Starting on April 26, 2021 - MEASURES AIMING TO COUNTER THE EFFECTS OF LABOUR SCARCITY IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

Starting on April 26, 2021 - MEASURES AIMING TO COUNTER THE EFFECTS OF LABOUR SCARCITY IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

On April 26, 2021, eight measures aimed at increasing the availability of workers on Québec construction sites come into effect.

For information on each of these measures, read the descriptions below.

  • Recognizing relevant experience acquired to join the construction industry
  • Allowing work on construction sites during studies
  • Encouraging the next generation of contractors
  • Facilitating the entry of graduates to certain specialized occupations
  • Accelerating access to the status of journeyperson for graduates
  • Accelerating obtaining journeyperson status for all apprentices
  • Allowing a greater number of apprentices to be hired
  • Generating more multiskilling on construction sites

This measure is aimed at allowing an apprentice competency certificate to be issued to all individuals who submit a relevant record of recognition of professional experience.

The record must present a number of hours of work in the tasks in targeted trade, including those performed in a context that is not subjected (not falling under Act R-20), equivalent to 35% of the duration of the apprenticeship. These apprentices must also have passed the Santé et sécurité générale de l’industrie de la construction course and provide a job guarantee from an employer registered with the CCQ. This measure is not dependent on the state of the labour pools.

Following analysis of the record, these individuals obtain an apprentice competency certificate and are subject to the same training obligations as apprentices without a diploma who joined the industry through an opening of the labour pool, for example.

The objective is to encourage the entry of experienced people, who present advantages compared to those who enter through openings of the labour pool.

This measure will also enable workers who have been out of the industry for several years to obtain a competency certificate if they have the required experience in hours worked and declared to the CCQ previously.

The trade of crane operator is excluded from this measure.

For all the details, click here.

This measure aims to enhance the educational path leading to a construction trade with practical experience, by allowing the issuance of a temporary apprentice competency certificate (ACC) to individuals attending an educational institution.

The objective is to better prepare the students for a career in the industry and allow them to validate their choice of career, fostering better integration into construction sites. These students also become available to work during peak periods, such as, for example, during the summer vacation from school.

To obtain a temporary ACC, a student must provide a letter of commitment from an employer registered with the CCQ confirming the employer’s interest in hiring him or her. The wage rates are the same for holders of a temporary ACC as for other apprentices, in compliance with their apprenticeship period and the applicable collective agreement. This measure is not dependent on the state of the labour pools.

The temporary student ACC is for a duration of six months and can be issued only with proof of attendance in a recognized study program for a trade. It is cancelled if a student leaves or ends his or her program. Students who leave or end their study program will have to satisfy another issuance criterion set out in the regulation to obtain an apprentice competency certificate.

Like all other apprentices, these apprentices will work under the supervision of a journeyperson and will have to pass the Santé et sécurité générale sur les chantiers de construction course to obtain their temporary ACC.

The trade of crane operator is excluded from this measure.

For all the details, click here.

The measures that encourage training and earning a diploma (on-site apprenticeship, enhancement of training credits in the apprenticeship record book, and quicker access to the qualification examination leading to journeyperson status) are important for increasing the attractiveness of the construction sector.

It is proposed to allow each employer to obtain two exemptions from holding a competency certificate for an employer’s child, instead of just one.

The objective is to increase the number of employers’ children who work on construction sites in order to encourage the next generation of contractors in the construction industry.

For all the details, click here.

This measure is aimed at allowing the issuance of an occupation competency certificate for graduates of programs leading to the following occupations:

  • Land surveyor instrument person
  • Blaster-driller
  • Diver

These graduates will no longer be subject to access via the Cours de connaissance générale de l’industrie de la construction and the random draw.

For all the details, click here.

This involves enhancing the value of the diploma for progress in the apprenticeship. Before this measure was adopted, for each course hour of initial training recognized as relevant to apprenticeship in his or her trade, the apprentice obtained one apprenticeship hour. Starting on April 26, 2021, the apprentice will obtain an hour and a half.

This measure applies to all apprentices with a diploma from a recognized program, even if they completed their program before the date when the measure comes into effect. The enhanced hours will automatically be entered in the apprenticeship record book of the apprentices concerned.

For all the details, click here.

The measures that encourage training and earning a diploma (on-site apprenticeship, enhancement of training credits in the apprenticeship record book, and quicker access to the qualification examination leading to journeyperson status) are important for increasing the attractiveness of the construction sector.

To provide quicker access to journeyperson status, this measure allows apprentices to sit for the qualification examination when they have achieved 85% of their apprenticeship hours. This measure does not change the terms for retaking the qualification examination in case of failure.

Apprentices who so wish will always have the opportunity to wait until they have completed 100% of their hours required before taking the examination.

Apprentices eligible for this measure will be contacted automatically. 

For all the details, click here.

The measures that encourage training and earning a diploma (on-site apprenticeship, enhancement of training credits in the apprenticeship record book, and quicker access to the qualification examination leading to journeyperson status) are important for increasing the attractiveness of the construction sector.

For each journeyperson on the job, this measure will allow on-site supervision of two apprentices instead of one, which will offer companies the opportunity to hire more apprentices and, ultimately, to increase the pool of journeypersons.

For this to occur, one of the apprentices must be in his or her final apprenticeship period: this apprentice will therefore already have some experience, especially with regard to on-site safety issues. 

This measure is not in addition to the one that encourages the hiring of women. Therefore, employers who wish to increase their ratio must include an apprentice in final apprenticeship period OR a woman.

This measure places no obligation on employers to take on a second apprentice per journeyperson. If an employer does not see the need to use this measure, or if the context of work on the site does not allow for it, the employer is not forced to use it.

Trades with only one apprenticeship period and the trade of crane operator are excluded from this measure.

For all the details, click here.

This measure aims to allow apprentices to perform residual tasks that are directly related to their trade. In many cases, apprentices are trained to do these tasks in their vocational studies program. 

The definitions of tasks in the different trades are given in the Regulation respecting vocational training in the construction industry. Residual tasks are not part of the regulatory definition of the respective trades, but they may be related to them. Currently, journeypersons and labourers perform these tasks on construction sites.

Performing residual tasks at once increases apprentices’ multiskilling and thus their employability, contributes to their education and prepares them to become journeypersons, and has a positive effect on the efficiency of work on construction sites. 

Furthermore, the apprentice is still under the supervision of a journeyperson.

In addition, other workers, labourers and journeypersons, may continue to perform residual tasks. In particular, labourers have the advantage of being able to perform all residual tasks, without regard for the trade to which they are attached.

The wage rage applicable to apprentices does not change according to the tasks that they peform, in compliance with their apprenticeship period and the applicable collective agreement. As a consequence, when apprentices perform residual tasks related to their trade, the employer must declare their hours under their apprenticeship trade code in the monthly report.

This measure places no obligation on employers to have their apprentices perform residual tasks. It is up to employers to organize the work and divide up the tasks among their employees according to the context of the site, the workers available, and the tasks to accomplish.

Overall, these measures are intended to reach the following five objectives:

  • Encourage access to the industry for individuals who have relevant work experience
  • Increase hiring opportunities for new apprentices 
  • Make initial training more attractive, with the goal of retaining students in vocational training centres until they obtain their diploma
  • Accelerate the progress of apprentices to journeyperson status
  • Foster on-site work organization that improves productivity

Two regulations are modified by these changes:

A real scarcity of labour 

The workforce needs in the construction industry are estimated at 13,000 new workers per year for the next five years. The scarcity of labour currently being experienced by the majority of construction employers will be felt until 2030.

This issue has been well documented. The CCQ published a study on the subject, has conducted surveys among its clients, and has made available a regulatory impact analysis, as required by the government of Québec.

The labour scarcity in the construction industry is caused by population ageing combined with a continued high rate of economic activity. 

No compromise on skills and qualification

The eight measures do not change any of the principles established in the Act Respecting Labour Relations, Vocational Training and Workforce Management in the Construction Industry (Act R-20) with regard to workers’ skills and qualifications. Indeed: 

  • It remains necessary to hold a valid competency certificate to work on a construction site.
  • The privileged avenue of entry to the industry is through earning a diploma.
  • Apprentices must complete their apprenticeship before sitting for the qualification examination, which they must pass to accede to the status of journeyperson.
  • Apprentices must be supervised by a journeyperson.

With regard to health and safety, employers’ obligations and responsibilities remain as before, as does passing the Santé et sécurité générale sur les chantiers de construction course to have a competency certificate issued.

An evaluation of the measures to allow for adjustments

It should be noted that before they were adopted, the measures were subjected to an obligatory 45-day public consultation.

The CCQ’s board of directors, composed of the employer and union associations, has also resolved that the measures should be evaluated at most 24 months after they come into force, on the basis of a methodology that will be approved beforehand. Therefore, all of the effects and impacts of these changes will be carefully studied and may be subject to adjustments as needed.

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