Regulated trades in the construction industry
Legal and regulatory framework in Québec
To work in a regulated trade or occupation in the construction industry in Québec, a person must hold a competency certificate issued by the Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ - Quebec Construction Commission). The certificate attests that the holder has the necessary qualifications to work on Québec construction sites.
The CCQ has several functions. It administers the Act1, sees that collective agreements in the construction industry are applied, and ensures that the manpower employed in this sector of activity is qualified, namely by establishing mechanisms for initial training, apprenticeship and vocational upgrading, and the assessment of vocational qualifications for regulated trades.
The measures governing access to the construction industry and those relative to vocational qualification favour diploma-holders and are defined by regulation. Among other things, regulations determine what type of diploma is recognized, the duration and number of apprenticeship periods required for each trade, the ratio of an apprentice's wage to that of a journeyman, the ratio of apprentices to journeymen on sites, the jurisdiction of trades and qualification examinations.
The Act governs only part of the construction activity in Québec. Exclusions apply to renovation work done on dwellings on behalf of their occupants, maintenance and renovation work by permanent employees of school boards and hospitals, work related to mining or forestry operations, work performed on a farm, work done water supply and sewage systems, paving and sidewalk work performed by municipal employees, the installation of gutters, garage doors and central vacuum cleaner systems as well as landscaping for detached single-family homes.
There are two broad job categories in the construction industry: trades and occupations. Unlike occupations, trades require an apprenticeship process defined by regulation. Persons following the apprenticeship program have apprentice status. Those who complete their apprenticeship and pass a provincial qualification exam become journeymen.
The 26 trades in the construction industry are defined by regulation. Four of them have specialties. Each trade has a fact sheet that provides more information than what is presented in this general document, including a description of the trade, the training and apprenticeship program and hourly wages. On request, the CCQ will send you the fact sheets you want. You can access these sheets in PDF format by clicking on the trade of your choice.
|Contact a CCQ regional office to learn where you can take courses on health and safety on construction sites (Santé et sécurité sur le chantier de construction) and on job sites, equipment and organizations (Chantiers, équipements et organismes).|
Steps to obtain your apprentice competency certificate
You must go to the CCQ and provide:
- proof that you are at least 16 years old;
- your social insurance number;
- your residence address;
- an attestation that you passed the course on health and safety on the construction site (entitled Santé et sécurité sur le chantier de construction);
- payment of required fees (cheque, money order, credit card, or cash).
At the time of your application, you must fill out a form indicating which union association you wish to join.
Candidates with a diploma from the Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport must also provide::
- a certified true copy of their DEP, a statement of experience or record
- letter from their employer guaranteeing employment for a period of 150 hours.
Candidates without a diploma issued by the MELS must also provide:
- proof that they are eligible for the program leading to a DEP in the
- letter from their employer guaranteeing employment for a period of 150 hours.
Employer candidates must also furnish:
- information on their company;
- the identification form required by the CCQ, duly filled out.
The qualification exam tests the skills of candidates in the trade for which they have completed an apprenticeship. Candidates must pass this exam in order to earn journeyman status.
The exam is for persons in one of the following situations:
You may have accumulated enough work experience abroad and want to apply to take the exam. In this case, you must provide the CCQ with proof of your paid working hours. The CCQ will then convert relevant experience gained abroad into a credit of hours of apprenticeship. If the credit of hours equals the total duration of the apprenticeship required for the chosen trade, you may be eligible to write the qualification exam for this trade. Otherwise, you must conform to requirements for the issuance of an apprentice competency certificate. The CCQ will notify you of its decision in a letter of eligibility or refusal to the qualification exam.
To register for the exam, go to a CCQ regional office with:
It is a multiple-choice exam. It may be written in French or English and it integrates both the metric and imperial systems of measurement. Use of an interpreter is not allowed.
However, in cases of difficulty in reading or writing, it is possible to use the services of a reader.
If you fail the qualification exam, the CCQ can inform you about the procedures and fees for taking it again.
Chances of success in the provincial qualification exam increase with the skill level of the candidate. For those who wish, vocational upgrading is provided. For information, contact a CCQ regional office.
A journeyman competency certificate attests to the holder's provincial qualification in a given trade and competency to practise a trade or specialty, or to perform limited activities pertaining to the trade in this capacity.
Candidates must be at least 16 years old, pass the provincial qualification exam, take the Santé et sécurité sur le chantier de construction course, and belong to a union. The journeyman competency certificate indicates the trade and, if applicable, the specialty or activities of the trade that the person can practise.
Steps to obtain your journeyman competency certificate
- Apprentice candidates who pass their provincial qualification exam automatically receive their certificate from the CCQ at no charge.
- Non-apprentice candidates who pass their provincial qualification exam must request it from the CCQ and pay the required fees.
Labourers or specialized workers hold an occupation competency certificate enabling them to pursue a regulated occupation in the construction industry. On request, the CCQ will send you a descriptive list of occupations.
Conditions for obtaining the certificate vary depending on manpower availability. For some occupations, candidates must satisfy special eligibility conditions. The CCQ can give you information on these questions.
An occupation competency certificate is issued by the CCQ to anyone who asks for it and has successfully taken the courses entitled Santé et sécurité sur le chantier de construction and Chantiers, équipements et organismes.
The number of places available annually for the Chantiers, équipements et organismes course is determined by the CCQ based on an estimate of manpower needs by employer and worker representatives in the industry. The number of places and eligibility requirements are published in newspapers once a year. Candidates are chosen through a random draw, and must pass the Chantiers, équipements et organismes course.
Manpower is considered scarce when fewer than 5% of total workers with an occupation competency certificate issued for a given region are available. After a shortage is declared, candidates register at a CCQ office in the region with a shortage. They must also obtain a guarantee of at least 150 hours of employment over a period of no more than three months from an employer registered with the CCQ, and successfully complete the course Santé et sécurité sur le chantier de construction. Candidates immediately obtain a temporary certificate enabling them to work on the site for which they obtained a guarantee of employment. They must also take the course Chantiers, équipements et organismes as soon as it is offered. The temporary certificate may be extended until this course is offered.
Steps to obtain your occupation competency certificate
In all cases, you must provide the CCQ with:
- proof that you are at least 16 years old, except for blasters and divers who must be at least 18 years old
- your social insurance number
- your address of residence
- payment of the required fees (cheque, money order, credit card or cash).
When the application is made, you must complete the form stating which union association you wish to join.
In a period of no manpower shortage, you must also:
- show an attestation of your successful completion of the courses Santé et sécurité sur le chantier de construction and Chantiers, équipements et organismes.
In a period of manpower shortage, you must also:
- provide the guarantee of employment from the employer
- show attestation of successful completion of the course Santé et sécurité sur le chantier de construction.
The Building Commissioner is an administrative appeals tribunal reporting to the Ministère du Travail. It hears and rules on any appeal concerning the interpretation of the scope of application of the law, assessment of qualifications to carry on a trade or occupation, the issuance of certificates of competency or qualification to employees and licences to entrepreneurs.
Anyone who feels wronged by a decision rendered by the CCQ may request a hearing before the Building Commissioner to present his or her case and evidence. Decisions rendered by this tribunal may not be appealed.
If you launch an action with the Building Commissioner, your union organization may help you formulate your request for a review.
Contact the Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ) right away.
To obtain the phone numbers of government departments and agencies, contact Services Québec.
The information contained in these pages comes from various sources and in no way replaces laws policy statements or official programs.