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Seniors experiencing a loss of autonomy

Legal proceedings and loss of autonomy: How to notify your documents

If you’re involved in legal proceedings regarding a person close to you who is experiencing a loss of autonomy, you may have to submit certain documents by “notification”. This formality lets the court make sure that the person receiving the documents is aware of the legal proceedings you’re undertaking and the supporting documents you want to use. The law provides for different ways of notifying your documents, depending on the situation.

You don’t know the location of the person you want to notify?

If you can’t find their contact information, there may be specific rules about notifying your legal proceedings. Consult a lawyer or visit a Community Justice Centre.

Notification by bailiff is mandatory in some cases

In a number of situations, documents must be handed directly to the recipient by a bailiff. This is called “service”.

For example, if you’re applying for the homologation of a protection mandate, the person concerned by the mandate must be “served” the application for homologation along with a document called the “Notice of Presentation”.

It’s also required if you’re applying for tutorship to a person of full age or for temporary representation of someone close to you.

The document calling a witness to testify at a hearing, also called a “subpoena,” must also be served by bailiff.

Did you know?

You’re free to use a bailiff to notify your documents, even if you’re not required by law to do so. However, this method of notification is more expensive.

If you’re not sure whether you need a bailiff in your situation, consult a lawyer or go to a Community Justice Centre.

Proof of service

Proof of service allows the court to verify that the recipient has received the documents.

Once the bailiff has given the documents to the person, they will give you a “certificate of service”. This details to whom the document was given, as well as the place, date, and time of service.

You must keep a copy of the certificate and file the original with the court. You may also agree with the bailiff that they will file it.

Where to find a bailiff

To find a bailiff in your area or in the area where the recipient lives, consult the Chambre des huissiers de justice du Québec’s directory of bailiffs (Website in French only).

Bailiff fees generally vary between $40 and $200, depending on the nature of the document, the distance to be covered, and the number of trips required.

Other means of notification provided for by law

In other situations, documents don’t need to be served by bailiff. For example, they can be sent by technological means, registered mail, or courier.

Examples of situations where this is the case include documents that have to be sent to the Public Curator or most applications made to the court after legal proceedings have begun.

Notification by technological means involves sending a copy of your document to the recipient by email or fax.

You must notify your documents to an email address or fax number that is actively used by the recipient at the time of notification.

Please note that if the person you have to notify is not represented by a lawyer, you must obtain permission from that person or from the court to send the documents by technological means.

Proof of notification

Proof of notification allows the court to be sure that the recipient has received the documents.

In the case of notification by technological means, you must prepare a “transmission slip” (i.e., a fax cover sheet) to prove that you sent the document. This transmission slip must be included in your email or attached to the fax.

Your transmission slip must contain the following information:

  • The nature of the document transmitted (e.g., name of the application, name of the form, etc.)
  • the court file number
  • your name and the name of the recipient
  • contact information for you and the recipient
  • the place, date, and time of transmission

The transmission slip must also contain information that will allow the recipient to verify that they have received all the documents you intended to send, such as:

  • the document format
  • the number of pages or size of the document

You must attach a copy of your transmission slip to the document you wish to submit to the court.

En apprendre plus Example of fax slip - in french only (Office québécois de la langue française)

You can also send a copy of your document by registered mail. In this case, the document will be given to the recipient with a signature required upon receipt.

En apprendre plusRegistered Mail (Canada Post)

Proof of notification

Proof of notification allows the court to be sure that the recipient has received the documents.

In the case of notification by registered mail, the post office will provide you with proof of delivery with signature. You can usually get this online or at a Canada Post office, using your tracking number.

You must attach your proof of delivery to the document you wish to submit to the court.

You can send a document by courier service. This service allows you to have your document delivered personally with a signature upon receipt.

Proof of notification

Proof of notification allows the court to be sure that the recipient has received the documents.

If notification is by courier, you’ll need to ask the courier to have the recipient sign for the delivery on the “receipt”.

You must attach a copy of the receipt to the document you wish to submit to the court.


The information presented on this page is not a legal opinion or legal advice. This page explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. To obtain a legal opinion or legal advice on your personal situation, consult a legal professional.