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Other mechanisms for ensuring the protection of the public

All of Québec’s 46 professional orders, have instituted additional mechanisms and measures to protect the public against possible misconduct or fraud on the part of professionals. They also apply to individuals who practise a profession without sufficient or recognized qualifications.

Conciliation and arbitration of accounts

A client who disagrees with a professional’s fee may request a dispute conciliation proceeding with the professional. The conciliation proceeding is normally conducted by the syndic, within a prescribed time period.

A client who disagrees with the dispute conciliation report may make a request for arbitration. An arbitration council whose members are appointed by the board of directors hears the request.

The arbitration council must render a decision within a prescribed time limit. It may maintain or reduce the disputed account, determine the amount of the refund or payment to which a party is entitled, or pronounce on the amount the client acknowledges owing.

Sums of money held by a professional and indemnification

Professional orders whose members hold sums of money for their clients’ account (chartered administrators, lawyers, certified general accountants, bailiffs and notaries) determine by regulation the terms of receipt, custody and disposition of these sums of money.

Such professional orders also establish a fund to be used to repay clients, under certain conditions, for the sums of money or other securities misappropriated by a professional.

Professional liability insurance

Professionals are obliged to furnish a security for their liability in case of errors or omissions committed in the practice of their profession.

To this end, a regulation of the board of directors provides the terms and levels of coverage for professional liability insurance.

The obligation to provide a security, for which the order may determine exemptions, is designed to ensure the appropriateness of clients’ recourse to civil courts to obtain compensation for damages resulting from the fault of a professional.

Misappropriation of title and illegal practice of a profession

A professional order may launch criminal proceedings in the Court of Québec against a person who is not a member of a professional order, but appropriates the title controlled by that order or performs an act that only members of that order are authorized to perform. If the person is found to have violated the provisions of the Professional Code and professional regulations, he or she will be fined.