s-1 - Minimum Wage Act

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Replaced on 16 April 1980
This document has official status.
chapter S-1
Minimum Wage Act
Chapter S-1 is replaced by the Act respecting labour standards (chapter N-1.1). (1979, c. 45, s. 148).
1979, c. 45, s. 148.
1. In this act and in its application, unless the context requires otherwise, the following words and expressions have the meaning hereinafter given to them:
(a)  agricultural exploitation means: a farm developed by the farmer himself or through employees;
(b)  association includes: a professional syndicate, a union or federation of syndicates, a group of employees or employers, bonafide, having as object the study, defence and development of the economic, social and moral interests of its members, with respect for law and authority;
(c)  Commission means: the Commission du salaire minimum hereinafter created;
(d)  employer includes: any individual, partnership, firm or corporation who or which has work done by an employee;
(e)  professional employer means: an employer who habitually has one or more employees in his employ for any kind of work which is the object of an ordinance;
(f)  Minister means: the Minister of Labour and Manpower of Québec;
(g)  ordinance means an ordinance of the Commission;
(h)  wage means the remuneration in currency and the compensation or benefit of a pecuniary value due for the labour or services of an employee;
(i)  employee means any person, workman, functionary, clerk or employee whatever, entitled to a wage for work done for an employer;
(j)  construction includes demolition.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 1; 1968, c. 43, s. 17; 1977, c. 5, s. 14.
2. This act shall apply to every employee working in Québec whether at his employer’s, at home, or elsewhere, except:
(a)  Employees working at an agricultural exploitation;
(b)  Household servants;
(c)  Employees governed by a decree rendered under the Act respecting collective agreement decrees (chapter D-2), except for the purposes of ensuring the application in their regard of an ordinance respecting maternity leaves passed under section 15.
It applies also
(a)  to employees doing work, within and without Québec at the same time, for an employer whose residence, domicile, enterprise or office is in Québec; and
(b)  to employees of such employer who are domiciled or who reside in Québec and who do work outside Québec, provided that, by the law of the place of their work, they are not entitled to a minimum wage.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 2; 1979, c. 3, s. 1.
3. A corporation, of at least five members, with the powers, rights and privileges of an ordinary civil corporation, is created under the name of: Commission du salaire minimum. It shall be both a body collaborating with employer and employees in the establishing of minimum wages, and an arbitration council as to disputes between employers and employees, as well as a supervising and controlling body as to working conditions generally.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 3; 1977, c. 5, s. 14.
4. The Gouvernement shall appoint the president, the vice-president and the other members of the Commission and fix their salaries.
However, the salaries of the president, the vice-president and the other members of the corporation shall in no case be less than those being paid for the exercise of each of such offices respectively on the fifteenth of December, 1958.
The Commission shall retain its corporate existence notwithstanding any vacancy or deficiency as to its members.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 4; 1966-67, c. 17, s. 7.
5. The Commission shall have its corporate seat in the city of Sainte-Foy or at any other place, in the neighbourhood, that the Gouvernement may be pleased to fix. The Commission may, with the Minister’s authorization, establish offices in other cities or towns. It shall hold its sittings at the places chosen by him. The president shall preside over its sittings. The majority of the members shall constitute the quorum.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 5; 1968, c. 47, s. 1.
6. The decisions of the Commission shall be taken by the majority of votes cast. In the event of a tie the president shall have a casting vote. The vice-president shall exercise the powers of the president, in the absence or inability to act of the latter. A decision in writing, signed by all the members of the Commission, shall have the same value as a resolution adopted at a regular sitting.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 6.
7. The minutes of the sittings, approved by the Commission, shall be authentic; copies or extracts therefrom, certified by a member of the Commission, by the secretary or by an assistant-secretary, shall likewise be authentic.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 7.
8. The secretary and the other functionaries and employees of the Commission shall be appointed in accordance with the Civil Service Act.
1966-67, c. 17, s. 8; 1978, c. 15, s. 140.
9. The Commission may make regulations:
(a)  To regulate the exercise of its powers, its internal management and the duties of its staff;
(b)  To define the mode of convening and the conducting of its sittings, committees and conferences, the procedure at its investigations and the form of reports which must be made to it;
(c)  To render it compulsory for any professional employer to have a registration system of all labour governed by it or to keep a register in which are stated the name in full and residence of each employee in his employ, his competency, the precise hour at which the work was begun, interrupted, resumed and finished each day, the nature of and the wage paid for such work, mentioning the mode and time of payment and any other information deemed useful in the application of an ordinance;
(d)  To compel any category of professional employers to transmit a monthly report in writing giving the full name and address of each employee in his employ, his competency, the duration and nature of the regular and overtime work done each week and the wage paid;
(e)  To levy upon the professional employers contemplated by an ordinance a sum not exceeding one per cent of the wages paid to their employees and to fix the maximum wage which shall be subject to the levy, as well as the minimum of wages paid annually by the employer of a given category in order that he be subject to the levy;
(f)  To compel every professional employer to post up and keep posted up in a conspicuous place of the establishment accessible to employees, all ordinances, regulations or documents which the Commission may transmit for such purpose;
(g)  To compel every employer, unless expressly exempted therefrom by the Commission, to deliver to the employee his wage in a sealed envelope on which shall be written: his surname and Christian names, the date of the week and working period, the number of hours paid for, the wage rate per hour, the category or class to which the employee belongs, and the amount contained in the envelope; this envelope shall be initialed by the person who made up the pay.
The regulations contemplated in paragraphs a and b shall come into force upon the approval of the Gouvernement, and those contemplated in paragraphs c, d, e, f and g, upon their publication in the Gazette officielle du Québec after such approval.
Municipal corporations, school corporations, the Conseil scolaire de l’île de Montréal, agencies of the Crown, fabriques, corporations of trustees for the erection of churches, hospital centres, charitable institutions, religious institutions, educational institutions and parity committees are not subject to the levy provided for in paragraph e of this section.
The employer of an employee contemplated in subparagraph c of the first paragraph of section 2 is not subject to the obligations provided for in subparagraphs c, d, e and g.
In the absence of provision regulating any detail or particular case subject to the regulating authority of the Commission, the latter may provide therefor, by resolution, with the same effect.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 8; 1971, c. 48, s. 161; 1972, c. 60, s. 30; 1977, c. 5, s. 14; 1979, c. 3, s. 2.
10. The Commission may make any investigation deemed useful by it for the preparing or observance of its ordinances and its other decisions and may summon to appear before it or before one of its functionaries, any person whom it believes to be in a position to furnish it with information, orally or by the production of books or documents.
Any of the Commission’s inspectors may, as of right and at any time, examine the registration system, the compulsory register and the pay-list of any employer contemplated by an ordinance, verify as regards any employer and any employee the rate of wage, duration of work and observance of the other provisions of any ordinance applicable, require, even at the place of work, under oath and privately, from any employer or any employee, subject to an ordinance, all information deemed necessary, and, such information having been put into writing, exact the signature of the person concerned.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 9.
11. The Commission may, out of its funds, with the authorization of the Gouvernement and upon recommendation of the Minister, acquire immoveables and lands and erect buildings thereon for the purposes of its administration and services.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 10.
12. (1)  The Gouvernement may authorize the Minister of Finance to pay or advance to the Commission the sums needed for the payment of the remuneration of its members and functionaries, of the wages of its employees and of the other expenses necessary for the carrying out of this act. The Commission must, in order to reimburse such sums, remit to the Minister of Finance the sums levied by it from the professional employers.
(2)  Every six months and, in addition, whenever thereunto required by the Minister, the Commission must transmit to him a detailed report, certified by an accountant of the Ministère des finances, of its operations, of its expenses and of all sums received or collected from any source whatsoever and of the employment thereof.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 11; 1977, c. 5, s. 14.
13. The Commission may lend its services as conciliator to any association which applies for same in the negotiating of a collective labour agreement.
It shall place at the disposal of the Service de conciliation of the Ministère du travail et de la main-d’oeuvre its employees whose services are required by the Minister.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 12; 1968, c. 43, s. 17; 1977, c. 5, s. 14.
14. (1)  The Commission may, by ordinance, determine, for stated periods of time and for designated territories, the rate of minimum wage payable to any category of employees indicated by it, the terms of payment, working hours, conditions of apprenticeship, the proportion between the number of skilled workmen and that of apprentices in any stated undertaking, the classification of the operations and the other working conditions deemed in conformity with the spirit of the act.
(2)  The rate of minimum wage may be established on a basis of remuneration by the hour, day, week, month or year, or by the job, for piece work, on commission or on any other remuneration basis; it may also be established on several of these bases combined.
It may be increased for overtime and for work performed on certain days, periods or hours determined by the ordinance.
Such minimum rate may vary, according to the region and the kind of work, and the Commission must, in determining same, take into consideration competition from outside countries or from the other provinces and the economic conditions peculiar to the various regions of Québec.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 13.
15. The Commission may also by ordinance, upon the conditions, for the categories of employers and employees, for the places and for the period of time it shall determine, decide
(a)  the rate of increase for wages to be paid for overtime to an employee engaged and paid by the hour and not subject to a collective agreement;
(b)  the vacations with pay to be given by an employer to employees;
(c)  maternity leaves, and the related compensation, where that applies.
Vacations with pay and maternity leaves granted by an ordinance according to the duration of the employee’s services are calculated according to the period during which the employee has been employed at the same enterprise, without regard to the changes of ownership of such enterprise.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 14; 1978, c. 53, s. 1.
16. (Repealed).
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 15; 1978, c. 7, s. 89.
17. Unless, in the Commission’s opinion, special circumstances justify a more expeditious procedure, the Commission may, for the establishing of a minimum wage ordinance, convene a joint conference consisting of a member of the Commission chosen by the latter, who shall be chairman exofficio, and of representatives of the employers, of the employees and of the public, selected in equal number for each group by the employers, the employees and the Commission.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 16.
18. If the establishing of any particular ordinance be concerned, the Commission may convene a conciliation board presided over by a delegate of the Commission and consisting of representatives, of the employers and of the employees concerned, selected in equal number for each group.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 17.
19. Such conference or board, as the case may be, after hearing the interested parties, shall formulate its conclusions as to wages and the other working conditions to be determined; such decisions shall be submitted to the Commission which may approve, amend or reject them.
If the employers or the employees fail to name their representatives, the Commission shall name them of its own accord.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 18.
20. The ordinances shall be submitted for the approval of the Gouvernement, who may amend or cancel same.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 19.
21. The Commission may, whenever it deems it expedient, before submitting an ordinance for the approval of the Gouvernement, cause it to be published in the Gazette officielle du Québec, with a notice that it will receive objections within the delay fixed by it.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 20.
22. An ordinance can only be amended by a new ordinance. However, the Commission may, by resolution, order the total or partial suspension thereof for a period not exceeding six months.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 21.
23. The ordinances, and the resolutions entailing suspension, shall come into force on the twenty-eighth day after the publication thereof in the Gazette officielle du Québec, or at the date fixed in the publication but not prior to such publication.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 22.
24. The provisions of an ordinance entail a matter of public order and shall govern and rule any work of the same nature or kind as that contemplated by the ordinance, in the jurisdiction determined by it.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 23.
25. Whatever be the employer’s occupation, he is forbidden to conclude with the employee an agreement the object of which is to stipulate a wage different from that fixed by the ordinance. Notwithstanding any such stipulation and without it being necessary to demand the nullity thereof, the employee is entitled to recover the wage fixed by the ordinance.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 24.
26. Unless expressly forbidden by the ordinance, the clauses of a lease and hire of work shall be valid and lawful, notwithstanding the provisions of the above sections 24 and 25, in so far as they provide, in favour of the employee, a higher monetary remuneration in currency or more extended compensation or benefits than those fixed by the ordinance.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 25.
27. Every professional employer contracting with a sub-entrepreneur or a sub-contractor, directly or through an intermediary, shall be jointly and severally responsible with such sub-entrepreneur or sub-contractor and any intermediary, for the payment of the wage fixed by the ordinance and for levies due to the Commission.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 26.
28. The Commission may, in its corporate name:
(a)  Exercise all recourses arising out of the ordinance in favour of employees who have not caused a suit to be served within a period of fifteen days from the due date, and may do so, notwithstanding any law to the contrary, any opposition, or any express or implied renunciation by the employee, and without being obliged to establish an assignment of claim by the interested party, to put him in default, to inform him of the suit, or to allege and prove the absence of suit within such delay of fifteen days;
(b)  On the same conditions, continue suit in the place and stead of any employee who, having caused such a suit to be served, has neglected to proceed for fifteen days;
(c)  Effect any settlement, compromise or transaction deemed expedient in the cases contemplated in the two foregoing paragraphs.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 27.
29. Every settlement of account between employer and employee entailing a wage reduction shall be null unless it be approved by the Commission.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 28.
30. Any sale or cession of any interest, share or bond to an employee in an industry or a business carried on by his employer is prohibited unless it be authorized by the Commission upon such conditions as the latter may determine.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 29.
31. Except in the case provided for in the last paragraph of the present section, any civil action arising out of an ordinance or out of this act is prescribed by six months, from the due date in each case. In the case of a false entry in the compulsory register, the system of registration or the pay-list, or of secret rebate, or of any other fraud, prescription shall run as against the Commission’s recourse, only from the date when the Commission was aware of the fraud.
This prescription shall run only as from the first of May following the date of the work done in the case of employees engaged in forest operations.
A claim transmitted by the Commission to an employer, by registered or certified letter, shall suspend the prescription for the amount of salary claimed, and in this case the action is again prescribed by six months from the date of the mailing of such letter; no subsequent letter addressed for the same claim shall have the effect of suspending the prescription.
Any action for the recovery of a levy provided for by paragraph e of section 9 is prescribed by five years computed from its maturity.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 30; 1975, c. 83, s. 84.
32. The Commission shall be charged with supervising and seeing to the carrying out of its ordinances and decisions.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 31.
33. The employer and his agent are prohibited from dismissing, suspending or transferring an employee
(a)  because this employee has exercised a right arising from this act, a regulation of the Commission or an order;
(b)  because this employee has furnished the Commission or a representative of the Commission with information regarding the application of this act, a regulation of the Commission or an order, or has testified at proceedings related thereto; or
(c)  in order to evade the application of this act, a regulation of the Commission or an order.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 32; 1978, c. 53, s. 2.
33.1. Every contravention of section 33 gives an employee the same entitlement to vindicate his rights before a labour commissioner appointed under the Labour Code as in th case of dismissal for union activities. Sections 15 to 20, 118 to 141 and 146.1, and Chapter X of the Labour Code then apply, mutatismutandis.
1978, c. 53, s. 2.
34. (1)  Every professional employer who does not keep the compulsory registration system, register or pay-list, every employer or employee who refuses or neglects to furnish the Commission’s representatives with the information contemplated in section 10, in the manner therein prescribed, or does not grant them on request, or delays to grant them, access to the place where the work is being done, to the register, to the system of registration or to the pay-list or other documents, as provided in said section, or molests or hinders or insults the said representatives in the performance of their duties, or otherwise obstructs such performance,—commits an unlawful act and shall be liable to a fine of twenty-five dollars and costs for the first offence, and to a fine of not less than twenty-five dollars but not exceeding one hundred dollars and costs, for the second offence, and, for any subsequent offence, to the penalties provided in section 35 for a first offence.
(2)  Every professional employer who does not grant to his employee, within the delay provided by an ordinance, the vacation with pay provided by this ordinance, commits an offence and is liable, in addition to the costs, to a fine equal to double the remuneration which he should have paid to such employee for his vacation. Such fine shall be paid to the Commission which is authorized to remit the one-half thereof to the employee who has been deprived of vacation with pay.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 33.
35. Whosoever, knowingly, destroys, alters or falsifies any register, pay-list, registration system or any document dealing with the carrying out of an ordinance, or knowingly forwards any false or inexact information or report to the Commission, or gives a false designation to the attribution of any wage in order to pay a lower wage, commits an unlawful act and shall be liable to a fine of not less than two hundred dollars but not exceeding five hundred dollars and costs for the first offence, and to a fine of not less than five hundred dollars but not exceeding one thousand dollars and costs, for any subsequent offence.
In default of immediate payment of the above-mentioned fine and costs, such person shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than one month but not exceeding three months for the first offence, and for a term of three months for any subsequent offence.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 34.
36. Whosoever, by means of benefits having a pecuniary value, grants or accepts any rebate reducing the minimum wage or participates in such a rebate, commits an unlawful act and shall be liable to a fine of not less than ten dollars but not exceeding one hundred dollars and costs for the first offence, and to a fine of not less than fifty dollars but not exceeding two hundred dollars and costs, for any subsequent offence.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 35.
37. Whosoever infringes an ordinance, a regulation rendered obligatory or a provision of this act, in cases not provided for in the preceding sections, commits an unlawful act and shall be liable to a fine not exceeding ten dollars and costs.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 36.
38. Whosoever attempts to commit any of the illegal acts above provided, or aids or invites any person to commit or attempt to commit such an act, shall be liable to the penalty provided for such act.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 37.
39. (Repealed).
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 38; 1978, c. 53, s. 3.
40. In any civil or penal action brought in virtue of this act, all ordinances and all regulations and notices are authentic and shall be proof of their contents if they have been published in the Gazette officielle du Québec to which it shall be sufficient to refer, and whereof the court, of its own accord, shall be obliged to take cognizance.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 39.
41. No evidence shall be permitted with a view to establish that any action or suit contemplated by this act was brought following upon the complaint of an informer or to discover the identity of the latter.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 40.
42. Every suit taken in virtue of this act before the civil courts shall be a matter which must be heard and decided by preference.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 41; 1965 (1st sess.), c. 80, a. 1.
43. The recourses of several employees against the same employer may be cumulated in a single demand whether emanating from the employees or from the Commission, and the total claimed shall determine the competency of the court of original jurisdiction as well as of appeal.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 42.
44. After receiving a claim from the Commission, the employer cannot validly pay the sums which are the object of such claim save by handing them over to the Commission. This provision shall not apply in the case of an action instituted by the employee himself.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 43.
45. The Commission shall remit to the employees the net amount realized in exercising their recourses.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 44.
46. The Commission may, if need be, join to its suit a demand for the cancellation of any contract or arrangement, intended to infringe or evade the provisions of this act or of an ordinance, effected between the employees whose recourses it is exercising and the employer or third persons, and this, before the court having jurisdiction by reason of the amount claimed by the Commission and without being obliged to bring the employees into the suit.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 45.
47. Where an employee produced as a witness by the Commission is examined, the questions may be leading if such employee is in the employ of the opposite party.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 46; 1965 (1st sess.), c. 80, a. 1.
48. Every penal action must be brought by the Commission.
The penalties provided by this act shall be imposed on summary prosecution, in accordance with the Summary Convictions Act (chapter P-15).
Part II of the said act shall apply to such proceedings when on account of the infraction the offender may be condemned to a fine of two hundred dollars or more.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 47.
49. Every penal action must, under pain of forfeiture, be brought within six months from the date of the offence.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 48.
50. The Minister of Labour and Manpower shall have charge of the carrying out of this act.
R. S. 1964, c. 144, s. 49; 1968, c. 43, s. 17.