Federal construction contracts

The right to fair wages and working conditions extends to trades workers employed on construction sites under federal contracts, and is guaranteed under the Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act and Regulations. Whenever contractors bid on federal construction projects, they must agree to meet the conditions defined in this Act and pay the wages established by the Labour Program in support of the Act and its regulations.

Note: The Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act and Regulations were repealed on January 1, 2014. All federal construction contracts that contain a fair wage clause will continue to be governed by provisions of the Act and Regulations for the duration of that contract.

The Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act and Regulations ensure that all workers, tradespeople and subcontractors employed on federal government construction contracts benefit from fair wages and working conditions. Contractors must post a copy of the labour conditions prominently in the workplace, and keep records that demonstrate these conditions are being met, should they be requested by a Labour Program inspector.

Fair Wages

The Labour Program works with the construction industry and Statistics Canada to establish fair wage schedules of hourly rates of pay for the various trades by relying on extensive consultation and research. For contracts covering work performed in Quebec, Manitoba and Yukon, workers are paid the wage rates established by that province or territory. In Quebec, there are no wage schedules and the wage rates are established under the Quebec Construction Decree. If a trade or class of work is not listed in the fair wage schedules, the contractor pays wages for an equivalent kind of work.

Hours of Work

The hours of work for those employed on federal construction contracts are the same as those of the province in which they are working. Overtime rates are no less than 1.5 times the regular wage. Daily or weekly hours of work can be exceeded if provincial law allows.

Non-discriminatory hiring practices

In taking on work in federal construction, contractors agree they will not refuse employment to or discriminate against anyone:

  1. because of their
    • race
    • national or ethnic origin
    • colour
    • religion
    • age
    • sex
    • sexual orientation
    • marital status
    • disability
    • conviction for which a pardon has been granted
    • family status
  2. with whom that person has a relationship or association, for the above reasons
  3. who makes a complaint or provides information about the contractor's failure to comply with particular labour conditions

Contractors must also file a statement swearing they have met the conditions set out by the Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act and Regulations before they receive payment under their contract with the federal government. If certain conditions are not met, the Act and Regulations allow the government to enforce compliance in a variety of ways.

For more detailed information about these labour conditions, refer to the Act itself.

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