Fri. Aug 23rd, 2019

Labour tribunal invalidates Quebec’s regional hiring priority for construction workers

2 min read

Issues surrounding regional hiring priority in the construction industry stem from the demands of regional workers who want to be able to work at construction sites in their own areas.

Quebec’s Regulation respecting the hiring and mobility of employees in the construction industry prioritizes construction workers living in the region of a worksite. Quebec’s labour tribunal says that regulation Allen McInnis / Montreal Gazette files

Quebec’s administrative labour tribunal has declared regional hiring priority clauses in the construction industry invalid and inoperative, saying they impeded on rights to freedom and privacy.

In a judgement rendered Friday, the tribunal sided with l’Association de la construction du Québec, which was supported by l’Association des constructeurs de routes et grands travaux du Québec.

Though the tribunal is invalidating two articles of the Regulation respecting the hiring and mobility of employees in the construction industry, it’s suspending its decision until collective agreements in the construction industry can be renegotiated.

Current collective agreements are set to expire on April 30, 2021. The decision is therefore suspended until their renewal.

Issues surrounding regional hiring priority in the construction industry stem from the demands of regional workers. They want to be able to work at construction sites in their own areas, rather than having a contractor who wins a contract come with his own workers from another region.

This situation has caused friction between regional and outside employees.

Judge Raymond Gagnon said in his decision that employees’ right to privacy and their freedom to establish their homes in a place that is convenient to them is being infringed upon. He also ruled that there’s a restriction for employers to hire employees they need based on where they live.

Gagnon said he sees a “force of inertia” and a system that has “become difficult to justify in the current economic and social context. It is therefore not possible to justify the current rules of regional hiring priority.”

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