On May 31, 2018, the Assemblée nationale du Québec adopted a statute aimed at implementing certain recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry on the Awarding and Management of Public Contracts in the Construction Industry. The new Bill 152 therefore changes various legislative provisions in the Act Respecting Labour Relations, Vocational Training, and Workforce Management in the Construction Industry (Act R-20).
The new statute provides, notably:
Better protection for informants and whistle-blowersFrom now on, any reprisals (threats, suspension, firing, etc.) made against a whistle-blower are forbidden and regarded as an infraction. In addition, reporting a situation cannot incur civil liability. Knowingly providing false or misleading information, however, may result in a fine. To report a situation of intimidation.
Stronger powers for the CCQ to prevent under-the-table work
New legal provisions have been added to those already available to the CCQ to fight against under-the-table work and unfair competition. For example, anyone who requires, imposes, receives, or makes payments in wages or benefits not declared in the monthly report or set out in the collective agreements is liable for a fine. Therefore, this practice becomes an infraction that may be punished.
Assurance of conservation of documents
According to the new statute, an employer who does not conserve certain documents will be committing an infraction. The exact conservation period will be set out in a future regulation, and the CCQ will be guided by existing practices in other agencies, such as Revenu Québec. The new statute also allows the CCQ to take photographs, videos, and sound recordings on a construction sites and to use them.
Declaration by representatives and directors
According to the new provisions, any modification to the declaration by representatives and directors of an employer or union association must contain mention of compliance with conditions set out in article 26* for each, as well as a declaration attesting to the truthfulness of information and documents. Any modification must also be sent to the CCQ within 30 days. For job-site stewards, any new declaration must be sent to the steward’s union within 10 days of election. After that, the union must send this declaration to the Commission within 10 days of receipt by email and the original must follow by mail.
*Any person found guilty of one of the infractions mentioned in article 26 of Act R-20 may not occupy a position of director or representative in or for an employer or union association, nor be elected or appointed as a job-site steward. The incapacity may be permanent or for a period of 5 years from the conviction.