The entire construction industry in Québec will reopen as of May 11, confirmed Jean Boulet, the Minister of Labour, Employment, and Social Solidarity and Minister Responsible for the Mauricie Region.
The decision is backed by Québec’s public health authorities, but is subject to change depending on the province’s health situation. Note, staff performing administrative duties will continue to work remotely.
Jobsites will resume activity in every sector of the construction industry, namely public transportation and roadworks, residential, institutional, commercial, and industrial. The resumption will result in a complete reopening of industry procurement chains, made up of numerous small and medium-sized businesses.
Boulet reminds businesses they must take the necessary steps to ensure the reopening is successful. To that end, the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) has prepared a kit to equip employers and workers with the information they need to manage the risks of spreading COVID-19 and ensure the safety of all stakeholders.
The CNESST’s 300 inspectors will be vigilant and maintain a presence on construction sites to ensure implementation of the health instructions set out in Guide COVID-19 – Chantiers de construction. They can take action in cases involving a complaint, right of refusal or serious industrial accident, demand that any dangerous situations be remedied, and ensure compliance with the Act Respecting Occupational Health and Safety (AOHS) and its regulations.
“At every construction site, the top priority will be that everyone must continue protecting themselves. Our government has worked closely with public health agencies, construction industry partners and the CNESST to safeguard workers’ health and safety,” Boulet said. “Residential construction sites, which resumed operations on April 20, have demonstrated their agility, adaptability, and commitment to protecting the health and safety of their workers. If all goes well, other types of construction sites will return to work on May 11.”