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Licence and examinations

All the steps for obtaining a licence

Determine whether you actually require a licence

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.

Electrical, plumbing, heating, and oil or natural gas burners

Contractors specializing in electrical work (subclass 16) must contact the Corporation des maîtres électriciens du QuébecThis link open an external website of the Régie du bâtiment du Québec in a new window., 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 QuébecThis link open an external website of the Régie du bâtiment du Québec in a new window., which is responsible for evaluating its members' qualifications for obtaining a licence.

A competency certificate is not the same thing as 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 QuébecThis link open an external website of the Régie du bâtiment du Québec in a new window.. 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.

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Select your company's legal form of organization

You must specify your company's legal form of organization (natural person, legal person, or partnership). Contact the Registraire des entreprises du Québec This link leaves the Régie du bâtiment du Québec’s Website.This link open an external website of the Régie du bâtiment du Québec in a new window. 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.

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Register your company

Register your company with the Registraire des entreprises du Québec (REQ)This link open an external website of the Régie du bâtiment du Québec in a new window.. 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.

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Determine which licence subclasses you need

Your licence must indicate the subclass(es) corresponding to the work you plan to carry out. For help determining the appropriate subclass(es), see:

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Check the criminal history of your officers and lenders

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.

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Offering financial guarantees

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.

Type of financial guarantee to offer depending on the subclasses held by the contractor
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

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.

General contractors for new residential buildings: certificate of accreditation

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.

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Get qualified!

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:

  • Taking the RBQ examinations. Go to Examinations to see how many examinations you will need to write, and to find the information you need to help you prepare properly.
  • Successfully completing a training program recognized by the RBQ. In this case, you must provide your certificates of successful completion of the recognized training programs along with your licence application.
  • Acquiring sufficient education and professional experience in the following fields of qualification:
    • Administration
    • Construction site safety management
    • Project and site management
    • Carrying out of construction work

    In this case, you may obtain an equivalence by presenting a professional file.

Experience as a guarantor

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 Ontario, New Brunswick or Newfoundland and Labrador

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.

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Complete and submit your application form

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.

Requesting priority processing

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 have the required qualifications for the fields or subclasses for which you are applying, either from acquired experience as a guarantor within the past five years, or from the successful completion of a training program recognized by the RBQ
  • your licence application is complete and includes the duly completed application form, the full payment amount, the licence security, etc.

You are not eligible for priority processing in either of the following situations:

  • Your competency needs to be assessed, either through examinations or the presentation of a professional file.
  • Your application is covered by an interprovincial agreement.

Additional fees

See Fee structure and fines to find out the additional fees required for priority processing of a licence application.

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Delay in the processing of licence applications

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.

How your application is processed by the RBQ

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.

If your application is complete and meets all the requirements

The RBQ will process it within 60 days of when it is received. The 60-day processing time does not include:

  • any period of time during which the RBQ is waiting for you to provide information or documents, or
  • The time between when an examination notice is issued and when you write the last examination.

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.

If your application is eligible, but incomplete or does not meet all the requirements

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. Failure to receive the information and documents before the deadline allows the RBQ to keep the processing fees of your application. However, you will be reimbursed for the fees you paid to get a licence. At this point, you will have to fill a new application to obtain a licence and pay the processing fees again.

Note: Processing times are different for companies that meet the requirements of an interprovincial agreement.

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Get the results of your competency evaluation

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.

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Comply with the requirements!

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.

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Plan for taxes, dues and other fees

As a licence holder, you will have to contact several organizations, including the following:

  • Canada Revenue Agency, for federal income tax
  • your local school board, for the payment of school tax, if your business owns at least one building
  • your municipality, for the payment of municipal taxes and construction permits
  • Office de la protection du consommateur, for door-to-door sales permits, if applicable
  • Revenu Québec, to remit Québec sales tax, GST and provincial income tax
  • Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec, for licensing of any vehicles your business owns

If you plan to hire workers, salaried or otherwise, you will also need to contact these organizations:

  • Commission de la construction du Québec: Particular rules apply to labour management in the construction industry, including with regard to hiring workers and complying with collective agreements.
  • Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail: There are requirements with respect to accident prevention and safety standards on construction sites

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