Compliance on construction sites operation: Problems persist in the interior finishing sector

From November 1 to December 10, 2016, the Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ) conducted a compliance operation in the interior finishing sector. Over the past three years, CCQ inspectors have observed infractions in 30 percent of their site visits where painting, plastering (e.g. joint pointing) as well as drywall panel installation were being performed. During the operation, this rate declined to 22 percent, an encouraging result but still twice the level observed for the construction industry overall.

“Illegal work and unfair competition are still quite common in the interior finishing sector,” notes CCQ vice-president of operations Jean-Guy Gagnon. “The improved compliance we observed last fall confirms that the CCQ’s intervention and awareness-raising strategies are effective. We are realistic, however, and recognize that much work remains to bring this industry sector into line.”

Certain factors in the interior finishing sector facilitate regulatory avoidance. Specifically, the nature of the work is more suited to a set contract price (paid by the “linear foot,” not by the hour), the work is for short periods, and the sites involved are often not visible from outside the building.

To improve compliance in the interior finishing sector, the CCQ is counting on the cooperation of workers on these sites. Anyone noticing a non-compliant situation is encouraged to report it to the CCQ.

“To maximize the operation’s impact, we held some twenty meetings with key players in the sector, including the industry’s employer and union associations. Our discussions shed new light on certain sites, which has proved useful in planning our interventions,” Jean-Guy Gagnon says.

The CCQ is resolutely battling persistent compliance problems in the interior finishing sector through various intervention and awareness-raising strategies, to promote lasting behavioural changes. It emphasizes that the first to suffer from these types of actions are always those workers and employers who follow the rules.

Our operation by the numbers

Here are the statistics for the interior finishing sector operation conducted from November 1 to December 10, 2016:

  • 657 site visits conducted;
  • 22 percent of these visits observed at least one violation of Act R-20;
  • 206 infractions were observed in total:
    • The vast majority involved lack of a competency certificate (79), non-compliance with journeyman-apprentice ratios (56), or non-compliance with trade jurisdictions (26).

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