The Quebec government will introduce legislation this fall to modernize the construction industry. The goal is to give tools to the industry so that it can carry out the many projects expected for the next few years, despite the labor shortage.
The Minister of Labor, Jean Boulet announced his intentions during a speech delivered Monday morning before the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal.
He intends to conduct a vast awareness campaign in the coming weeks, which will include workshops and meetings with employer and union groups. “When we agree on objectives, it is then easier to discuss the issues”, slipped the minister in his speech.
To increase productivity on construction sites, the Minister said he strongly believed in the versatility of workers, which should go through shared activities and less through a reduction in the number of trades, currently at 25 trades and 6 occupations.
“I intend to do an analysis with the trades people and see if there are activities that could be shared that would ensure better cohesion and better harmony in the progress of the work, therefore less delays and better productivity, specified the minister in a scrum of the press which followed the lunch-conference. It is not a reflection that I am currently making to merge professions. »
To make up for the estimated deficit of between 15,000 and 17,000 construction workers, the MP for Trois-Rivières also wants to promote access to the industry for three currently underrepresented groups: women, members of First Nations and those of immigration.
Strategic plans and pilot projects have already been set in motion or are expected soon for the industry to diversify further.
The government also wants to focus on the safe integration of innovations in the industry. He gave the example of Pomerleau, which uses a 4-legged robot to monitor construction sites in places deemed to be dangerous for workers.
In exchange with the President of the Chamber, Michel Leblanc, the Minister said he believed that the imbalance between supply and demand creates a favorable climate for modernizing an industry despite the failures of past initiatives going in the same direction. “Currently, we have needs: houses, housing, hospitals, schools, and we are not able to meet the demand,” said the minister. We must reduce the gap between the capacity of the industry and the needs of the population. »
On the union side, we will certainly participate in the consultation process, but we are waiting to be convinced by the accuracy of the proposed measures. “We expect our people to be competent and what they are going to build is going to be durable. It may require a certain flexibility, but this flexibility already exists in the trades. The carpenter-joiner, for example, can already perform a variety of tasks,” said Éric Boisjoly, general manager of FTQ-Construction, during a brief interview on the sidelines of the event.