Are municipalities permitted to change the prescription period provided for in the Code of Penal Procedure so that it starts on the date the municipality finds out that the infraction was committed?

On July 3, 2019, the Court of Appeal made an important ruling on the question when it reversed the Superior Court decision on the case of Landry v. MRC d’Arthabaska.

The case hinged on a statement of offence for illegal tree cutting that was issued the year that the MRC found out about the violation of its bylaw. Superior Court had in 2017 upheld the validity of the MRC d’Arthabaska bylaw setting the starting point of the prescription period differently than what is specified in Article 14 of the Code of Civil Procedure (CCP).