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.

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 This hyperlink will open in a new window., you can report it to the Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ) This hyperlink will open in a new window..

Site visits and inspections

Representatives of Garantie construction résidentielle (GCR) conduct quick visits This hyperlink will open in a new window. (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.

Requirements:

  • Hold a valid contractor’s licence This hyperlink will open in a new window. issued by the Régie du bâtiment du Québec (RBQ) authorizing the holder to perform construction work
  • Hold the appropriate competency certificate This hyperlink will open in a new window. 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 This hyperlink will open in a new window. (French only) for residential construction firms due to the pandemic.
  • For employers, fulfil the responsibilities and obligations This hyperlink will open in a new window. set by the CCQ
  • Respect collective agreements This hyperlink will open in a new window. 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 This hyperlink will open in a new window. (French only) page of the RBQ website for information on the following topics:

  • Examinations This hyperlink will open in a new window.: cancellation and deferral
  • Licence This hyperlink will open in a new window.: 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 This hyperlink will open in a new window. French only) of its website. You can also contact GCR by email, at covid19@garantiegcr.com, 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 This hyperlink will open in a new window. of the CCQ website. 

Updated information on the following:

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 This hyperlink will open in a new window. page of the CNESST website.