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Earning a Living in Construction

Harmonious labour relations, good accessibility for new workers, and a modern vocational training system make construction one of the most dynamic industries. For young people seeking work, joining the construction industry offers undeniable advantages. Here are some of them.

Interesting wages: up to $42 per hour for a journeyman

You can earn a good living construction! The hourly wage reaches $17,11 for apprentices and climbs as high as $42,21 for journeymen.

The volume of work varies by season, but in every trade there are employees who work all year long. When they enter the industry, graduates are able to earn a good annual income. For example, a graduate cement finisher will work an average of 840 hours the first year and earn $24,000, as well as having access to a range of social benefits. In 2015, the average salary of a journeyman carpenter-joiner who worked regularly on construction sites was about $53,300. This amount does not take account of work that may be done in sectors not covered by the collective agreements (residential renovation, for example).

Extended insurance coverage

For each hour that an employee works in the construction industry, his or her employer contributes to the insurance plans administered by the Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ). There are several levels of coverage, established according to the number of hours worked by the employee. Employees must accumulate a minimum of 300 hours of work during specific periods to obtain an insurance plan. The more hours they accumulate in their file, the better is their insurance coverage.

These insurance plans may include life insurance and health insurance coverage (prescription drugs, glasses, dental care, etc.), as well as a health program for employees and their dependents. Workers may also receive salary insurance benefits in case of short- or long-term disability.

An advantageous pension plan

When employees join the construction industry, they and their employers participate in the pension plan (an amount is deducted at source for each hour worked). The funds obtained are invested in different financial instruments. The retirement pension to which employees have the right depends on the total contributions that they have accumulated and the yield of the retirement funds.

The pension fund of the workers of the construction industry totals just over $19 billion, which puts it among the largest pension funds in Canada.

Financial incentives to retrain and upgrade

All construction companies are required to pay $0.15 per hour worked into the Fonds de formation des salariés de l’industrie de la construction (FFSIC, the training fund for employees in the construction industry) for promotion and funding of upgrading activities for employees in the construction industry.

The FFSIC provides support to holders of a valid competency certificate who have worked in recent years and are upgrading in an activity linked to their trade or occupation.

Allowances may be paid to workers who take upgrading activities. For example, travel and lodging costs may be reimbursed. The fund makes contributions to the insurance reserve of all employees taking an upgrading course so that they can conserve their insurance coverage. In 2015–16, there were more than 24,000 participations in upgrading activities.

As you can see, the construction industry offers very advantageous working conditions, rarely matched in other industries!

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