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Red Seal LogoThe Interprovincial Standards "Red Seal" ProgramThe Interprovincial "Red Seal" Program
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What is apprenticeship?

Apprenticeship is an agreement between a person (an apprentice) who wants to learn a skill and an employer who needs a skilled worker -- "earning while learning." Apprenticeship is a proven industry-based learning system that combines on-the-job experience with technical training to produce a certified journeyperson. Upon completion of the specified training period, apprentices receive a Certificate of Qualification. On average, 85% of the apprentice's two to five years of training is spent in the workplace; the rest is spent at a training institution.

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What is a designated trade?

Under the terms of the Canadian Constitution, each province and territory has the responsibilities for education and training which includes apprenticeship. The legislation permits each jurisdiction to designate occupations for apprenticeship.

Designated trades are governed by regulations under the Provincial and Territorial Apprenticeship Acts. These regulations outline the standards and conditions of training for specific trades (e.g. methods of registering apprentices, curriculum, accreditation, certification).

The designation of a new trade can originate outside the provincial and territorial apprenticeship authorities. Employers, employer associations or unions can petition their provincial or territorial Director of Apprenticeship to have an occupation designated.

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Who administers apprenticeship programs?

Apprenticeship programs are generally administered by provincial and territorial departments responsible for education, labour and training (under the direction of the provincial or territorial Director of Apprenticeship) with authority delegated from the legislation in each province and territory.

The program is supported by a network of advisory bodies, such as Apprenticeship and Certification Boards, Local Advisory Committees and Provincial Advisory Committees.

Industry-driven provincial and territorial apprenticeship training boards are major policy-making and governing bodies for apprenticeship training relating to recommendations of trade designation, curriculum requirements and regulatory aspects of trades and occupations.

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Is certification compulsory or voluntary?

Occupations are classified as either compulsory or voluntary. Generally, compulsory occupations require workers to be certified or registered as apprentices in order for them to practice in the occupation. Voluntary occupations often will also have certification and apprenticeship to indicate the level of competency the holder has, however, workers are not required to be registered or certified in order to practice in the occupation.

Even though many occupations deemed compulsory in some of the jurisdictions are also "Red Seal" trades, the Red Seal itself is not mandatory except where indicated as such by jurisdictions in specific legislation.

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What is the Interprovincial Standards "Red Seal" Program?

The Red Seal Program was established to provide greater mobility across Canada for skilled workers. Through the program, apprentices who have completed their training and certified journeypersons, are able to obtain a "Red Seal" endorsement on their Certificates of Qualification and Apprenticeship by successfully completing an Interprovincial Standards Examination.

The program encourages standardization of provincial and territorial apprenticeship training and certification programs. The "Red Seal" allows qualified tradespersons to practice the trade in any province or territory in Canada where the trade is designated without having to write further examinations. To date, there are forty-five trades included in the Red Seal Program on a national basis.

Legislation permits provinces and territories to designate trades and develop apprenticeship programs for their own requirements. Thus, in excess of 300 apprenticeship programs are available across Canada. The Ellis Chart, a comparative chart of apprentice training programs across Canada, is produced by HRSDC in collaboration and consultation with the provinces and territories and provides training and certification details for all of these apprenticeable programs.

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Who administers the Interprovincial Standards "Red Seal" Program and how does it work?

The program is administered in each province and territory under the guidance of the Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship (CCDA). Each province and territory has an appointed Director of Apprenticeship for this purpose.

A national occupational analysis, developed for each Red Seal trade, is used as a base document for the development of interprovincial standard examinations and is encouraged to be used by the provinces and territories for curriculum development.

Continuing efforts are underway both to expand the program and to streamline the existing process for the development and revision of national occupational analyses and examinations.

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How to obtain a Red Seal?

In certain trades, holders of provincial and territorial Certificates of Qualification can apply to write an Interprovincial Examination; if successful, they receive a distinctive "Red Seal" which is affixed to their Certificate of Qualification.

An Interprovincial Standards Red Seal can be obtained in the trades designated as Red Seal by:

1.  a) either graduating from a recognized provincial or territorial apprenticeship training program; or
b) obtaining a Journeyperson level certificate from a province or territory;
2.   passing the Interprovincial Standards Examination for that trade.

The Interprovincial Standards "Red Seal" Examinations are administered through the provincial and territorial certification and apprenticeship offices.

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Did You Know Image
A total of 376,046 Red Seals have been awarded to apprentices and journeypersons since the program began.

Last Modified Date:2004-10-26

Important Notices