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The CCQ highlights the issue of construction workers' mobility among the regions of Québec

June 26, 2015

Throughout Québec, regional hiring coexists with a degree of worker mobility in order to respond to the needs of the province’s construction sites. The Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ) is the organization responsible for ensuring compliance with the rules under which construction workers travel outside their region of residence to earn their living.

The importance of blowing the whistle on illegal situations

The CCQ would like to remind everyone that they must blow the whistle on those who bypass the rules. If you observe that workers are on a site illegally, you must let the CCQ know quickly (on the website ccq.org, click on the box “Want to make a complaint?”). The same thing applies if workers are expelled from a region in which they have the right to work. The CCQ has an inspection team deployed throughout Quebec.

It has always been necessary for construction workers to have mobility. Major construction sites do not move, and often the workforce in the respective region is not sufficient on its own. Over the last 25 years, construction workers from regions such as Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Côte-Nord, and Bas-Saint-Laurent-Gaspésie have worked from 30% to 40% of the time outside of their region of residence. This is a normal and completely legal situation, attributable both to the industry’s regulations and to clauses on workforce mobility in the collective agreements that the union and employer associations have negotiated in good faith.

Intimidation is unacceptable

The CCQ states unequivocally that intimidation must never be tolerated. Any individual working in construction who has been the victim of intimidation is asked to make a complaint to the CCQ (all information is at ccq.org). It is similar for acts that have the effect of causing slowdowns on construction sites. The CCQ’s teams are in the field, and every day they take action to ensure fair competition in the industry and a healthy atmosphere on construction sites.

As long as the rules on mobility are respected, it is illegal to impede a company from taking advantage of them.

**REMINDER OF THE MAIN RULES CONCERNING WORKFORCE MOBILITY IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

RULE NUMBER ONE: REGIONAL HIRING – Regional hiring is the basic rule, according to the Règlement sur la mobilité de la main-d’œuvre dans l’industrie de la construction.

  • Although a competency certificate is valid throughout Québec, each worker belongs to the labour pool in his or her region of residence.
  • Workers enjoy hiring priority on the sites in their region.

THE NEED FOR MOBILITY – The nature of the construction industry implies that mobility rules coexist with the principle of regional hiring. The workforce in a region is often insufficient to meet the needs of occasional large projects. Furthermore, construction workers will need to be able to work in other regions if the industry’s regional activities drop in their own region.

  • The example of the Côte-Nord region in 2014: 7,780 construction workers reported hours worked in the region, which has only 3,995 holders of competency certificates.
  • It would be irresponsible to qualify workers en masse in a particular region and thereafter leave them to their own resources, on employment insurance or social assistance, once large projects are completed.

EXCEPTIONS TO THE PRINCIPLE OF REGIONAL HIRING – Here are the main exceptions to the rule of regional hiring:

  • For many years, the regulatory framework has acknowledged the legitimate right of employers to assign a “preferential” worker anywhere in Québec. A preferential worker must have worked 1,500 hours for the same employer over the previous two years.
  • In the collective agreement for the civil engineering and roadwork sector, provisions negotiated between the employer and union parties negotiated in 2001 allowed for greater provincial mobility for workers.
    • These provisions concern approximately 2/3 of workers in this sector.

USE OF RECOURSES – When employers do not respect their regional hiring obligations as set out in the regulation governing mobility, the CCQ investigates and takes the necessary recourses.
 

About the Commission de la construction du Québec

The Commission de la construction du Québec, created in 1987, is responsible for application of the Act Respecting Labour Relations, Vocational Training, and Workforce Management in the Construction Industry (Act R-20), which governs the industry. It offers numerous services to the clientele it serves, including all aspects of vocational training, management of the industry’s workforce, and application of the construction industry’s collective agreements.