Red Seal Program

The Red Seal Program, formally known as the Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program, is a program that sets common standards to assess the skills of tradespeople across Canada. Industry is heavily involved in developing the national standard for each trade. It is a partnership between the federal government and provinces and territories, which are responsible for apprenticeship training and trade certification in their jurisdictions.

Tradespersons who have successfully passed the Red Seal examination receive a Red Seal endorsement on their provincial/territorial trade certificate. The Red Seal, when affixed to a provincial or territorial trade certificate, indicates that a tradesperson has demonstrated the knowledge required for the national standard in that trade. The Red Seal endorsement promotes excellence to employers, instills pride in skilled workers, and facilitates labour mobility. Certification and Red Seal endorsement of a tradesperson can be confirmed with the provincial or territorial apprenticeship authority that issued the Red Seal.

The Red Seal Program was created following the first National Conference on Apprenticeship in Trades and Industries, which was held in Ottawa in 1952. Participants recommended that the provinces and territories ask the federal government to work with their apprenticeship committees and officials to prepare standards for the skilled trades.

Who Administers the Program?

Provinces and territories are responsible for apprenticeship training and trade certification in their respective jurisdictions, including the administration of the Red Seal Program in their jurisdictions (for example, Red Seal examinations). Most provinces and territories use the Red Seal examination as the final certification exam in designated Red Seal trades. The Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship (CCDA) is responsible for the Red Seal Program. All provinces and territories and the federal government participate as members of the CCDA.

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) sponsors a Red Seal Secretariat to provide strategic and secretariat support to the CCDA and the Red Seal program.

For a list of current Red Seal trades click here.

Red Seal Endorsement (RSE) Acronym

In 2015, the Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship (CCDA) announced the official recognition of the “RSE” acronym (Red Seal Endorsement) for qualified skilled journeypersons.

The CCDA believes that an officially recognized acronym for skilled trades professionals provides qualified individuals with a way to easily reflect that they have passed the Red Seal examination for their trade, while at the same time promoting the Red Seal Program. The RSE acronym is used by journeypersons who have obtained a Red Seal endorsement on their provincial or territorial trade certificate. Anyone holding a valid Red Seal endorsement may use RSE on their business cards and signatures (e.g. John or Jane Doe, RSE).

The Red Seal Endorsement acronym should only be used by journeypersons who have obtained a Red Seal endorsement on their provincial or territorial trade certificate by successfully completing a Red Seal examination. Any individual who makes use of the RSE acronym should have a trade certificate with the Red Seal endorsement available for verification purposes. To confirm that someone has the right to use “RSE”, contact the applicable provincial or territorial apprenticeship authority.

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