What are the consequences of the health emergency on RBQ licenses?

The state of health emergency decreed by the Government of Quebec has had many consequences on businesses and government agencies, including the Régie du bâtiment du Quebec (RBQ). The latter announced that it is centralizing its efforts and resources on essential services within the meaning of the decree issued on March 24, 2020. What about items related to an RBQ license?

Qualification Examinations

The examinations scheduled between March 17 and May 8, 2020, have been postponed indefinitely. The RBQ also announced that exams taken after March 5, 2020, have still not been graded. This situation will create additional processing delays in granting guarantor qualifications or processing license applications.

License Applications

The RBQ has not processed any new license applications received since March 20, 2020. Processing of licence applications will resume as soon as authorities have implemented preventive measures.

Unemployed Guarantor

A business may have made the difficult decision to temporarily lay off staff to ensure its financial health. If the laid-off employees include one or more respondents required to maintain the company’s RBQ license, the RBQ confirms that the work can continue. The company will have 90 days to replace or rehire the respondent without this temporary layoff having any impact on its business.

License Renewal

Notwithstanding the current circumstances, any companies will have to pay the license maintenance fees on the due date. These fees may be paid online. The Building Act expressly states that any license which is not renewed when it expires will be voided.

This said, the RBQ seems willing to forego penalizing contractors who were unable to pay the annual fees after taking diligent measures to do so. It will be up to the contractor to demonstrate this.

Construction Site Inspection

The RBQ will continue to perform construction site inspections in cases of emergency or in the extent that public security is compromised.

If a contractor is currently or becomes subject to a correction notice requiring him to perform corrective work on the site following an inspection, the prescribed deadlines are waived until further notice.

Closure of Construction Sites

The RBQ does not have the regulatory power to authorize the opening of construction sites, even if a contractor deems that his construction site is urgent or essential. Only the Government of Quebec can currently issue such an authorization. In the meantime, it is the responsibility of general contractors to ensure the closure of their sites in a safe manner.

Auditions and Decisions

Auditions before the RBQ’s Bureau des régisseurs scheduled up to May 1, 2020, have been postponed. Once activities resume, the RBQ will issue new notices of convocation. In the meantime, it is possible to trace a contractor subject to a decision by the RBQ or a pending claim by consulting the register available on the RBQ’s website.

For more information on RBQ licenses or licensed contractors, visit the Régie du bâtiment website. If you have a legal issue with a contractor or have questions about the current situation, do not hesitate to contact one of our expert lawyers.

By Audrey Robitaille