In Québec, the labour relations system in the construction industry is very specific. It is one of the few industries, with the public and parapublic sectors, that do not fall under the Labour Code.
The construction industry is special in a number of ways, including its economics and its specific characteristics, such as mobility of its workforce and companies, cyclical and seasonal instability, and the Quebec union system. For these reasons, as well as the history of the industry in Québec, a labour relation system was developed that offers a unique model in this sector in North America.
The Act Respecting Labour Relations, Vocational Training, and Workforce Management in the Construction Industry (Act R-20) governs labour relations in the sector. Under this statute, the provisions of the Labour Code, and the Act Respecting Collective Agreement Decrees do not apply in the construction industry unless there is an express provision to the contrary.
Here are the main characteristics of the special labour relations system in the construction industry:
- Province-wide and multi-trade negotiations;
- Working conditions applicable to the entire industry province-wide;
- Four sector-based collective agreements with common clauses on union security, union representation, grievance-settlement procedures, recourses against disciplinary measures, arbitration, the insurance and pension plans, and all compensation funds that the parties deem necessary;
- Four employer associations designated for the purpose of negotiating the collective agreements: Association de la construction du Québec (ACQ); Association des constructeurs de routes et grands travaux du Québec (ACRGTQ); Association des entrepreneurs en construction du Québec (AECQ); Association des professionnels de la construction et de l'habitation du Québec (APCHQ);
- Recognition of union pluralism: Centrale des syndicats démocratiques (CSD-Construction), Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN-Construction), Fédération des travailleurs du Québec (FTQ-Construction), Conseil provincial du Québec des métiers de la construction - International (CPQMCI), Syndicat québécois de la construction (SQC);
- Obligatory union membership;
- Obligatory membership by employers in the Association des entrepreneurs en construction du Québec (AECQ);
- Obligatory vocational qualification system for workers.