For some months now, Quebec's construction-industry
regulator, the Régie du bâtiment du
Québec (the "RBQ") has increasingly been
seeking penal sanctions against contractors for false statements
made to the RBQ when applying for, renewing or modifying their
contractor's licences. Have you reviewed your completed form
before sending it to the RBQ?
As you may know, a firm that wishes to bid on, obtain, perform
or have performed a construction contract in Quebec must hold a
contractor's licence from the RBQ. In order to obtain, modify
or renew the licence, the firm must fill out a form, available on
the RBQ website (www.rbq.gouv.qc.ca) and submit it to the RBQ
with the required fee.
On the RBQ's prescribed forms, there are sections that
require disclosure of infractions the firm has been found guilty of
under certain statutes within the last 12 months. The Act
Respecting Labour Relations, Vocational Training and Workforce
Management in the Construction Industry and the Act
Respecting Occupational Health and Safety are examples of such
statutes. Through carelessness or oversight, many firms indicate
that they have not been found guilty of such an infraction by
checking the "no" box, when in fact they have.
Unfortunately, the person signing the form often does not check
with the proper individuals within the firm to ascertain whether
that answer is correct. The RBQ considers that to be a false
Under section 194 of the Building Act, making a false
statement to obtain a licence or in any other prescribed RBQ
document constitutes a penal offence subject to a fine of between
$2,654 and $13,225 for an individual and $7,934 to $13,225 for a
legal person (e.g. a corporation). The amount of the fine doubles
for a second offence, and triples for each additional
Moreover, under subsection 70(3) of the Building Act,
making a false statement regarding the facts pertaining to an
application for a contractor's licence constitutes grounds for
the potential suspension or cancellation of that licence by the
So before checking the "no" box, make sure that
statement is correct. If a notice of infraction is unfortunately
issued by the RBQ, remember that you have 30 days to register a
not-guilty plea. You will then have the opportunity to present any
valid defence you may have.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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