Ontario slaps restrictions on Quebec-based construction contractors, workers

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Citing what it claims are Quebec’s unfair restrictions on Ontario construction workers and contractors, the Ontario government has enacted the Fairness Is A Two-Way Street Act (Construction Labour Mobility), 1999. The Act allows the government to impose on Quebec workers, companies and aggregate haulers restrictions that it says mirror the impact of Quebec’s practices on Ontario-based construction workers.

The Act authorizes the Lieutenant Governor in Council to designate other provinces or territories as the jurisdictions to which the Act applies. In practice, Quebec is targeted as a “designated jurisdiction”. As well, the Act establishes a body called the Jobs Protection Office (Office) to register contractors and workers from designated jurisdictions and to coordinate the enforcement of the Act and other existing legislation.

NO PUBLIC SECTOR AWARDS TO QUEBEC CONTRACTORS

Before the Act was unveiled in the legislature, Premier Harris had already announced that certain government agencies, such as the Ontario Science Centre and the Ontario Realty Corporation, could no longer award construction contracts to Quebec companies. The Act’s provisions extend this prohibition to cover the entire government and broader public sector. This includes government ministries and agencies, school boards, hospitals, municipalities, universities and colleges. (s. 7) Contractors doing work for any of these bodies are prohibited from subcontracting with a contractor from a designated jurisdiction. (s. 8)

REGISTRATION REQUIREMENT – CONTRACTORS

In all other cases, contractors from a designated jurisdiction wishing to enter into or bid on a contract in Ontario must first register with the Office. In order to register, contractors must post $10,000 security, pay a registration fee, provide detailed financial statements and satisfy other prescribed requirements. (s. 2)

Before obtaining any licences or permits required to work in Ontario, contractors from designated jurisdictions must register with the Office and, where appropriate, with the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations or the Technical Standards and Safety Authority. (ss. 3, 4, 5) No bids may be submitted unless proof of compliance with these obligations is presented, along with proof of having filed a return or notice under the Corporations Information Act. (s. 6)

REGISTRATION REQUIREMENT – WORKERS

Workers from designated jurisdictions who are working or will work in construction in Ontario must register with the Office. Registration requires that workers submit satisfactory evidence of work experience in a prescribed trade, occupation or construction activity, pay a fee, and comply with other prescribed requirements. For workers employed in a trade requiring certification in the designated jurisdiction, evidence of this certification must be supplied. If the work is in a trade that requires certification in Ontario, the worker must also provide evidence of this certification. (s. 10)

For further information, please contact George Rontiris at (613) 563-7660, Extension 275.