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Act respecting labour standards Chapter V - Recourses (Section 98 to 135)

Chapter V - Recourses (Section 98 to 135)

Division II - Recourse against psychological harassment (Section 123.6 to 123.16)

Section 123.8

Inquiry by the commission

On receipt of a complaint, the Commission shall make an inquiry with due dispatch.

Provisions applicable

Sections 103 to 110 and 123.3 shall apply to the inquiry, with the necessary modifications.

2002, c. 80, s. 68; 2018, c. 21, s. 43.


On receipt of the complaint, the Commission, within the context of the rules applicable to the inquiry stipulated in the Act, mandates an investigator who performs his role in accordance with the powers that he has under sections 108 to 110 ALS (see the interpretation presented in these sections).

Generally, the powers of inquiry are the same as those applied within the context of the civil recourse. The Commission or a person that it designates for the purposes of an inquiry is vested with the powers of immunity granted to commissioners appointed under the Act respecting public inquiry commissions (R.S.Q., c. C-37).

Moreover, a right to review is granted to the complainant in the case where the Commission refuses to pursue an inquiry on the ground that the complaint is unfounded or frivolous. Also see the interpretation presented in sections 106 to 107.1 ALS.

The investigator has the duty to check for the presence of a form of psychological harassment within the meaning of the Act. The inquiry will seek, in particular, to gather the factual elements making it possible to verify the validity of the complaint. In this sense, the inquiry will make it possible to show the existence or absence of a clear and patent desire on the part of the employer to ensure a work environment that is free from psychological harassment. Moreover, the inquiry will help determine if the employer has taken appropriate steps and adopted an appropriate policy to prevent psychological harassment in his undertaking.

It should be mentioned that the establishment of a policy cannot, in itself, be a measure that will enable the employer to exonerate himself. It may, however, be an important element in the set of protection measures taken to avoid cases of harassment at work. See the interpretation of section 81.19 ALS on this subject.

The Commission may appoint a person who shall endeavour to settle the complaint to the satisfaction of the parties (s. 123.3 ALS). Before appointing said person to act as a mediator, the Commission must obtain the agreement of the parties, as this is an essential condition under the Act. Any verbal or written information gathered by said person must remain confidential and may not be disclosed.