Home » 31-4 ( 1976) » Les nouveaux défis de l’Office de la construction du Québec

Les nouveaux défis de l’Office de la construction du Québec

R. Mireault


Cet article tente d'illustrer le particularisme du régime de relations du travail dans l'industrie de la construction au Québec.


The New Challenges of The Office de la Construction du Québec

To present the « Office de la construction du Québec », the author first insists on the history of the labor relations System in the Québec construction industry. Having been an exception to the traditional approach since 1934, with the decree System, the 1968 Act continued and even emphasized the exceptional character of the industrial relations System in that industry in establishing industry wide bargaining and in replacing the concept and reality of certification by a new approach called « representativity ». Morever, this 1968 Act allows for the presence of a decree on a given territory and requires all construction workers to be unionized. Problems to administer an industry wide decree soon brought the creation of a joint bipartite provincial body, the « Commission de l'industrie de la construction » (CIC).

Serious problems stemming from union rivalries between 1972 and 1974 brought the creation in 1975 of a Royal Commission of Inquiry on the Freedom of Association in the Construction Industry (Cliché Commission), who presented its final report in May of 1976.

One of the many consequences of this Royal Commission was the promulgation of Bill 47 amending the law of 1968 and creating the « Office de la construction du Québec » (OCQ).

This new body differs from the previous C.I.C. in that the parties at the bargaining table are not the administrators of the OCQ. Indeed, this new body is administered by three neutrals assisted for the specific tasks of interpreting the collective agreement and of deciding of the uses of workers' and employers' dues to the fringe benefit System by the Joint Construction Committee.

The mandates of the new body are larger than of the former CIC:

1- The OCQ is responsible for physical safety on job sites.

2- The OCQ has the mandate to administer a comprehensive fringe benefit program for construction workers.

3- The OCQ is responsible for the compulsory vote of construction workers for a union of their choice.

4- The OCQ is responsible for the placement of construction workers and eventually for the application of any regulation regarding training and qualification of construction manpower. For this specific mandate, the OCQ has built a policy of manpower services for the Québec construction industry. This policy aims at intervening not only on the supply side of the labor marker but also on the demand for labor and on the matching of people and jobs.

To sum up, one must realize that the Office de la construction du Québec does not intervene in the industrial relations System of the Québec construction industry. All it does is to administer specific aspects of that industry.