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Cooperation and partnership between the Mohawks of Kahnawà:ke and the Quebec construction industry

03/02/2018

A new partnership is underway between the Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ), the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke (MCK), and Tewatohnhi′saktha to assist Mohawk workers to successfully integrate into the Quebec construction industry.

This endeavour is part of the implementation of the Labour Agreement signed in 2014 by the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke and the Government of Quebec. The Labour Agreement transferred the powers and responsibilities to the MCK regarding the qualifications of Kahnawà:ke workers. It also outlines the framework for a partnership with the CCQ so that Kahnawà:ke workers can have their already acquired skills and knowledge recognized in an adapted process in order to become certified and work in Quebec’s construction industry. The Kahnawà:ke Labor Office, headed by Mike O’Brien, is responsible for implementing the Labour Agreement.

“We are working to mitigate the obstacles that prevent Mohawk workers from working on sites outside our community,” stated Chief Rhonda Kirby, who holds the labour portfolio for the MCK. “We are seeking solutions to give our workers an equal chance to join the industry. This partnership with the CCQ is essential if we want to find suitable solutions. We believe this is just the beginning of a long-lasting relationship.”

“It is essential that Quebec’s construction workforce represents the Quebec population, including First Nations communities, as the Mohawk workforce which have actively and proudly contributed to important projects all across North America,’’ noted Diane Lemieux, president and CEO of the CCQ. “We are taking advantage of this opportunity to build a partnership with Mohawk workers who have the skills needed on construction sites, so that they can work outside Kahnawake.”

The working committee was created to support these efforts and make recommendations, and consists of representatives from the Kahnawà:ke Labor Office, the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke, Tewatohnhi′saktha, the Secretariat of Aboriginal Affairs, the Secretariat of Labour, and the CCQ. The committee is planning to issue its first recommendations this year. Employers and union associations have agreed to contribute to the efforts and are receiving updates concerning the committee′s progress. Moreover, the associations have begun working with the partners and individuals of Kahnawà:ke for the inclusion of the Mohawk workforce.  The committee is considering how to improve the integration of Kahnawà:ke workers into the Quebec construction industry. 

About the Commission de la construction du Québec
Created in 1987, the Commission de la construction du Québec is responsible for applying the Act Respecting Labour Relations, Vocational Training, and Workforce Management in the Construction Industry (Act R-20), which provides a legal framework for this industry. It offers many services to its different client bases, notably with respect to vocational training, labour management and the application of the collective agreements in the construction industry.

About Tewatohnhi′saktha
Established in 1999, Tewatohnhi′saktha, Kahnawà:ke’s Economic Development Commission, was created by legislation from the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke. Their mission is “Educating, innovating, and inspiring people to harness their potential for the betterment of the community.”

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