Since the start of the health crisis, work required for emergency repairs or safety purposes has been allowed in all sectors of the construction industry. On April 20 last, the government authorized the reopening of residential construction sites for housing units scheduled for delivery no later than July 31, 2020. As of May 11, activities can restart in all sectors of the construction industry in all regions of Québec.
Restarting construction will reopen supply chains in the industry, which involve many small and medium-sized businesses. To ensure that activities reopen gradually and safely, specific directives, preventive measures and requirements must be heeded. Against this backdrop, the general population as well as workers and contractors have a role to play to protect the health and ensure the safety and well-being of everyone.
Sectors in which activities are allowed to restart
As of May 11, activities in all sectors of the construction industry can reopen across Québec, that is:
- Residential sector
- Civil engineering and road works sector
- Institutional and commercial sector
- Industrial sector
Preventive measures on construction sites
Responsibilities of employers in matters of safety
If you are an employer or a supervisor of a construction site, you are responsible for protecting the health and ensuring the safety and physical well-being of your workers. The Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) has developed tools to help you put the adopted measures in place.
- COVID-19 Guide – Construction Sites
Strict measures must be taken in order for a construction site to reopen. Such measures are explained in detail in the COVID-19 Guide – Construction Sites . Read it!
- Daily checklist – COVID-19
Before starting a workday, you must answer a checklist of questions to ensure on-site compliance with the measures in place. The checklist must be posted and available on the work site.
- Poster of prevention measures to protect workers’ health
A poster highlights the main prevention measures to be implemented to protect workers’ health . Don’t forget to print and post it for everyone to see!
Responsibilities of workers in matters of health
If you are a construction worker, you also have a role to play in protecting yourself and protecting others. Make sure the basic rules regarding social distancing and hygiene are following on and near all worksites.
- Maintain a distance of 2 metres from your colleagues at all times.
- Use appropriate technology to limit physical contact.
- Avoid direct contact for greetings. Use other methods instead.
- Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds.
- Cough or sneeze in your elbow.
- If you use a tissue, throw it away as soon as possible and then wash your hands.
- Avoid sharing tools. If you have to share tools, disinfect them after each use.
Reporting a non-compliant situation
In health matters
Do you feel that the work you do endangers your health or safety? Does your workplace fail to comply with the health measures adopted?
Call 1-844-838-0808 to talk to a CNESST inspector.
Job sites subject to the Act respecting labour relations, vocational training and workforce management in the construction industry (Law R-20)
If you witness a non-compliant situation on a job site subject to Law R-20 , you can report it to the Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ) .
Site visits and inspections
Representatives of Garantie construction résidentielle (GCR) conduct quick visits (French only) of construction sites to
- make sure the materials used are in good condition so as to ensure the building will have a long life and future occupants will be safe
- ensure future buyers of the building are protected
- assist contractors and answer their questions
CNESST inspectors, whose role is to ensure compliance with the Act respecting occupational health and safety, can intervene in the case of
- a complaint
- a worker’s right to perform particular work
- a serious work accident
CCQ inspectors are allowed to verify specific measures set out in the COVID-19 Guide – Construction Sites and report situations to the CNESST. In short, the CCQ is allowed to verify that
- workers have access to
- a toilet
- water for hand washing, as well as soap or an alcohol-based gel (60% or more)
- on all construction sites with 25 workers or more, workers have access to
- flushing toilets
- a sink with water for each flushing toilet
- a hand dryer, roller towels or paper towels
- where paper towels are used, a waste paper basket
- a notice indicating that the water is not suitable for drinking, if such is the case
Maintenance of requirements in respect of contractors and workers
Despite the current pandemic, the same requirements continue to apply in respect of contractors and workers in the construction industry.
- Hold a valid contractor’s licence issued by the Régie du bâtiment du Québec (RBQ) authorizing the holder to perform construction work
- Hold the appropriate competency certificate to work on job sites subject to Law R-20
- Be accredited by the GCR to build a detached, semi-detached or row-type single-family dwelling, a plex or condominium building with no more than 4 units stacked one above the other, as required by the Regulation respecting the guarantee plan for new residential buildings
- GCR has announced accommodation measures (French only) for residential construction firms due to the pandemic.
- For employers, fulfil the responsibilities and obligations set by the CCQ
- Respect collective agreements negotiated between employers and unions. This requirement continues to apply where the return to work sites subject to Law R-20 leads to the reorganization of work on various levels: arrangement of work methods and schedules, flexible hours, etc.
Additional information and resources
Régie du bâtiment du Québec (RBQ)
Visit the COVID-19 (French only) page of the RBQ website for information on the following topics:
- Examinations : cancellation and deferral
- Licence : current application to amend a licence, payment of licence maintenance dues, notice of assessment received, departure of a guarantor
Garantie de construction résidentielle (GCR)
If you have questions regarding accreditation by GCR, building registration or any other matter, see the “frequently asked questions” page (foire aux questions French only) of its website. You can also contact GCR by email, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone, at 1-855-657-2333.
Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ)
For any question regarding qualification, access to the construction industry, training and employee benefits, see the COVID-19 page of the CCQ website.
Updated information on the following:
- Employee benefits
- Qualification and access to the construction industry
- Application of Law R-20
- Training and upgrading
Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST)
For any question regarding occupational norms, health, safety or fairness in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, see the Questions and answers – COVID-19 page of the CNESST website.
Last update: October 15, 2020