Canadian Contract Law/Introduction

A contract is an agreement that legally binds the parties to the agreement to do (or not do) what the contract stipulates. The essential elements of a contract are the offer, acceptance, and consideration. An offer is the proposal to make a contract. The acceptance is the "meeting of minds", when the "offeree" agrees to be bound to the offer. Consideration is the substance of the agreement: each side must receive something, tangible or not, in order for a contract to be legally binding.

In Quebec civil law, a contract is conceived as one part of a broader legal category, the "obligation". One is obliged to honour a contract, just as one is obliged to behave according to the minimum standards of society in avoiding harm to others. This second concept is the equivalent of the common law concept of the "tort". In the common law system, for historical reasons, the rules of contract and the rules of tort evolved separately.