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Cooperation and partnership between the Mohawks of Kahnawake and the Quebec construction industry

March 2, 2018

Kahnawake, March 2, 2018 – A new partnership is underway between the Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ), the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake (MCK), and Tewatohnhi'saktha to assist Mohawk workers to successfully integrate into the Quebec construction industry.

This endeavour is part of the implementation of the Labour Agreement signed in 2014 by the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake and the Government of Quebec. The Labour Agreement transferred the powers and responsibilities to the MCK regarding the qualifications of Kahnawake workers. It also outlines the framework for a partnership with the CCQ so that Kahnawake workers can have their already acquired skills and knowledge recognized in an adapted process in order to become certified and work in Quebec’s construction industry. The Kahnawake Labor Office, headed by Mike O’Brien, is responsible for implementing the Labour Agreement.

“We are working to mitigate the obstacles that prevent Mohawk workers from working on sites outside our community,” stated Chief Rhonda Kirby, who holds the labour portfolio for the MCK. “We are seeking solutions to give our workers an equal chance to join the industry. This partnership with the CCQ is essential if we want to find suitable solutions. We believe this is just the beginning of a long-lasting relationship.”

“It is essential that Quebec’s construction workforce represents the Quebec population, including First Nations communities, as the Mohawk workforce which have actively and proudly contributed to important projects all across North America,’’ noted Diane Lemieux, president and CEO of the CCQ. “We are taking advantage of this opportunity to build a partnership with Mohawk workers who have the skills needed on construction sites, so that they can work outside Kahnawake.”

The working committee was created to support these efforts and make recommendations, and consists of representatives from the Kahnawake Labor Office, the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake, Tewatohnhi'saktha, the Secretariat of Aboriginal Affairs, the Secretariat of Labour, and the CCQ. The committee is planning to issue its first recommendations this year. Employers and union associations have agreed to contribute to the efforts and are receiving updates concerning the committee's progress. Moreover, the associations have begun working with the partners and individuals of Kahnawake for the inclusion of the Mohawk workforce.  The committee is considering how to improve the integration of Kahnawake workers into the Quebec construction industry.