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Licence and examinations
Where do you start the process of obtaining a licence? Below you will find all the steps you need to follow to apply for a licence from the Régie du bâtiment du Québec (RBQ).
Click on any of the steps below to scroll down to the information you want.
In Québec, anyone who carries out construction work, or has construction work carried out, must hold a licence, unless they are exempted from doing so.
To determine whether you require a licence, consult the Guide to determining the type of licence required [Fr]. To see what exemptions may apply, go to Work and situations not requiring a licence. If you are in doubt, contact us.
Contractors specializing in electrical work (subclass 16) must contact the Corporation des maîtres électriciens du Québec, which is responsible for evaluating its members' qualifications for obtaining a licence.
Contractors specializing in plumbing, heating, oil burners or natural gas burners (subclasses 15.1, 15.2, 15.3, 15.4 and 15.5) must contact the Corporation des maîtres mécaniciens en tuyauterie du Québec, which is responsible for evaluating its members' qualifications for obtaining a licence.
The competency certificate is issued to construction workers. Competency certificates are mandatory for workers who carry out, generally on behalf of an employer, work that falls within the occupations regulated by the Commission de la construction du Québec. Emploi-Québec also issues competency certificates for occupations that are considered "outside of construction".
The Régie du bâtiment du Québec licence is issued to persons who manage a construction company. It concerns the company's right to carry out construction work or have construction work carried out, and thus manage it.
You must specify your company's legal form of organization (natural person, legal person, or partnership). Contact the Registraire des entreprises du Québec to determine which form is best suited to your situation. A lawyer, notary or accountant can also help you determine the legal form of organization that is best suited to your needs and objectives.
Under certain provisions of Act R-20, administered by the Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ), a particular legal form may also subject the company to certain obligations or restrictions. It is therefore recommended that you also contact the CCQ before making this decision.
Register your company with the Registraire des entreprises du Québec (REQ). Doing so will provide you with a Québec enterprise number. Note that if you are a natural person doing business alone (sole proprietorship) and exclusively under your own name, you are not required to register with the REQ.
Your licence must indicate the subclass(es) corresponding to the work you plan to carry out. For help determining the appropriate subclass(es), see:
The criminal history of a construction company's officers and lenders is taken into account in the analysis of a licence application, and may result in a refusal.
If one of the company's shareholders is a legal person or a partnership, you must provide the RBQ with a list of its officers and declare whether or not the legal person or partnership, or any its officers, have been convicted in the five years preceding the licence application of an offence under a fiscal law or a criminal act.
You will also need to provide the RBQ with a list of your lenders. You must include a declaration completed by each lender identifying its officers and indicating whether or not it, or any of its officers, have been convicted in the five years preceding the date of the loan of an offence under a fiscal law or a criminal act.
Contractors must comply with a number of obligations, one of which is to have licence security or to be accredited under the Guarantee Plan for New Residential Buildings. Licence security or Guarantee Plan? See the table below to determine which one applies to you.
|Subclasses held by the contractor||Type of financial guarantee to offer|
|Subclass 1.1.1 or 1.1.2 exclusively||The Guarantee Plan for New Residential Buildings|
|Subclass 1.1.1 or 1.1.2 and other subclasses||Licence security and Guarantee Plan for New Residential Buildings|
|Subclasses other than 1.1.1 and 1.1.2||Licence security|
For general contractors (Schedule I subclasses), the required licence security is $40,000, and for specialized contractors (Schedules II and III subclasses), the amount is $20,000.
The RBQ requires this security, but does not issue it. Licence security is provided by a number of insurance companies, associations, credit unions and banking institutions. Go to Licence security to see which types of security are acceptable.
As indicated in the table above, contractors who hold a general contractor's subclass for new residential buildings (subclasses 1.1.1 and 1.1.2) must be accredited under the mandatory plan and obtain a certificate of accreditation from the authorized plan manager, La Garantie de construction résidentielle (GCR). For more information on the Guarantee Plan, visit the GCR website [FR].
Unlike licence security, the certificate of accreditation under the Guarantee Plan does not need to be presented with your licence application. After you submit your application, you will receive a notice informing you of the deadline for providing proof of accreditation under a guarantee plan.
The RBQ must evaluate the professional competency of your construction company in one or more of the following fields of qualification: administration, construction site safety management, project and site management, and the carrying out of construction work.
Individuals within your company must act as guarantors and undergo an evaluation of their professional competency. If you are a natural person doing business alone (sole proprietorship), you will need to undergo all the necessary evaluations.
A person may serve as guarantor in one or several fields of qualification. An individual may also serve as guarantor before the RBQ for more than one company. .
The RBQ offers three methods of evaluating professional competency:
In this case, you may obtain an equivalence by presenting a professional file.
If the guarantor already has experience as a guarantor in the requested field of qualification and, in the case of the Carrying out of Construction Work field, in the requested subclass, they will not be required to undergo one of the three evaluation methods.
Companies located in provinces that have signed interprovincial agreements with Québec may be exempt from the normal evaluation process. Go to Interprovincial agreements to see what conditions apply.
Complete the appropriate form for your company and forward it to the RBQ, along with all the required documents and the necessary fees. Go to Fee structure and fines to see the fees required for licence applications and qualification examinations.
Go to Licence application forms to find the form you need.
You may pay an additional fee to have your application processed on a priority basis.
You are eligible for priority processing if you meet the following two conditions:
You are not eligible for priority processing in either of the following situations:
See Fee structure and fines to find out the additional fees required for priority processing of a licence application.
We currently receive a large amount of licence applications. Therefore, analyzing and processing them will take more time. Rest assured that we will process your application as soon as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
The processing of an application involves several steps, including the verification that the information provided is accurate. An examination notice may then be issued, or the application may be transferred for analysis of the applicant's recognized training or professional file.
The RBQ will process it within 60 days of when it is received. The 60-day processing time does not include:
A written notification will be mailed to guarantors at their home address informing them of the date and time of the required examination(s) and the address of the regional RBQ office where the examination(s) will be held.
A written notice will be sent to you within 15 days of when your application is received to ask you for the missing information or documents.
Note: Processing times are different for companies that meet the requirements of an interprovincial agreement.
Once all your documents are in order and either you or your guarantors have established your professional competency (which can be accomplished by writing examinations, having previous experience as a guarantor, completing a recognized training program or presenting a professional file), you will be issued a licence!
Note that all is not lost if you fail at an examination. See What happens if you fail?
If you disagree with a decision rendered by the RBQ concerning the issuance of your licence, you may submit an application for review of a ruling.
Congratulations! You may now legally operate your business.
As a licence holder, you have certain obligations you must meet. One of these obligations is to maintain your licence each year, by paying the necessary fees and charges by the yearly due date indicated on your contractor's licence.
The RBQ will send you a first notice concerning the maintenance of your licence 60 days before it expires and a final maintenance notice 15 days before your licence expires. If you do not pay your yearly maintenance fees and charges, your licence will be cancelled.
Go to Meeting your obligations to learn more about your obligations.
As a licence holder, you will have to contact several organizations, including the following:
If you plan to hire workers, salaried or otherwise, you will also need to contact these organizations: