The final component of the Labor Agreement with Quebec referred to “Workforce Mobility” which addresses the integration of those Kahnawà:ke workers and contractors wishing to enter into the construction industry outside the Territory and the collaboration required by the Quebec Labor Regime.

This component was included in the agreement because of the concern raised over the lack of Kahnawà:ke workers gaining employment in the construction industry outside the Territory and, more specifically, in the Province.  Historically, Kahnawà:ke had a rich tradition in the construction industry but most of that had been gained through works in the United States, especially notable being the a part of the major construction projects of New York City.  In spite of this tradition, works within Quebec have been less prevalent.

Language and historical issues with the CCQ, RBQ and Local 711 were at the basis of many of the issues regarding this area..  In a nutshell, Kahnawà:ke workers and contractors, for a large part, had not been a part of the Quebec Construction industry with even their Union affiliations centered on U.S. Locals.  Certification by both the CCQ and RBQ was not widespread.  This limited the ability to work in Quebec.

At the QKR Labor Table of November 17, 2009, discussion focused on addressing CCQ issues and developing a framework for CCQ negotiations. It was decided that the first step would be to focus on recognition of Kahnawà:ke worker’s experiences outside of Quebec and enhance their ability to work on construction projects outside of Kahnawà:ke and in the Province of Quebec.

This would include developing a process for Kahnawà:ke workers to acquire a CCQ Competency Card that recognized their previous work and minimized their need to receive training or take exams.

All discussions from that point, Labor Agreements continued to address the concern expressed by Quebec that Kahnawà:ke workers are not well represented in the Québec construction industry.  Thus, the current agreement included a specific section on Workforce Mobility that indicates the following:

The Parties commit, following the signing of the present Agreement, to ensure that the Authority, working with Québec institutions, will facilitate the integration of those Kahnawà:ke workers and contractors wishing to enter into the construction industry outside the Territory, as governed by the Québec Regime, including obtaining a CCQ certification or RBQ license.

The major task of the KLO, as outlined in the Agreement, will be to work with Québec institutions to facilitate the integration of those Kahnawà:ke workers and contractors wishing to enter into the construction industry outside the Territory, as governed by the Québec Regime, including obtaining a CCQ certification or RBQ license.  This will require many different activities at different levels.

At the signing of the Agreement, there was no formal link between Kahnawà:ke and the existing industry outside Kahnawà:ke with the exception of some training initiatives. To effectively fulfill the Workforce Mobility goals of the Labor Agreement, there was a need to establish a formal process and approach to facilitate the integration of those Kahnawà:ke workers and contractors wishing to enter into the construction industry outside the Territory. Initially, efforts were being made by the Kahnawà:ke Labor Office (KLO) on a case by case basis (i.e. addressing each individual worker one at a time).  But, it became clear that there was a need for a formal mechanism to be developed to form a lasting collaborative relationship.  To meet this need, the KLO and the CCQ have initiated the creation of a Workforce Mobility Working Group to identify and address the barriers to workforce mobility explore how such a mechanism could be developed.

The Working Group will address the different activities required to work with Québec institutions in facilitating the integration of those Kahnawà:ke workers and contractors wishing to enter into the construction industry outside the Territory including activities such as the following:

  • identifying the barriers limiting the integration of the Kahnawà:ke workforce into the construction industry and proposes appropriate solutions; and
  • addressing those systemic barriers in order to formulate systemic corrective measures.

Please refer to the Contact page for more information: Oliver Montour, Certification and Competency Officer.