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Types of Contracts In Quebec (All You Need To Know)

What are the different Types of Contracts in Quebec?

How are contract classes defined in the Civil Code?

What should you know?

Keep reading as we have gathered exactly the information that you need!

Let’s dig into our contracting and contract laws in Quebec!

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What Are The Different Types of Contracts In Quebec

In Quebec, just like in many jurisdictions, contracts are legally categorized into different classes of contracts.

Before we look at the different categories or classes of contracts in Quebec, let’s first define what we mean by a contract. 

A contract, by definition, is an agreement between the contracting parties as to their mutual obligations vis-à-vis one another. 

For example, in a contract of sale, one party agrees to deliver a good or property in exchange for an agreed sum of money (one party delivers the goods the other party pays the money).

The Civil Code of Quebec divides contracts into different “classes” as follows:

  • Contract of adhesion 
  • Synallagmatic contracts (bilateral contract)
  • Unilateral contract 
  • Onerous contract
  • Gratuitous contract
  • Commutative contract
  • Aleatory contract
  • Contract of instantaneous performance 
  • Contract of successive performance 
  • Consumer contracts 

Let’s look at these in further detail.

Contract of adhesion 

A contract of adhesion is one where one contracting party imposes the essential terms and conditions on the other without giving that party an opportunity to negotiate the terms (Article 1379 Civil Code).

If a contract is not considered to be a contract of adhesion, then it will be considered a contract of mutual agreement.

Synallagmatic contracts (bilateral contract)

A synallagmatic contract is essentially a bilateral contract where the contracting parties obligate themselves to one another (Article 1380 Civil Code).

In a bilateral contract, each party is expected to perform certain obligations and in exchange receive (or be the beneficiary of) certain correlative obligations in return.

Unilateral contract 

A unilateral contract is a type of contract where one party obligates himself or herself in favour of another (Article 1380 Civil Code).

The reason why it is “unilateral” is because one party is expected to legally perform an obligation without a reciprocal and corresponding obligation expected by the beneficiary of the obligation.

Onerous contract

An onerous contract is a type of contract where the contracting parties receive a “benefit” or “advantage” in return for performing his or her obligations.

In common law jurisdictions, this is similar to the notion of “consideration”.

Gratuitous contract

A gratuitous contract is a type of contract where one party obligates itself to perform an obligation in favour of another without expecting a corresponding obligation in return.

In other words, the obligations are performed gratuitously.

In the Quebec Civil Code, it is said that the party who obligates itself does not receive “any advantage in return”.

Commutative contract

A commutative contract is a type of contract where the parties, upon entering into the contract, have clearly defined their obligations and the advantages that each party will derive.

In other words, the obligations and advantages of each of the parties are “certain” and “determinate”.

Aleatory contract

An aleatory contract is a type of contract where the parties, upon entering into the contract, do not have a clear and determinate obligation or advantage.

In other words, the obligations and advantages to the parties are uncertain.

Contract of instantaneous performance 

A contract of instantaneous performance is when the obligations and advantages of the parties are executed at “one single time”.

For example, a sale of goods is one of instantaneous performance as one party delivers a good or product and receives, instantaneously, the mutually agreed upon price.

Contract of successive performance 

A contract is considered to have “successive performance” when the obligations of the parties are performed at “several different times” or “on a continuing basis”.

For example, a lease agreement is a contract of successive performance as the landlord’s obligation to allow the tenant us a property is successive in time.

Consumer contracts 

A consumer contract is a contract that is entered into between a natural person (the consumer) and a person or business selling goods or services as part of an enterprise it carries.

The consumer may acquire goods, lease them, borrow something or obtain something in another manner.

What’s important is that the consumer is entering into the contract for personal, family, or domestic purposes.

On the other hand, the merchant selling to the consumer is providing the goods or services as part of a commercial enterprise.

Quebec Contract Classes Takeaways 

So, what are the different types of contract classes in Quebec?

If you need to better understand the nature and class of contract that you’ve entered into, it is recommended that you consult with a qualified attorney in contract law or business in Quebec.

This article is intended to provide you with general guidance with regards to how the Quebec laws classify different types of contracts.

Let’s look at a summary of our findings.

Classes of Contracts (Civil Code of Quebec)

  • A contract is a legally binding document between two or more parties obligating themselves towards one another in exchange for certain benefits
  • In Quebec, contracts are classified into ten classes such as bilateral contract, unilateral contract, onerous contract, gratuitous contract, and more
  • Each class of contract will have a unique legal characteristic as defined by the Civil Code of Quebec
Acquisition contract
Aleatory contract
Business contract
Commutative contract
Consumer contracts 
Contract of adhesion 
Contract of instantaneous performance 
Contract of successive performance 
Execution in kind 
Guarantee contract 
Gratuitous contract
Onerous contract
Preliminary contract 
Promise to purchase
Synallagmatic contracts (bilateral contract)
Unilateral contract
Breach of contract
Cause of contracts 
Civil lawsuit
Civil lawyer
Contract clauses 
Contract lawyer 
Exchange of consent 
Form of contracts 
Formation of contracts 
Legal capacity 
Nullity of contracts
Notarized agreement 
Object of contracts
Offer and acceptance 
Oral agreement


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