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Understanding the world of construction in quebec

RBQ, CCQ, CNESST, ASP… There is no shortage of abbreviations in the construction world in Quebec and it is normal to get lost. Let’s take an overview of the major players in Quebec construction in order to see a little more clearly…

The Régie du bâtiment du Québec (RBQ)

The RBQ is a government agency reporting to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Its mission is to ensure the quality of construction work, public safety and the professional qualification of contractors. To do this, it administers the Building Act and ensures that the Construction Code and the Safety Code are respected. It also applies the Regulation respecting the professional qualification of contractors and owner-builders. Concretely, it is the RBQ that issues licenses to contractors after verifying their qualifications through examinations.

The Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ)

The Commission de la construction du Québec is responsible for administering the Act on Labour Relations, Vocational Training, and Workforce Management in the Construction Industry (commonly known as Act R-20). It was the Quebec government that gave this organization this mandate. The CCQ is therefore responsible for administering the collective agreements of the construction industry and it offers many services to construction workers in terms of social benefits, insurance, retirement and professional training.

It is also the CCQ that has the power to issue competency certificates to workers, commonly known as “CCQ Cards”. It is through obtaining this competency certificate that the construction worker can be hired on a construction site. The CCQ determines the specific terms and conditions to be followed for each employment category and each type of certificate requested. There are three types of certificates. The apprentice competency certificate (ACC) for a person still in the apprenticeship phase (who must be accompanied by a companion on the site), the journeyman competency certificate (JCC) for a person who has demonstrated his qualifications (by a certain number of hours worked) and the occupation competency certificate (OCC) for a laborer. It should be noted that for certain construction sites that are called off-decree (for example: residential renovation with an occupying owner), competency certificates are not necessary for workers.

The Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité au travail (CNESST)

The CNESST is the organization to which the Quebec government has entrusted the mandate of promoting labor rights and obligations. Formerly known as the CSST, the CNESST’s mission is to ensure the implementation and maintenance of pay equity, to promote fair and balanced working conditions, to control the management of health and safety in the workplace and to compensate victims of employment injuries as well as to see to their rehabilitation. The CNESST affects all areas of work and is not limited to the construction industry. However, since the construction trades are often more risky trades, the CNESST plays a preponderant role as much for the prevention of accidents, the compensation of victims of occupational injuries and the collection of contributions. All construction employers must pay a contribution to the CNESST for each of their employees and the rates vary according to the trade.

The Association paritaire pour la santé et la sécurité du travail du secteur de la construction (ASP Construction)

Under the Construction Safety Code, anyone working on a construction site must have taken a health and safety course. It is the ASP construction who is responsible for offering the mandatory Health and Safety on Construction Sites Course and issuing a certificate to the worker once the 30-hour training is completed. This is what is commonly called “having your Health and Safety Card”.

There are many other organizations working in the field of construction in Quebec. But for the moment, at least, you will be able to understand your contractor when he tells you: “I have my RBQ license, all my employees have their CCQ Cards, I am in good standing with the CNESST and everyone on the construction site has its Health and Safety Card!”

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