The Québec Government confirms its commitment to Kahnawà:ke Mohawk ironworkers for Honoré-Mercier Bridge works
Cabinet du ministre des Transports
The Québec Minister of Transport, François Bonnardel, the Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity, Jean Boulet, and the Minister Responsible for Indigenous Affairs, Sylvie D'Amours, confirm the commitment of the Québec Government to prioritize Mohawk workers, regardless of the contractor chosen, for the maintenance work on the provincial portion of the Honoré-Mercier bridge, as well as for its reconstruction project actually registered for planning in the 2019-2029 Québec Infrastructure Plan.
Québec is also re-confirming its recognition of Kahnawà:ke's authority, exercised by its Labor Office, to qualify Kahnawà:ke workers and contractors for these works, as stated in the Labor Agreement in force. This Agreement establishes the Kahnawà:ke Labor Regime governing construction, compensation for industrial accidents and occupational diseases, and occupational health and safety on the Territory.
This Agreement signed between the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke and the Québec Government also stipulates that every Kahnawà:ke worker has the choice to work on the Honoré-Mercier bridge as a member of a union or not. Discussions have been held with the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers to have the Honoré-Mercier bridge be considered "an open shop", where union workers will be able to work side by side with non-union workers without penalty.
The Honoré-Mercier bridge is a strategic infrastructure essential for mobility in the Montréal metropolitan area. Different interventions are required to maintain it. The Québec Government is pleased to entrust this important work to the Mohawk workers of Kahnawà:ke. Given its physical location, the bridge has been part of daily life in Kahnawà:ke since its construction 85 years ago. Its maintenance has employed numerous Kahnawà:ke workers.
The historically rich tradition of Kahnawà:ke ironworkers in the industry is recognized across North America as well as the significance of the Honoré-Mercier bridge for the Mohawk community of Kahnawà:ke. Canada has officially recognized this fact by giving priority to the use of Mohawk workers in its 1932 Order-in-Council citing: "Indian Labor to be given the preference".
The Minister responsible for Indigenous Affairs and Minister Responsible for the Laurentides Region, Sylvie D'Amours, points out that the Québec Government is committed to the economic development and vitality of aboriginal communities. In addition to helping strengthen relations between Québec and the Mohawk community of Kahnawà:ke, the cooperation announced for the bridge works will help create jobs for its members. The Minister looks forward to the benefits of this project.