Loss of Wages

Loss of Wages

Under the Act Respecting Labour Relations, Vocational Training and Workforce Management in the Construction Industry (Act R-20), the Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ) oversees compliance with the industry’s collective agreements. It may also take action against anyone who does not pay the salary due to employees. 
 
When working conditions are not respected, employees may submit a salary complaint to the CCQ, which will process the file and follow up.

What can be claimed

Employees can claim what is due to them and has not been paid. Claims must be related to working conditions and be convertible into cash – for example:

  • Unpaid salary
  • Wage difference (wrong wage rate)
  • Unpaid overtime
  • Unpaid premiums
  • Non-sufficient funds cheque
  • Unpaid social benefits, unpaid holidays, and unpaid union dues
  • Unpaid travel costs
  • Unpaid reporting pay or inclement weather allowance
  • Unpaid safety equipment allowance
  • Non-compliant advance notice of termination or layoff notice
  • Jury duty claim
  • Indemnity for payment in arrears (delay in payment of salary)
  • Reporting or preparation for work
  • Loss of tools

How to submit a salary complaint

To submit a salary complaint, you must fill out all sections of the Salary Complaint form and sign the form. You then must send this form, in addition to the required supporting documents, to the CCQ, as indicated on the form. We will contact you if your complaint is incomplete. You will have 10 days to send us the missing items. If you do not do so, the file may be closed and treated as a report.

Information on the required documentation

Depending on the nature of the items claimed, you must provide the documentation required for the period covered in your complaint. This information will be used to calculate the money due to you. Consult section 6 of the form for more details.

Unless otherwise indicated in section 6 of the form, you must provide the originals of the documentation required. The CCQ will keep these documents for at least two years following settlement of the file.

Here are examples of documents that might be required:

  • Paystubs
  • Details of daily hours per site and nature of work performed (e.g., time sheet, agenda, notepad)
  • Non-sufficient funds (NSF) cheque issued by employer or proof issued by your financial institution – that is, a certified true copy that it provides (this document may not be returned)
  • Record of termination of employment or layoff notice
  • Court receipt for compensation for jury duty
  • Updated list of personal tools, as supplied to the employer
  • Copy of the application for benefits from the Wage Earner Protection Program if your employer has gone bankrupt (for more information, go to servicecanada.gc.ca) 
  • Any other relevant document

How your salary complaint is processed

  1. Within three days of receiving your salary complaint, we will send you an email confirming its registration. To register your complaint, you must:
    • Identify yourself
    • Identify the employer targeted in the complaint
    • Specify the items that you are claiming
    • Specify the period covered in the complaint
  2. When your complaint is received, processing begins. The person assigned to processing your complaint will contact you within the following 14 days. If information or documentation is missing, you will have 10 days to complete your file. 

    When all information required to process the complaint has been received, we will send you a letter informing you of this. If the information required is not received, your file may be closed, and we will send you a letter telling you this. Your complaint may then be treated as a report by our verification teams. No further notice will be sent to you. 

  3. The person assigned to process your complaint will contact you again within the following 60 to 90 days to give you a progress report. Throughout the process, this person may contact you again to follow up on your file. 

  4. When the verifications are completed, we will inform you in writing of the results obtained and the subsequent steps, if applicable. It is possible that your case will go to court.

Details on complaint-processing timing

It takes an average of five months to process a salary complaint. The time it takes may vary depending on the level of cooperation of the complainants and the employers targeted.

If your complaint must go to court, further delays are to be expected.

Compensation fund

In some cases, especially when the employer is insolvent, loss of salary may be indemnified by the Fonds d’indemnisation des salariés de l’industrie de la construction (FISIC).

 
 

 

  • Compensation Fund for Employees in the Construction Industry
  • New regulation
  • Fonds spécial d'indemnisation

The Compensation Fund for Employees in the Construction Industry (CFECI) is used to compensate workers for lost wages. It is governed by the conditions set out in the regulation, composed mainly of an employer contribution ($0.02 for each hour worked by the employer’s employees), and administered by the Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ).

The CFECI is used to compensate workers who have lost wages due to:

  • An employer’s insolvency (bankruptcy, receivership, proposal, consumer proposal, voluntary deposit by employer)
  • A writ of execution that is reported unsatisfactory after a judgment rendered against the employer or after an approved arbitration award
  • Participation in a trial as a juror

Eligibility

To be eligible to receive compensation from the CFECI, an employee must:

  • Hold the required and valid competency certificate at the time the work was done
  • Have performed work covered by Act R-20
  • Have filled out and signed a salary complaint. The complaint must be accompanied by the required documents and be received by the CCQ no later than 60 days after the date on which the employee should have received the wage
  • Actively cooperate with the CCQ to settle the file

Calculation of 60 days from the date when wages were due

To preserve the right to be compensated by the CFECI, employees must submit a salary complaint with all of the documents and information required.

Non-payment of current earnings
If an employee is not paid current earnings or receives a not-sufficient-funds cheque, he or she has 60 days following the non-payment to submit a salary complaint. 
Example for current earnings: an employee works from Monday, January 11, to Friday, January 15, 2016. Under the terms of the collective agreement, his employer must pay him his wages in full by Thursday, January 21, 2016, at the latest. When the employee realizes that he has not received his current earnings in full, he may file a salary complaint by March 21, 2016 – 60 days after the non-payment – at the latest in order to be eligible for the Compensation Fund for Employees in the Construction Industry.

Vacation and statutory holiday statements
For sums not transmitted by an employer, observed by employees when they receive their vacation and statutory holiday statements, they will have 60 days starting on July 1 or December 1 to file a salary complaint.

Compensation

The compensation that employees may obtain from the fund corresponds to the wages that they should have received under the terms of the collective agreement applicable at the time of the loss of wages. Wages eligible for the fund correspond to:

  • Current earnings
  • Travel costs
  • Money set aside for annual vacations, paid statutory holidays, and sick days
  • The employer contribution to the complementary account ;
  • The employee contribution to the complementary accounte of the pension plan.

The following limits are set to compensation from the CFEIC:

  • A maximum of six weeks of current earnings (and travel costs) is admissible
  • The compensation paid to workers will be automatically reduced by all amounts that they have received or have the right to receive from another compensation program
  • Employees cannot have received compensation for work performed illegally and in contravention of any provision of a collective agreement
  • A company officer cannot receive compensation
  • Employees cannot be compensated more than twice for insolvency situations involving the same employer or a person treated as the same employer
  • No compensation is paid if:
    • The employee knew that his or her employer did not declare him or her on the monthly report
    • The employee knowingly participated in a system of undeclared earnings
    • The employee worked in contravention of the law or of any provision of a collective agreement

Waiting period for payment of compensation

The amount of time between filing of the complaint and the CCQ’s decision on payment of compensation is based on the normal period needed for analysis and processing of the complaint, including legal steps, if applicable. 
Here are the typical steps in processing a complaint that may lead to payment of compensation:

  • Analysis and processing of the salary complaint
  • Civil remedy, if applicable (delays beyond the CCQ’s control)
  • Transfer to the CFEIC, depending on the insolvency situation
  • Analysis and processing of the compensation application at the CFEIC
  • Decision and payment, if applicable, by the CFEIC

After the CFEIC analyzes the compensation application, the CCQ will the worker the final decision in writing. If the worker is eligible for the compensation fund, the CCQ will pay the compensation within 60 days following the favourable decision.

Decision appealable to the Tribunal administratif du travail

Employees may appeal the decision rendered by the CCQ to the Tribunal administratif du travail (TAT). An employee who feels that the result of the CCQ’s decision adversely affects his or her right to compensation may request that the CRT review the decision within 30 days following receipt of the decision.

WEPP: Another compensation program for workers!

The Government of Canada has created the Wage Earner Protection Program (WEPP) to compensate workers for wages lost during the six months preceding the bankruptcy or receivership of their employer. WEPP compensates eligible employees for all unpaid wages, vacations, or severance pay, but not for social benefits.

The employer’s bankruptcy trustee is obliged to register employees with WEPP and send all employees a form that they will have to fill out and send to Service Canada in order to receive the compensation. The compensation paid to employees by the CFEIC will automatically be reduced by the amount that they receive or have the right to receive from WEPP, whether or not the employee fills out the application to Service Canada.

 

The Compensation Fund for Employees in the Construction Industry (CFECI) replaced the Fonds spécial d'indemnisation (FSI) starting on January 6, 2016.

Unlike the FSI, the CFEIC is not negotiated as part of the collective agreements. The CFEIC is subject to conditions set out in the Regulation Respecting the Compensation Fund for Employees in the Construction Industry.

Similar to the FSI, the CFEIC will be composed mainly of an employer contribution ($0.02 for each hour worked by the employer’s employees) and will be administered by the Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ).

All of the money in the FSI has been transferred to the CFEIC.

What changes with CFEIC?

The worker’s responsibility: an obligation!
With CFEIC, each employee is responsible for his or her own compensation file. Therefore, to be eligible for the fund, employees must fill out and sign a salary complaint and file it with the CCQ with the required documents within the required deadline and then cooperate actively with the CCQ in order to settle the file.

Publication of company names
The names of companies (and of their administrators) whose employees have been compensated by CFEIC are published on the CCQ’s website (except when the employee was a prospective juror).

To avoid having the fund being used for fraudulent purposes, the names of companies are also published in cases in which compensation was not paid if:

  • The employee knows that his or her employer did not declare him or her in the monthly report
  • The employee knowingly participated in a system of undeclared earnings
  • The employee worked in contravention of the law or any provision of a collective agreement

The publication of employers’ names serves the objective of ensuring greater transparency in the management of the compensation fund and enabling employees to obtain relevant information.

list of employers to be published in accordance with Article 19 of the Regulation

The Fonds spécial d'indemnisation (FSI), administered by the Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ), which is the fiduciary for the fund, was instituted by the employer and union parties in 1973 through the collective agreements. It was created to ensure that workers would be compensated for lost wages if their employer became insolvent. The Fonds spécial d'indemnisation is composed of employers’ contributions of $0.02 for each hour worked by their employees.

 

Conditions for compensation

To be compensated by the FSI, a worker must hold the required and valid competency certificate at the time the work was done, and has to performed done work that is declared and covered by the Act in Québec.
The employee must have lost wages, holiday pay, social benefits, or travel costs in one of the three following situations:

  • The company for which the employee has worked is insolvent following a bankruptcy, an assignment for the benefit of creditors, a proposition to creditors, or a judgment obtained by the CCQ and not satisfied in whole or in part by a seizure of the company’s assets.
  • The company is not insolvent, but issued not-sufficient-funds paycheques or ceased operations for 60 days without having paid at the worker’s last weeks of work at the termination of service.
  • The company granted the worker unpaid leave to appear in court as a juror.

The FSI reimburses wages and amounts set out in the monthly report (paid leavecontributions to social benefitsunion dues, and deductions [employee’s share]).

To be compensated by the FSI for lost wages, an employee must file a salary complaint with the CCQ within 6 weeks following the non-payment of wages.

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