HULL, Que, — Ontario will is heading for a showdown with Quebec construction workers if the province tries to enforce a rule banning them from Ontario sites, a Quebec workers’ spokesman forecasts.
Jocelyn Dumais, president of the Association for the Right to Work, says Ontario Labor Minister Chris Stockwell’s plan to ban Quebec workers will not work.
To get a card and be eligible for construction jobs in Quebec, a worker must be a union member. Quebec workers who don’t have a card often have to work in Ontario or under the table. Dumais’ and the association believe there should be free mobility between the provinces and workers should not have to join a union to obtain the competency card. He expects Quebec’s labor minister will call Stockwell’s bluff.
“I doubt if he has any intention of putting those measures into place,” Dumais says of Stockwell. “There’s a serious shortage of manpower on the Ottawa side and Ontario just cannot afford to miss out on 5,000 construction workers right now.”
After two months of negotiations between Ontario and Quebec, he says talks have come to a dead-end. If there’s no deal by this week, Stockwell says the government will reintroduce the 1999 bill that made it illegal for Quebec companies to bid on publicly funded Ontario construction projects.
This time, Stockwell insists the penalties would be extended to cover all construction projects, including residential and large-scale sites.
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