Public Service Act, public servants, members and directors of agencies

For a worker who is covered by a collective agreement, you must refer to your union to defend your rights concerning sexual and/or psychological harassment work

The Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (CDPDJ)

  • Complaints for discriminatory harassment (including sexual harassment)
  • Deadline for filing a complaint: 2 years after the last incident of harassment
  • Complaint against the employer and the presumed harasser

If you are self-employed but you are governed by a collective agreement, you must refer to your union for the defence of your rights in terms of psychological and/or discriminatory harassment at work.

Income replacement in case of incapacity to work due to harassment

Health and safety division

  • When a person cannot work for medical reasons because of the harassment they have been subjected to at work
  • Income replacement indemnity for the period of incapacity to work
  • Deadline for filing a claim : 6 months after knowledge of the employment injury
  • Employment Insurance (EI) provides Sickness Benefits to individuals who are unable to work because of a medical condition
  • Deadline for filing a claim : as soon as possible once you’ve stopped working, even if your employer has not yet produced your record of employment. If you wait more than four weeks after your last work day to submit your benefit claim, you risk losing weeks of benefits
  • Many collective agreements or employment contracts contain information on disability benefits. Salary insurance may compensate an employee for the loss of employment income, when unavailable to work due to a disability, an illness or an accident
  • Check your insurance policy for more details

If you are a victim of criminal acts

It is possible, in some workplace harassment situations, to also find behaviours, gestures or words of a criminal nature, i.e. corresponding to the criteria for charges under the Canadian Criminal Code.

(section 264 C.cr)

Important! Not all forms of harassment are necessarily criminal. For example, if the harassment takes place at work or is done by a co-worker, it can be considered harassment without being considered a crime. Indeed, the criteria of the Act respecting labour standards regarding harassment at work are not the same as those of the Criminal Code regarding criminal harassment.   


Harassment is a crime when these elements are present: 

  1. The stalker does one of these things:
    repeatedly follows the victim or someone the victim
    > knows
     repeatedly contacts the victim or someone the victim knows
    watches the victim’s home, place of work, or anywhere else the victim or someone
    > known to the victim is, even if this only happens once
  • acts in a threatening way toward the victim or a member of the victim’s family, even if this only happens once 
  1. The victim feels harassed.

  2. The stalker knows that the victim feels harassed by the behaviour or ignores the fact that the victim might feel harassed.

  3. The victim fears for his safety or the safety of someone he knows.

  4. The victim’s fear is reasonable under the circumstances.


For more information: https://educaloi.qc.ca/capsules/le-harcelement-criminel/  

(section 264.1 C.cr)

Every one commits an offence who, in any manner, knowingly utters, conveys or causes any person to receive a threat 

a) to cause death or bodily harm to any person or

b) to burn, destroy or damage real or personal property.

(section 265 et 268 C.cr)

A person commits an assault when 

a) without the consent of another person, he applies force intentionally to that other person, directly or indirectly;

b) he attempts or threatens, by an act or a gesture, to apply force to another person, if he has, or causes that other person to believe on reasonable grounds that he has, present ability to effect his purpose; or

c) while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or an imitation thereof, he accosts or impedes another person or begs.

 Every one commits an aggravated assault who wounds, maims, disfigures or endangers the life of the complainant. 

Sexual assault is the use or threat of force against a person, in circumstances of a sexual nature, where consent has not been provided or where the complainant could not provide valid consent. 

For more information: https://www.inspq.qc.ca/en/sexual-assault/understanding/what-is-it  

Basic sexual assault (section 271 C.Cr)  a sexual assault that causes little or no physical injury to the victim. 

Sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm  (272 C. Cr)  every person commits an offence who, in committing a sexual assault, (a) carries, uses or threatens to use a weapon or an imitation of a weapon; (b) threatens to cause bodily harm to a person other than the complainant; (c) causes bodily harm to the complainant; or (d) is a party to the offence with any other person. 

Aggravated sexual assault  (273  C.Cr), every one commits an aggravated sexual assault who, in committing a sexual assault, wounds, maims, disfigures or endangers the life of the complainant.  

When the alleged offence is an indictable offence, there is no limitation period for its prosecution; it is said to be imprescriptible.   

However, for certain types of objectively less serious criminal conduct, i.e. summary conviction offences, the time limit for prosecuting the offender is generally 12 months from its occurrence.   

There are also hybrid offences which allow the prosecutor to decide whether to treat the offence as an indictable or a summary offence. The prosecutor exercises discretion as to the choice of prosecution method. Also, the limitation period in criminal matters is distinct from those that may apply in civil matters.  

For more information:  https://bloguedpcp.blogspot.com/2021/09/le-delai-de-prescription-est-il-trop.html   

When a victim or witness wants to report a crime, he or she should contact the police department in his or her area.  

The police are responsible for taking the victim’s complaint or witness statement. They then decide whether a police investigation should be held into the event or events that gave rise to the complaint. Once the investigation is complete and the witnesses have been interviewed, if necessary, the police services transmit the file containing all the evidence collected to a prosecutor from the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP). The police officer in charge of the file produces a request to institute proceedings, which must also be forwarded to the DPCP.  They may also decide not to forward a request for proceedings to the DPCP and close the file.     

The fact that the crime was committed several years ago should not prevent you from approaching the police authorities. The prosecutor will be able to determine whether a prosecution can be brought under the applicable legal framework.   

For more information: https://bloguedpcp.blogspot.com/2021/09/le-delai-de-prescription-est-il-trop.html   

Resources for victims of a criminal act:

Association québécoise Plaidoyer-Victimes (AQPV) www.aqpv.ca  

Montreal Crime Victims Assistance Centre (CAVAC) www.cavac.qc.caa   

Montreal Assault Prevention Centre (CPAM) www.cpamapc.org   

Indemnisation des victimes d’actes criminels (IVAC) www.ivac.qc.ca   

Legal clinic for victims of crime (CJVAC) www.cjvac.ca  


Resources for victims of sexual assault: 

Project Rebuild – Rebuild   www.rebatir.ca   

Centres d’aide et de lutte contre les agressions à caractère sexuel (CALACS) www.rqcalacs.qc.ca  

Montreal Sexual Assault Crisis Centre (MSCAC) www.cvasm.org   

Mouvement contre le viol et l’inceste (MCVI) www.mcvicontreleviol.org    

Trêve pour Elles www.trevepourelles.org  



Notice: This page is only informational; its content should not in any way be interpreted or considered as a full analysis of the law nor an opinion or a legal opinion of the author towards any specific case, or of one or several points of law mentioned above. Contact the appropriate authorities to get more information and to inquire about your eligibility and conditions that may apply.