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Not respecting a suspension of work: An act with serious consequences

August 20, 2015

Following a denunciation by the Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ), on August 14 the Superior Court found contractor Yannick Forest guilty of contempt of court for the second time, as he had not respected an order of suspension of construction work.

In January 2014, Forest had begun modifications to a commercial building situated at 98 to 106 Boulevard Sainte-Madeleine in Trois-Rivières to convert it into a residential building. As the work was in progress, the CCQ’s inspectors witnessed on the site the presence of workers without the appropriate competency certificates, a requirement under the Act Respecting Labour Relations, Vocational Training and Workforce Management in the Construction Industry, commonly called Act R-20. Despite a number of attempts by the CCQ to get the contractor to comply with the law, he refused to regularize the situation, which led to the pronouncement of an order of suspension of work on September 3, 2014.

The contractor receives the maximum fine under the Act

While the order of suspension of work was in force, Forest continued construction work between September 12 and November 12, 2014. On January 14, 2015, the contractor was found guilty for the first time of contempt of court. He was sentenced to pay a fine of $1,750.

Despite this sentence and the order of suspension of work still in force for the site in question, a CCQ inspector witnessed, during a site visit conducted in April 2015, that Forest was nevertheless continuing to work on the building. For this second contempt of court, on August 14 the Superior Court sentenced Forest to pay the maximum fine under the Act, $5,000, within 30 days. If the fine is not paid by the deadline, the court sentences him to 20 consecutive days in prison.

Competency certificates on construction sites is non-negotiable

The CCQ would like to remind contractors that holding a valid competency certificate appropriate to the work being performed is obligatory on all sites falling under Act R-20. In addition to the fines set out in the Act, this infraction may lead to the suspension of activities on a construction site.