Loss of wages

Under the Act Respecting Labour Relations, Vocational Training and Workforce Management in the Construction Industry (Act R-20), the Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ) oversees compliance with the industry’s collective agreements. It may also take action against anyone who does not pay the salary due to employees.
When working conditions are not respected, employees may submit a salary complaint to the CCQ, which will process the file and follow up.

What can be claimed

Employees can claim what is due to them and has not been paid. Claims must be related to working conditions and be convertible into cash – for example:

  • Unpaid salary
  • Wage difference (wrong wage rate)
  • Unpaid overtime
  • Unpaid premiums
  • Non-sufficient funds cheque
  • Unpaid social benefits, unpaid holidays, and unpaid union dues
  • Unpaid travel costs
  • Unpaid reporting pay or inclement weather allowance
  • Unpaid safety equipment allowance
  • Non-compliant advance notice of termination or layoff notice
  • Jury duty claim
  • Indemnity for payment in arrears (delay in payment of salary)
  • Reporting or preparation for work
  • Loss of tools

How to submit a salary complaint

To submit a salary complaint, you must fill out all sections of the Salary Complaint form and sign the form. You then must send this form, in addition to the required supporting documents, to the CCQ, as indicated on the form. We will contact you if your complaint is incomplete. You will have 10 days to send us the missing items. If you do not do so, the file may be closed and treated as a report.

Information on the required documentation

Depending on the nature of the items claimed, you must provide the documentation required for the period covered in your complaint. This information will be used to calculate the money due to you. Consult section 6 of the form for more details.

Unless otherwise indicated in section 6 of the form, you must provide the originals of the documentation required. The CCQ will keep these documents for at least two years following settlement of the file.

Here are examples of documents that might be required:

  • Paystubs
  • Details of daily hours per site and nature of work performed (e.g., time sheet, agenda, notepad)
  • Non-sufficient funds (NSF) cheque issued by employer or proof issued by your financial institution – that is, a certified true copy that it provides (this document may not be returned)
  • Record of termination of employment or layoff notice
  • Court receipt for compensation for jury duty
  • Updated list of personal tools, as supplied to the employer
  • Copy of the application for benefits from the Wage Earner Protection Program if your employer has gone bankrupt (for more information, go to servicecanada.gc.ca) 
  • Any other relevant document

How your salary complaint is processed

  1. Within three days of receiving your salary complaint, we will send you an email confirming its registration. To register your complaint, you must:
    • Identify yourself
    • Identify the employer targeted in the complaint
    • Specify the items that you are claiming
    • Specify the period covered in the complaint
  2. When your complaint is received, processing begins. The person assigned to processing your complaint will contact you within the following 14 days. If information or documentation is missing, you will have 10 days to complete your file.

    When all information required to process the complaint has been received, we will send you a letter informing you of this. If the information required is not received, your file may be closed, and we will send you a letter telling you this. Your complaint may then be treated as a report by our verification teams. No further notice will be sent to you.

  3. The person assigned to process your complaint will contact you again within the following 60 to 90 days to give you a progress report. Throughout the process, this person may contact you again to follow up on your file.

  4. When the verifications are completed, we will inform you in writing of the results obtained and the subsequent steps, if applicable. It is possible that your case will go to court.

Details on complaint-processing timing

It takes an average of five months to process a salary complaint. The time it takes may vary depending on the level of cooperation of the complainants and the employers targeted.

If your complaint must go to court, further delays are to be expected.

Compensation fund

In some cases, especially when the employer is insolvent, loss of salary may be indemnified by the Fonds d’indemnisation des salariés de l’industrie de la construction (FISIC). See if the salary loss meets the fund’s criteria.