The construction industry is divided into several sectors: residential construction and non-residential construction, which itself includes three sub-sectors:
– Institutional and commercial construction;
– Civil engineering and roads;
– Heavy industrial construction.
There are four categories of players: builders (general and specialized contractors), related professions (architects, engineers, land surveyors, research centres, etc.), manufacturers of construction materials and products, wholesalers and the distributors.
One in twenty jobs is linked to this industry, which has more than 26,000 companies. Some 52 billion dollars are invested per year and 13,000 additional workers are sought each year.
A growing need for labor
Moreover, under the “Investing in Canada Plan”, the federal government has committed more than $180 billion over twelve years to infrastructure projects. However, a certain number of them concern Quebec. The pandemic has had notable effects in this sector, putting many construction sites on hold and thus creating a slowdown in this industry where cyclical instability and worker mobility are already, by nature, significant. The need for labour, which already existed before the health crisis in view of the aging of the population, has increased. In 2021 only 21,000 people joined this industry in Quebec. Insufficient to deal with the refurbishment of worn-out infrastructure or participate in new projects.
It should also be noted that the field of construction has changed a lot in recent years, forced to adapt to ecological needs: research into new materials, use of higher insulation standards. In Quebec, the regions experiencing strong growth, particularly with regard to residential construction, are those of Estrie (particularly the city of Sherbrooke), Montreal and Quebec.
The activity requires the assistance of a large number of professions: bricklayer-mason, tiler, roofer, boilermaker, plumber, electrician, insulator, refrigeration engineer, carpenter-joiner, fitter of gas installations, welder, cement worker, concrete finisher, mechanic of construction site, heavy equipment operator, excavator operator, surveyor, scrap metal worker, glazier, flexible flooring installer, pipefitter. It should be remembered that most of these professions are open to women, who are nevertheless still very under-represented in this sector of activity.
Examples of positions sought by Quebec
Trades in high demand include: insulator, tiler, carpenter-joiner, boilermaker, heavy truck driver, roofer, elevator mechanic, concrete finisher, painter, plasterer, crane operator, civil engineer, land surveyor, millwright , lineman, flexible covering layer, diver, pipefitter…
The criteria established to recognize the work experience of anyone aged 16 and over and to verify their eligibility to obtain the competency certificate can be consulted via this link.
Mark:1 Canadian dollar = approx. €0.70
The construction sector offers real opportunities for salary development. Quebec tends to prioritize skills and experience over qualifications alone.
Surveyor: from $34.41 to $40.75. Mason bricklayer: from $22.56 to $40.92. Insulator: $23.17 to $41.72. Tiler: from $22.56 to $40.92. Carpenter: from $22.15 to $40.86. Cement: from $25.56 to $40.08. Boilermaker: $23.17 to $41.36. Roofer: from $27.03 to $42.07. Electrician: from $19.31 to $41.36. Refrigerator: from $18.93 to $41.30. Crane operator: from $32.13 to $41.73. Millwright: $23.17 to $41.36. Lineman: $34.54 to $41.79. Shovel operator: from $30.52 to $41.97. Painter: $20.72 to $38.98. Plasterer: from $21.78 to $39.53. Welder÷ from $36.59 to $40.19. Pipe fitter: $19.31 to $41.36.
The construction industry offers many social benefits: health insurance, salary insurance, life insurance and retirement. Employers must give priority to hiring workers residing in the region where the site is located. A worker may, however, work on construction sites in other regions when the rules on labor mobility allow it. Professional recognition and experience offer the possibility of obtaining a diploma or degree. Career development is possible by climbing many levels or by moving towards other professions through career paths.
Since 1er April 2022, according to the Regulation respecting the professional qualification of contractors and owner-builders, the majority of the latter must complete, over a period of two years, a total of sixteen hours of training recognized by the Régie du bâtiment du Québec (RBQ ) to maintain qualification for their license. Master electricians and master pipe-mechanics are also concerned.
> To find out more
How to find your job
Since 2009, the professional qualifications of workers in several construction trades in Quebec and France have been part of the France-Quebec Agreement on the recognition of professional qualifications on both sides of the Atlantic.
French people qualified in the construction trades, whether they reside in France or already in Quebec, can apply for a competency certificate, under certain conditions, by filing a file with the Commission de la construction du Quebec (CCQ). Upon receipt of this certificate, it is possible to register for the Construction Reference Booklet and be referred to businesses using labour. People without a diploma or without a skills certificate can also apply for job offers when the labor pools are open, or within a region with less than 5% of available workers.
> To find out more
List of the 100 largest employers is published each year on the CCQ’s website
National Employment Service Canada website
Data portal on the construction sector in Quebec
The Journal des Français à l’international would like to thank Marie-Noelle Deblois, Public Affairs Advisor at the Commission de la construction du Québec, for her invaluable collaboration on this matter.