As for references, you have no legal obligation to give them. On the other hand, in some cases, particularly when concluding employment termination agreements, it is not uncommon for an employee to negotiate with his employer so that he can provide him with reference letters.
The Civil Code of Québec states that upon termination of the contract, the employer shall furnish to the employee, at his request, a certificate of employment stating only the nature and duration of the employment and indicating the identities of the parties. For its part, the Act respecting labor standards provides that at the expiry of the contract of employment, an employee may require his employer to issue to him a work certificate in which the following information, and only the following information, is set forth: the nature and the duration of his employment, the dates on which his employment began and terminated, and the name and address of the employer. The certificate shall not carry any mention of the quality of the work or the conduct of the employee.
So, in order to avoid problematic situations, it is not recommended to give references unless you have a good relationship with the former employee and unless you have the prior permission of the former employee. Once again, caution is required regarding what can be said or disclosed to the potential new employer (eg : respect privacy and avoid negative comments). On the other hand, we suggest you simply mention that your company policy is to never give references.