Thousands of construction workers in Quebec welcome their holidays like a breath of fresh air, especially after the last hot week and the increase in activity on construction sites.
"It's really the heat that makes us look forward to going on vacation, we've had a crazy week," says carpenter Olivier Bélair, who we met on a construction site in Montreal.
As of noon today, nearly 150,000 employees and 20,000 employers in the construction industry across Quebec will go on leave for two weeks.
More than $553 million has been paid out in vacation checks to workers.
The Journal went to a residential site of the Malo group yesterday, in the Ahuntsic district, to meet workers there, visibly feverish at the dawn of the long leave.
“Summer vacation is a long wait. Our last holidays go back to the beginning of January; personally, I can't wait,” says carpenter François Champoux.
This break is even more deserved this year, when activity on construction sites resumed with a 21% increase in hours worked compared to 2020.
Stay in the country
Like many of his colleagues, Mr. Champoux plans to travel domestically with his family.
“We're going to get high in Ontario bungee jumping, ziplining and rafting. We're also going to do some camping with the trailer, it wasn't too expensive,” he explains.
Despite the lifting of health restrictions, no worker met yesterday had the intention of spending their holidays outside of Canada.
"At the moment, tourist destinations are not tempting to break everything with heat records, we are better off staying here," believes Marc-Olivier Moulin.
On the other hand, Alexandre Perreault intends to stay at home.
"I'm going to take this opportunity to rest with my family." Sometimes with work you don't have much time and life goes by quickly," he said.
According to a CAA Quebec survey, 65% of Quebecers plan to vacation in the province, while 5% plan to travel to Ontario.
To hell with the expense
For many, the break will pass very quickly. But unlike previous years, few workers tried to prolong the fun.
“With the lack of manpower, it is difficult to ask for a third week of vacation in the summer. Two weeks, you blink, and it's over,” testifies Mr. Champoux.
And even though inflation hit 8.1% in June, that won't hold back workers who want to travel and spend to take advantage of the holiday.
"Time can't be won back," Mr. Bélair simply blurts out, not paying too much attention to the bill.