CFIB applauds introduction of Bill 51 which will help modernize the construction industry
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is welcoming the Quebec government's introduction of Bill 51 to modernize the construction industry.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is applauding Minister Jean Boulet and the Quebec government for introducing Bill 51 to modernize the construction industry.
This is the first step towards dusting off an over-regulated sector and will offer employers greater flexibility, predictability and lower costs in a context of labour shortages, infrastructure projects and housing shortages.
However, CFIB notes that stronger changes would have enabled SMEs to respond to the crucial issues facing the sector.
The bill paves the way for a certain degree of multi-skilling, an essential measure for reducing the administrative and regulatory burden. CFIB estimates that the annual cost of regulations is five times higher for companies with fewer than five employees ($7,023) than for those with at least 100 employees ($1,237).
According to CFIB, a total of 79 per cent of the construction sector is made up of companies with fewer than five employees. CFIB also believes that more flexibility for employers will help them to automate more. In this respect, a recent CFIB study showed that the construction sector is lagging behind in this crucial economic shift.
“CFIB is delighted to see a bill that will certainly be good for the construction sector. Now let’s move on to consultations to improve it and take it even further. The government must stay the course in order to implement a long-awaited modernization that will truly reduce the regulatory burden on Quebec’s construction sector, which is too heavy and unique in Canada,” said François Vincent, CFIB’s vice president for Quebec.
The bill will improve labour mobility, which is a solution for SMEs severely affected by the lack of employees. CFIB also highlights the measures that will give new workers better access to this sector. It’s worth noting that more than three out of five SMEs in Quebec’s construction sector are experiencing shortages.
CFIB questions the addition of a feedback fund, and believes it could exacerbate disruptions during collective agreement renewals. It also notes that the government has decided to maintain compulsory union membership, a situation that is unique among North American jurisdictions, and which generates additional bureaucracy and costs. It could even be the crux of the construction industry’s problem.
“The unions are already critical of the Minister’s reform, while they maintain their position of strength. This demonstration of a lack of openness to proposed changes in the sector shows that it may be time to review this legislative incoherence and this sacred cow that is the obligation of union membership,” said Vincent.
CFIB represents nearly 2,000 construction companies in Quebec. It will be analyzing this important bill in detail, and would like to be heard in parliamentary committee.