All notaries and ex-notaries in Québec are insured under the Professional Liability Insurance Fund of the Chambre des notaires du Québec. Clients are thus assured that their notary is able to face the financial consequences that could result from professional misconduct, subject to applicable policy terms.

Professional misconduct
Professional misconduct often takes the form of an error, an oversight or negligence on the part of the notary in the performance of their duties

To determine compensable notary liability, a situation must include:

  1. Involuntary misconduct
  2. Damage
  3. A causal connection: the damage must be the direct result of the notary’s misconduct

There is a clear distinction between professional liability and ethics. Claims concerning ethics must be submitted to the Investigations and Litigation Department, while claims based on professional misconduct must be submitted to the Professional Liability Insurance Fund of the Chambre des notaires du Québec.
A breach of the Chambre des notaires’s ethics does not necessarily give rise to financial compensation from the Insurance Fund.

Examples of professional misconductExamples of ethical breaches
The notary did not explain the consequences of my signing a renunciation of a succession.

The notary failed to note outstanding municipal or school taxes that had not been paid by the seller.
The notary failed to respect their obligation to maintain professional secrecy and has sent confidential information to a third party without my consent.

The notary informed me that they have expertise in succession settlement even though this was not the case.

Has my notary really committed a breach?
In order to claim damages, a breach must have been committed by the notary. The best way to find out whether your notary has committed a breach of mandate is to consult a legal professional. The Professional Liability Insurance Fund of the Chambre des notaires du Québec does not provide legal advice.

Process to obtain compensation

1. Speak to the notary in default

First of all, if the notary is still practicing or has ceased practicing but can be reached, contact them to discuss the situation, to get an explanation, and if possible, consider potential solutions. If you are still not satisfied, you can move to the next step..

2. Formal notice

You should then serve a formal notice to the notary to correct the situation and get a refund, where applicable, for damages that were the direct result of their professional misconduct. You can prepare the formal notice yourself or consult a legal professional for advice. This notice may also be cc’d to the Professional Liability Insurance Fund at the following address: [email protected].
Your formal notice must contain the following information:

  • complete contact information (name, address, phone…)
  • identity of the notary referred to in the claim
  • description of the alleged breach
  • description of damaged sustained
  • details of amounts claimed
  • any other document deemed relevant (e.g., offer to purchase, deed of sale, will, etc.)

3. The Insurance Fund investigates

Upon receipt of your written notice and related documents, the Insurance Fund will conduct an investigation and will analyze your claim.

4. The Insurance Fund makes a determination

After completing the analysis, the Professional Liability Insurance Fund of the Chambre des notaires du Québec will inform you of its position. If the insured is found to be liable, the Insurance Fund may offer you a compensation amount, subject to applicable policy terms. If you are not satisfied with the Insurance Fund’s decision, you may take legal action.

For more information

Chambre des notaires du Québec
Professional Liability Insurance Fund
101-2045 Stanley St.
Montréal QC  H3A 2V4
Phone: 514-871-4999 or toll free 1-800-465-6534, extension *4101
Fax: 514-879-1781
[email protected]