New measures to bring more women onto construction sites

November 22, 2016

The Government of Québec and the Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ) are pleased to announce that amendments to three regulations that govern the construction industry were adopted today. These regulatory amendments will enable the CCQ to institute four new measures aiming to increase the number of women on construction sites. Starting December 12, 2016, means will be put in place to facilitate women’s access to construction sites and their retention on these sites, while the employers who hire them will benefit from competitive advantages.

In the view of Dominique Vien, the Minister Responsible for Labour, Deputy Government House Leader, and Minister Responsible for the Chaudière-Appalaches Region, “The concrete actions taken today are aiming to encourage more women to work in construction. Acting in favour of mixed-gender construction sites means helping to transform the image of the industry and making it more welcoming to everyone – both women and men.”

The amendments announced today concern the Regulation Respecting the Issuance of Competency Certificates, the Regulation Respecting the Vocational Training of the Workforce in the Construction Industry, and the Regulation Respecting the Hiring and Mobility of Employees and the Construction Industry.

The four new measures fulfil commitments made by the CCQ in the Programme d’accès à l’égalité des femmes dans l’industrie de la construction (PAEF) 2015 2024. These regulatory changes will contribute to the attainment of a clear target: increasing the proportion of female workers active on Québec construction sites to 3% by 2018; today, that proportion is barely 1.5%.

Adapting the rules: Necessary measures

“The construction industry has so many high-quality trades to offer; women have every reason to be interested in this sector,” observed Diane Lemieux, CEO of the CCQ. “But for this to happen, they need a helping hand and to be shown that the industry is ready to welcome them and keep them working even if construction is still essentially a male environment. These regulatory amendments result from a consultation process conducted with our partners. We can sense very clearly that it is time to get moving, and these changes are based on a shared vision of the objectives.”

To propose the regulatory changes announced today, the CCQ consulted with the employer and union associations in order to identify four temporary adjustment measures. Essentially, these measures:

  • Accelerate the issuance of a competency certificate for women with a diploma
  • Facilitate access by non-graduates to on-site apprenticeship
  • Enable journeymen to supervise one female apprentice more than the apprentice-journeyman proportion set out for a construction site
  • Soften the rules so that a woman with a competency certificate may work outside of her region of residence sooner

Currently, women have difficulty integrating onto Québec construction sites and retaining their jobs. Their dropout rate is almost twice as high as that for men after five years. Few women attain the status of journeyman, considering their low seniority in the industry. A very high proportion are apprentices: 55%, compared to 28% for men.

Advantages for the entire industry


“The new measures respond to the fundamental principle of having a skilled workforce,” Lemieux noted. “In addition, they offer competitive advantages to employers who encourage women to join their work team. The idea is to make hiring a woman both simple and more advantageous so that female workers will have an opportunity to demonstrate their abilities. Today, barely 8% of the 26,000 employers in the industry choose to hire women. I am inviting all of them to make use of the new measures coming into effect on December 12.”

guidance service for the integration of women into the construction industry was instituted by the CCQ last July. It is possible not only to get information on the new measures, but also to obtain guidance in cases of discrimination or harassment, and to be informed of rights and available recourses.