In Quebec, the Education Act (section 220.2) requires school service centres to have a Procedure for the Examination of Complaints from Students or their Parents, which stipulates that a student and/or his parents may make a complaint about the services offered by the School Service Centre or request a review of a decision.
PROCEDURE FOR FILING A COMPLAINT
Regional Student Ombudsman (RSO)
In accordance with the Act respecting the National Student Ombudsman, Mme Chloé Corneau has been acting as the Student Ombudsman since August 28, 2023. As part of his important mandate, Mme Corneau supports students and/or parents of students at the Centre de services scolaire du Littoral who are not satisfied with the examination or the result of a complaint submitted to the School Service Centre. The Student Ombudsman may only make recommendations to the Administrator of the Centre de services scolaire du Littoral, but cannot reverse or modify a decision.
As such, the Student Ombudsman receives complaints from students and/or parents of students at the School Service Centre only after steps 1, 2 and 3 have been completed. From then on, the Student Ombudsman conscientiously carries out the following steps:
- Analyzes and judges whether the complaint is admissible or not;
- Investigates and formulates a written notice to the Administrator of the Centre de services scolaire du Littoral;
- Makes recommendations as deemed appropriate.
Making a report
A report, which anyone can make, is possible only if it concerns sexual violence  against a student who attends an educational institution.
Such a report is made directly to the Regional Student Ombudsman, omitting the first two steps, by:
- a teacher
- a non-teaching professional staff member
- a member of the executive staff of an educational institution
- other students or one of their parents
The person who makes the report may choose the form of communication that best suits him or her among the following:
Reports are fast-tracked. The information that could serve to identify the person who makes the report is kept confidential, unless the person’s consent has been given. If required by law, the Regional Student Ombudsman discloses the person’s identity to the Director of Youth Protection.
Regional Student Ombudsmen may also, on their own initiative, process cases of sexual violence.
Protection against reprisal
The Act respecting the National Student Ombudsman protects against reprisal people who, in good faith, make a report or file a complaint, cooperate in the processing of a report or complaint or accompany a person who makes a report or files a complaint.
It is also prohibited to threaten to retaliate against a person to dissuade him or her from filing a complaint or making a report.
The following are presumed to be reprisal measures against students or their parents:
- Depriving them of rights
- Treating them differently
- Suspending or expelling the student
For the staff members of an educational institution who make a report or cooperate in the examination of a complaint or report, the following are presumed to be reprisal measures:
- Their demotion
- Their suspension
- Termination of their employment
- Their transfer
- Disciplinary sanctions or other measures that adversely affect their employment or working conditions.
Fines for a natural person who retaliates or threatens to retaliate range from $2,000 to $20,000. Fines can vary from $10,000 to $250,000 for legal persons.