Since Quebec's electoral campaign started last month, candidates from all the major parties have deplored threats made against them, both in person and online.

According to the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), at least 20 people have been arrested so far for threats against politicians or damage to election-related property.

The force states it has become aware of a significant rise in threats against elected officials since the COVID-19 pandemic began two years ago.

Now, the Crown prosecutors office (DPCP) has taken to social media to remind Quebecers of the very real consequences they may face for uttering threats against a candidate.

"Since the beginning of the election campaign, there have been reports of unfortunate incidents involving election candidates, some of which have been investigated by the police or reported to the courts," the DPCP wrote on Twitter. "Threats, harassment or intimidation offences carry a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a criminal record."

The department, which reiterated it is "independent of political influence," gave a few examples of different crimes that could lead to varying negative outcomes for the perpetrators.

"On a Facebook post about a high-ranking civil servant, a man comments, 'it's over for you, you're dead, my [censured]. We've figured out the truth': Criminal record and six months of detention," the DPCP notes.

In another example: "A young woman with no criminal record writes on Facebook that she'll 'break the legs' of an elected official: Criminal record and 18 months probation with several conditions, including not mentioning the elected official on social media and not posting violent or hateful comments or videos online."