Civil Code of Quebec


In Quebec, the Civil Code (CQLR, c. CCQ-1991, art. 1472) provides for the exoneration of liability to anyone who discloses a trade secret for “considerations of general interest” and, particularly, for “reasons of public health or safety.” This provision appears much broader than other provincial and federal statutes, especially as it does not restrict protected disclosure to those made to a public authority. It does not, however, apply to labour relations (Villa d’Argenteuil 1996 c. UEES 800, 2002 QC SAT G/01/242P).

What kind of disclosure is protected?

The Code protects any employee who, while acting in good faith and on the basis of reasonable belief, has disclosed information regarding a public secret in the public interest with the purpose of correcting an unjust situation, rather than out of harmful intentions s. 1472.

Who is eligible for protection?

The whistleblower protection granted under the Civil Code of Quebec is a defense which protects persons who have disclosed trade secrets from the liability that arises from such a disclosure. This defence can only be used if the purpose of the disclosure was to protect the public, in matters of public health and safety.