Gouvernement du Québec - Justice


A Short History of the Civil Code Reform

In 1955, the Government of Québec embarked on a reform of the Civil Code with the passage of the Act respecting the revision of the Civil Code. The Civil Code Revision Office was established to direct the project and it created a number of committees to make recommendations on the reform of various areas of the civil law. Consultations were held on the reports produced by the Office and the committees which were subsequently incorporated into a final report tabled in the Québec National Assembly in 1978 in the form of a Draft Civil Code with commentaries.

After receiving the report, the government held public consultations on family law, which it considered a priority. The reforms proposed in this field were passed into law in December 1980. Bills to reform the law of persons, successions and property were later introduced in the National Assembly in 1982 and 1983 before ultimately being consolidated into a single bill which was enacted in April 1987.

Between December 1986 and June 1988, broad consultations were held on three draft bills: one dealt with real security and publication of rights, a second draft bill dealt with obligations and a third dealt with evidence, prescription and international private law.

During this period, a number of amendments were made to the family law provisions of the Civil Code of Lower Canada and the Civil Code of Québec to address the pressing needs of the day. The new provisions dealt with arbitration law reform, co-ownership and emphyteusis, the establishment of family patrimony and reform of public curatorship and the protective supervision of persons of full age. The articles governing international adoption, which had been substantially amended in 1983 and 1987, were again revised in 1990.

The new draft Civil Code of Québec was tabled in the National Assembly on December 18, 1990. It was passed on December 8, 1991, and came into force in 1994.

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Civil Code of Québec


McGill Faculty of Law
Québec Civil Code Revision Office Archives

L’Encyclopédie de l’Agora
Philosopher Jacques Dufresne discusses the new Civil Code with Justice Minister Gil Rémillard (In French)

Journal du Barreau
Summary of the symposium on the Civil Code of Québec ten years after its enactment, held by the Québec Society of Comparative Law in 2002 (In French)

Université Laval
General background material on the new Civil Code (In French)

Latest update: January 9, 2014

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