Regulated trades in the construction industry
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Regulated trades in the construction industry

Legal and regulatory framework in Québec
Trades and occupations
Apprentice competency certificate
Provincial qualification examination
Journeyman competency certificate
Occupation competency certificate
Review of a decision
To learn more!
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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.



If you wish to work in a construction industry regulated trade or occupation as an employee, employer or employer’s representative on a site governed by the Act, you must obtain a competency certificate from the CCQ.

You do not need to be a permanent resident or citizen of Canada to obtain a competency certificate from the CCQ.

In Québec, women can practise trades and professions that have been traditionally reserved for men. If you wish to practise a trade or profession in the construction industry, find out about the Programme d’accès à l’égalité des femmes dans l’industrie de la construction (program for women’s equal access to the construction industry).



If you plan to work in a regulated construction industry trade or occupation in Québec, contact the CCQ before your departure to obtain more information or start the process of obtaining a competency certificate.

Before your departure, gather all the documents needed to study your application for a competency certificate. This will save you needless delays after your arrival in Québec.


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Trades and occupations

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.


The occupations are support activities to the construction industry trades. There are about forty occupations, almost all of which are defined by collective agreements. On request, the CCQ can send you a descriptive list of the occupations.

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Apprenticeship is mandatory for each trade and covers all aspects of the trade. You can apprentice to only one trade at a time. Apprenticeship is remunerated and its duration varies depending on the trade. One apprenticeship period equals 2000 hours. Some trades demand up to five apprenticeship periods. The salary rises as the apprentice progresses from one apprenticeship period to the next. When the apprenticeship is completed, the CCQ invites the apprentice to register for the provincial qualification examination.

Apprenticeship logbook

The CCQ uses the apprenticeship logbook to record the hours needed to qualify for an apprenticeship credit as well as the hours of paid work in the trade on a construction site. The apprenticeship logbook is issued at the same time as the apprentice competency certificate. It involves no fee beyond that already charged for the competency certificate. The CCQ credits the apprentice with apprenticeship hours based on:

  • relevant vocational training courses completed successfully in a recognized educational institution in Québec;
  • hours of work in a trade in Québec, reported to the CCQ by a registered employer;
  • relevant work experience gained outside Québec, with proof of paid hours of work.


Proof of work experience acquired abroad: Relevant work experience acquired abroad can be useful to you by reducing the duration of your apprenticeship in a trade or by qualifying you to take the provincial qualification exam without further formalities.

Your attestations of work experience abroad must clearly indicate:

- your name and the name, address and telephone number of your employer;
- the name of your trade and specialty, if applicable;
- the tasks performed and sectors of activity;
- the employment periods and total hours worked per year.

Attestations must include the signature of a company officer and indicate his or her function.

To allow for the validation of employer letters, you must supply one of the following items to prove the number of hours worked for each period indicated:

- income tax form;
- pay statement;
- any other proof of remuneration;
- photocopy of apprenticeship logbook provided outside of Québec, if applicable.

These documents must be originals or certified true copies. If the originals are in a language other than French or English, you should obtain an official translation (from an accredited translator, a consulate or an embassy) or have a translation verified by official authorities. The translation, into French if possible, must accompany the original documents.


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Apprentice competency certificate

Apprentices hold an apprentice competency certificate and an apprenticeship logbook attesting that they may apprentice in their trade on a construction site. When the apprenticeship is completed, the apprentice must write and pass a qualification exam in order to attain journeyman status.

Conditions for obtaining an apprentice competency certificate

Candidates with a diploma

Holders of a construction trade diploma granted by the Ministère de l'Éducation et de l'Enseignement supérieur may obtain an apprentice competency certificate. They must also have a guarantee from an employer registered with the CCQ for at least 150 hours of employment spread over a period of no more than three months.

To be recognized as equivalent, diplomas or training obtained outside of Québec must correspond to the content of the Québec study program required to work in a regulated construction industry trade. The CCQ and school boards do not recognize a diploma obtained abroad or the comparative evaluation of studies done outside Québec issued by the Ministère as the equivalent of a Québec diploma. However, you can have your relevant knowledge and experience gained abroad evaluated and recognized for the purpose of seeking a diplôme d'études professionnelles (DEP) (vocational school diploma) in Québec. Recognition of extra-curricular learning is offered in various educational institutions. For more information, contact the CCQ or school board in your region of residence.

Journeyman candidates

Holders of a journeyman competency certificate who want to start or continue an apprenticeship in another trade may obtain an apprentice competency certificate. If their journeyman competency certificate is restricted to certain activities or to a given specialty within a trade, they may follow an apprenticeship in another specialty or, where applicable, in all the tasks of the trade.

Employer candidates

Employers holding an entrepreneur's licence issued under the Building Act and duly registered with the CCQ may obtain an apprentice competency certificate. However, on the construction site, they must be accompanied at all times by the holder of a journeyman competency certificate in the same trade.

Candidates without a diploma

Persons without a diploma can apprentice in a given trade only if there is a manpower shortage. A manpower shortage is declared when CCQ data show that fewer than 5% of employees holding an apprentice competency certificate issued for a given trade and region are available.

In this situation, individuals wanting an apprentice competency certificate must satisfy the eligibility conditions of the study program leading to a vocational school diploma (DEP) in the chosen trade. To this end, you can submit to the CCQ a comparative evaluation for studies done outside Quebec from the Ministère de l'Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration. Other proof may be obtained from school boards. Contact the CCQ or the school board of your region of residence to learn about the process and obtain a list of the schools that provide adults with the necessary evaluation.

Candidate must also obtain, from an employer registered with the CCQ, a guarantee of at least 150 hours of employment spread over a period of no more than three months.


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).  


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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 et de l'Enseignement supérieur must also provide:

- a certified true copy of their DEP, a statement of experience or record of marks
- 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 chosen trade;
- 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.


Provincial qualification exam

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.

Eligible candidates

The exam is for persons in one of the following situations:

  • apprentices who have completed their apprenticeship;
  • persons who can prove, with supporting documents, that they practised a trade or specialty and acquired working hours experience and, where applicable, training credits at least equal to the total duration of an apprenticeship in the chosen trade.


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:

  • the necessary documents: identification (health insurance card, social insurance card, driver's licence or other), apprentice competency certificate or letter of eligibility and
  • payment of the required registration fee (cheque, money order, credit card or cash).

Information on the exam

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

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.



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Journeyman competency certificate

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.

Conditions for obtaining a journeyman competency certificate

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.


Occupation competency certificate

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 an occupation competency certificate

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.

When there is no shortage of manpower

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.

When there is a manpower shortage

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.


Review of a decision

The Building Commissioner is an administrative appeals tribunal reporting to the Ministère du Travail, de l'Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale. 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.

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To learn more

Contact the Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ) right away.

To obtain the phone numbers of government departments and agencies, contact Services Québec.


(1) An Act respecting labour relations, vocational training and manpower management in the construction industry (R.S.Q., c. R-20).


The information contained in these pages comes from various sources and in no way replaces laws policy statements or official programs.


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Last modification : 2019-10-10
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