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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Portland, ME
    Posts
    6,302

    Default Question for our friends to the north

    Just finishing up a quick trip to Quebec City - I'd never been here before, despite its proximity. A beautiful place, both geographically and architecturally. The closeness of history is incredible, and the way things could easily have gone in other directions.

    Anyway, my contractor's eye was also open, and I was amazed at some of the things I saw. I always had an idea that Canadians were more safety conscious than people in the US, and maybe that's true but not in Quebec. I saw a guy working on the roof of City Hall, with a harness, but connected to a pretty flimsy looking railing on top. I saw construction sites with dangerous conditions and running equipment, in the middle of busy public squares, roped off with caution tape.

    And these 2 photos - one was a major demo site, no fencing, clearly dangerous electrical conditions, cords snaked everywhere, etc. The other is a guy working on one of the towers of the ramparts, standing on a pallet supported by his Lull, no harness, etc.

    Is this typical? These are about as high-profile sites as one would find in the city, I'd imagine.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    5,889

    Default Re: Question for our friends to the north

    Quote Originally Posted by Dancing Dan View Post

    Is this typical? These are about as high-profile sites as one would find in the city, I'd imagine.
    I don't understand Quebec either. They are essentially a different nation to the rest of Canada. They have a completely different legal system than the rest of us. I can legally work in construction in the USA but not in Quebec. I worked there for 8 months in 1983 and they had jobsite inspectors that went out to look for unauthorized guys working in the trades but never once did I see a safety inspection.

    The jobsites in your photo's would be shut down in Ontario. The guy standing on the forks isn't allowed to do that even if you welded him to the forks let alone put a harness on him. In Ontario the regs. around construction safety are being re-written as we speak making them more stringent after five guys overloaded a swing stage to breaking and 4 fell to their deaths.

    http://dcnonl.com/article/id36900
    http://dcnonl.com/article/id41014

    After this we are all going to be wrapped in bubble wrap covered with a blanket of flame proof cotton batten jwhen we come within sight of a job site
    Last edited by dave_k; 04-12-2011 at 10:31 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Montreal
    Posts
    328

    Default Re: Question for our friends to the north

    Yes.

    Mark

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    before in Montreal, then move
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Question for our friends to the north

    No it is not typical. Construction worker in Quebec has almost the same safety laws then anywhere else including the right to refuse to do the job. I saw in Alberta a guy on top of a ladder in a man basket installing a H-beam. I think we will see those thing anywhere were the contractor does not have the money to make thing secure. CSST which is the same as OH & S, as inspector and would shut down those incident.

    True Dave Quebec is hard to understand. Even me as a Quebecer I can't work over there. I've decided to leave when my sons as to hide themselves when a *&^&&*&O&Y* inspector came to my job site not to see if my work was right but to verify if every one has a ticket (To be a construction worker there you have to be in the union, it is the law) and fines me if not. Carpenter cost 48$ per hour (including CSST, union due, holiday pay (11%), health care and pension plan) You have to adhere to it, it is the law. The carpenter can be good or bad, pay him. On a 24-plex I was doing, a union guy (FTQ-Construction) came and told me that I was under there watch and I was not alloy to lay-off no-one until the job was finish.

    Right now, on the north shore of Quebec, they built dam, the union decided if you can work or not and the union decided the production of the contractor's employees. They decided if you stay alive or die on a job. You have to be on their side. Before you quote, you have to talk to them to see if they will have the man power for you and how much it is going to cost. And don't try to change that, no contructions worker will follow you.

    75% of the money in Quebec is government control: GST taxes, income taxes, municipal taxes, fuel taxes and all governments fees. Black market is a paradise. I think we can say that Quebec is a Banana public. Most of the construction workers goes on unemployment in the winter and work for cash.

    I left. Four years ago. With my family. All of them are happy in Alberta. No-one wants to go back. As french, for Quebec poeple we are treator.

    Michel

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    832

    Default Re: Question for our friends to the north

    Quebec is a world to its own. Tribal and corrupt. (And they're welcome to it!) Many of my acquaintances left in the Exodus of 1976 when Separtiste Rene Levesque was elected Premier.

    (Of course, as a former denizen of the Rotten Apple, I can't help but have some knowledge of how corruption works. When my father built, the planning included emoluments for municipal inspectors et al.)

    ****
    A friend of mine worked on swing stages for a couple of years. The recruiter placed appealing ads in the newspapers without specifying the work and met the responders in a donut shop. Most left when they heard what he had in mind. He took the others to a site and gave them a lift up. By the second floor, most were begging off the job. My friend stayed on. There was absolutely no instruction other than telling them to read what was on the stage itself. Some guys, including the recruiter, daily fortified themselves for the job with alcoholic imbibements. My friend just studied the instructions and moved the stages accordingly.
    "The fatal flaw of all revolutionaries is that they know how to tear things down but don’t have a f**king clue about how to build anything." Jim Goad

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    5,889

    Default Re: Question for our friends to the north

    Quote Originally Posted by worthy View Post
    A friend of mine worked on swing stages for a couple of years. The recruiter placed appealing ads in the newspapers without specifying the work and met the responders in a donut shop. Most left when they heard what he had in mind. He took the others to a site and gave them a lift up. By the second floor, most were begging off the job. My friend stayed on. There was absolutely no instruction other than telling them to read what was on the stage itself. Some guys, including the recruiter, daily fortified themselves for the job with alcoholic imbibements. My friend just studied the instructions and moved the stages accordingly.
    I did a swing stage Train the Trainer with CSAO in October while the trial was going on so our instructor filled us in on the story.

    The company had no supervision on site. The guys on the swing stage were Russian's and spoke little English so they couldn't read the instructions if they wanted to. They had no safety training what so ever let alone swing stage training. They were running the stage on Christmas eve because they had already been shut by the ministry so they figured no inspectors would be out. They were wearing harness but had no lifelines to tie off to, the stage wasn't set up and anchored properly, they already had it overloaded with 5 men and tools THEN they landed a concrete bucket on it which was the final straw. I'll bet the fifth guy who shattered his legs but survived doesn't feel too lucky but he is.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    832

    Default Re: Question for our friends to the north

    When it was reported, my friend's experience came to mind instantly.

    He was a full-blood aboriginal, young and fearless then. And you have to do what you have to do to make money. New immigrants (and Natives) as the disposable proletariat.

    ***
    In '93, there was a similar collapse at the Garden City Skyway in St. Kitts. As workers painted the bridge, the stage broke apart and four plunged to their deaths 125 feet to the ground; and for more than an hour seven others clung to a one-inch ledge while standing on an eight-inch beam till they were rescued.
    Last edited by worthy; 04-16-2011 at 10:13 PM.
    "The fatal flaw of all revolutionaries is that they know how to tear things down but don’t have a f**king clue about how to build anything." Jim Goad

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