A one-way bridge for Ontario and Quebec contractors?Canadian Contractor
Ontario contractors have to jump through numerous regulatory hoops to ever tackle a project in Quebec. Is the reverse true? Of course not!
Why is it that Quebec-based contractors can cross into Ontario and do construction work, including home renovations, without having to obtain any special licences or environmental certifications when the reverse is certainly NOT the case for Ontario contractors wanting to work in Quebec?
The unfairness of this situation is really evident in the National Capital Region. There, the construction laws change halfway across the Macdonald-Cartier bridge linking Ottawa with Gatineau, Quebec.
Even the snow removal services plowing these bridges have to abide by the differences in Quebec and Ontario law. On the Ontario side of the bridge, the plows have to use orange and blue flashing lights. These lights must switched to blue (only) lights on the Quebec half of the structure. Crazy! (Or should I say, in French, Fou?)
Contractors registered in Ottawa crossing these very same bridges to work in Quebec must obtain, beforehand, a contractor’s license from Quebec’s construction authority, the RBQ. At the RBQ, every contractor must pass a test on Construction Project Management, Site Safety Management and Administrative Management. These licenses attempt to show that contractors have business skills and are (likely to be) reliable in paying materials suppliers, sub-trades and labourers.
In addition to these tests, every contractor working in Quebec must also carry an environmental certification. And, last but not least, directors of contracting firms are required to hold accreditations in Technical Accreditation, Administrative Accreditation and Occupational Health and Safety Accreditation.
As you can see, the barriers to Ontario contractors working in Quebec are substantial. Quebec contractors face much fewer constraints coming into Ontario. Yes, there are WSIB issues, but Quebecers have a much easier time working here.
Now, what if homeowners in Ontario run into issues with a Quebec contractor and want to sue them? Well, they had better make sure that clauses exist in their contracts with these Quebec companies about the jurisdiction and applicable laws they’ll come under. Believe it or not, rules applicable to international law come into play when issues like these arrive, even if we are talking about two provinces in the same country!
It’s pretty clear that Quebec laws are designed to keep Ontario contractors from playing in their sandbox. Quebec contractors, meanwhile, are given free roaming rights.
Are we one country or not? Tell us what you think!
And let us know if you have had any experiences with this Ontario-Quebec double standard.
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