Construction Electrician Red Seal Occupational Standard (RSOS)

The Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship (CCDA) recognizes this Red Seal Occupational Standard (RSOS) as the Red Seal standard for the Construction Electrician trade.

Red Seal Occupational Standard Series

Disponible en français sous le titre : électricien/électricienne (construction)

NOC: 7241

Designation Year: 1959

RSOS Products for Download

The Construction Electrician Red Seal Occupational Standard is developed by Canadian trade representatives. It collects information about the trade as it is practiced across Canada.

This RSOS information is combined in several ways to generate several RSOS Products, each these is based on information contained in the complete RSOS, and is geared to user needs:



Red Seal Occupational Standard - Construction Electrician

A complete description of all trade activities, skills and knowledge. The Standard defines the trade by collecting and organizing elements together.

Trade Profile - Construction Electrician

A quick snapshot of all trade activities in the standard. It can be used to self-assess experience. It can be used to introduce a concise summary of all trade activities to those wanting to learn about the trade. It can also be used for gap analysis.

Curriculum Outline - Construction Electrician

Organizes the Knowledge elements of the standard and provides recommendations for training levels. These are meant to assist in developing and delivering technical training curricula.

Red Seal Exam Self-Assessment Guide – Construction Electrician (PDF, 528 KB) Use this self-assessment tool to rate your own understanding and experience with the tasks of the trade that are on the Red Seal examination.

General Information

Description of the Construction Electrician Trade

“Construction Electrician” is this trade’s official Red Seal occupational title approved by the CCDA. This standard covers tasks performed by a construction electrician whose occupational title has been identified by some provinces and territories of Canada under the following names:














Construction Electrician










Electrician (Construction)





Electrician Construction and Maintenance


Construction electricians plan, design, assemble, install, alter, repair, inspect, verify, commission, connect, operate, maintain and decommission electrical systems. Electrical systems provide heating, lighting, power, alarm, security, communication and control in residential, commercial, institutional, industrial, transportation and entertainment environments. Construction electricians may be self-employed or employed by electrical contractors, utilities, and operations and maintenance departments of various facilities and municipalities.

Construction electricians must read and interpret electrical, mechanical, civil and architectural drawings and specifications such as electrical, building, fire, and jurisdictional codes to complete electrical installations. They use electrical test equipment and digital technology to ensure system safety, functionality and compatibility.

Construction electricians require good communication skills to negotiate, coordinate and facilitate work with clients, co-workers, jurisdictional authorities and other trades. Organizational skills are required to successfully plan and execute their work. They also require strong analytical and problem-solving skills in order to read and interpret diagrams, drawings and specifications. They require mechanical aptitude to install, diagnose and repair systems and components. It is beneficial for construction electricians to have good vision, the ability to distinguish colours, manual dexterity and a willingness to keep up with new developments in the trade. With changing technologies, digital and computer skills are necessary to this trade for job performance, learning methods and updating skills.

Their work may be performed indoors or outdoors, at heights, in confined spaces and in hazardous environments. They require stamina as construction electricians spend much of their time performing static and physical tasks such as climbing. Occupational risks include shocks, industrial diseases, arc flashes, falls and injury from repetitive motion, lifting and kneeling.

This standard recognizes similarities or overlaps with the work of industrial electricians, powerline technicians, instrumentation and control technicians, and refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics. Construction electricians work with a wide variety of construction tradespeople, engineers and inspectors.

Construction electricians play a crucial role as mentors and trainers to apprentices in the trade. They may also advance to positions such as foremen, instructors, project managers, superintendents, estimators, technicians, system designers, electrical inspectors or start their own contracting business. Construction electricians may enhance their skills in different fields such as restorative, service or retrofit work rather than new construction.

Essential Skills Summary

Essential skills are needed for work, learning and life. They provide the foundation for learning all other skills and enable people to evolve with their jobs and adapt to workplace change.

Through extensive research, the Government of Canada and other national and international agencies have identified and validated nine essential skills. These skills are used in nearly every occupation and throughout daily life in different ways.

A series of CCDA-endorsed tools have been developed to support apprentices in their training and to be better prepared for a career in the trades. The tools can be used independently or with the assistance of a tradesperson, trainer, employer, teacher or mentor to:

  • understand how essential skills are used in the trades;
  • learn about individual essential skills strengths and areas for improvement; and
  • improve essential skills and increase success in an apprenticeship program.

The tools are available online or for order at:

The application of these skills may be described throughout this document within the skills and knowledge which support each sub-task of the trade. The most important essential skills for each sub-task have also been identified. The following are summaries of the requirements in each of the essential skills, taken from the essential skills profile.


Construction electricians read several types of documents such as purchase order agreements and instructions for installing systems and components. They also need to read and understand the Canadian Electrical Code (CEC), which contains legal and highly technical language. They also read other tradespersons’ plans and specifications to understand the sequences of installation and locations of apparatus.

Document Use

Construction electricians apply document use skills when they read, interpret and collate information from several documents such as plans, specifications, diagrams and schematics. They reference and interpret these documents when installing, assembling, diagnosing and repairing electrical components and systems. The translation of two-dimensional and three‑dimensional drawings into three-dimensional applications also requires strong document use skills.


Writing skills are required for construction electricians to record information about their daily work, including hours worked, job locations and details of conversations about the job. They may also be required to record details on an incident or an accident report. They also make notations on as-built drawings to indicate changes from the original drawings, accurately describing the current installation. Labelling and identifying electrical systems also require this skill.

Oral Communication

Strong oral communication skills are needed for construction electricians as they often need to relay messages, give directions, coordinate tasks with co-workers and discuss electrical code requirements with safety or building inspectors. They also regularly interact with supervisors, engineers, owners, architects, inspectors and other tradespersons to solve technical problems, to discuss work progress, and to ensure that work can meet scheduling and code requirements. They also exchange opinions with co-workers regarding critical safety issues related to complex installations.


Construction electricians use their numeracy skills to size and place electrical systems and components, ensuring that installations meet electrical code requirements. They take measurements and perform complex calculations using principles of mathematics such as geometry and trigonometry. Construction electricians also use numeracy skills to design or modify electrical installations.

Thinking Skills

Construction electricians use thinking skills when they plan their work in order to ensure efficient use of time and resources. These skills also entail resolving issues such as system routing, and equipment placement and interconnection taking into account client specifications and code requirements. Additionally, these skills are called upon when consulting with other experienced tradespersons, manufacturers’ representatives or engineers to solve technical problems.

Working with Others

Construction electricians often work with co-workers, other trades, supervisors, owner representatives, architects, engineers, inspectors and suppliers. They may be required to demonstrate how to perform a task to other workers, mentor and orient or train new employees. They also participate in discussions about work processes or product improvement.

Digital Technology

Construction electricians use different types of hand-held digital devices such as oscilloscopes, multimeters and Power Quality Analyzers (PQA) to aid in diagnosing system and component failure. They also use different types of software to interface with these devices. They use their computer skills to improve the efficiency of product research, communication, record keeping, job tracking and information exchange with co-workers, other trades, supervisors, owner representatives, architects, engineers, inspectors and suppliers.

Continuous Learning

It is important for construction electricians to stay up-to-date with changing requirements of the electrical code or with changes in technology, such as computer controls. They must be adaptable to change to advance their skills and increase their knowledge. These learning skills are applied when attending classes offered through unions, employers and other groups.

Trends in the Construction Electrician Trade


There is an ongoing growth of new technologies that influence a number of areas of the industry. Some emerging technologies include solar power systems, wind power systems, smart buildings and smart grid.

There is a growth of renewable and alternative energy technologies such as solar photovoltaic, wind, hydrokinetic, geothermal, and tidal power systems in Canada which opens additional employment opportunities for qualified construction electricians. The emergence of electric vehicles (EV) in the Canadian market means there is an accompanying need for electric vehicle charging stations. Construction electricians would be responsible for installing and maintaining these electric vehicle charging stations. In some jurisdictions, construction electricians are responsible for the installation and maintenance of communication systems such as voice, data, audio, video and signalling. These systems are constantly evolving.

Construction electricians are starting to use three dimensional (3D) modelling and building information modelling (BIM) to facilitate construction methods such as interpreting and updating drawings. They are using mobile devices to receive specifications and other information and assist in diagnostic procedures.

Training and Upgrading

The combination of new opportunities for construction electricians, new technologies and specialized skills has significantly impacted the electrical industry and triggered the development and delivery of related training. For example, upgrading and training could include areas such as fiber optics, structured cabling, satellite integration, wireless and local area networks (LAN), wireless Internet Protocol (IP) based lighting and building automation, and renewable energies. More than ever, construction electricians need to constantly upgrade and acquire new skills either through formal training, manufacturers’ training or on-the-job training to stay current.

In some parts of the industry, more and more variable frequency drives (VFD) are being installed. The VFDs along with other electronic components have the potential to create power quality problems. This requires electricians to become trained in the procedures for measuring electric power quality and the methods needed to monitor and improve the power quality.

Even though it is sometimes more cost effective to replace rather than repair electronic parts, a greater knowledge of electronic systems is still required to work with more complex electrical systems such as solid-state or computer-controlled.

Safety and Environmental Considerations

Safety standards continue to be emphasized and recognized in all aspects of the trade. Safety training is branching out to include areas such as arc flash, high voltage, working at heights and supervision. Incidents of serious injury and death of electrical workers underlines the dangerous nature of the work that electricians may be engaged in and that electricians have a shared responsibility to implement safety training and follow safe work procedures. Electricians have to use their expertise on the worksite to assess risks, manage hazards and report issues as they arise. The electrical industry in Canada is moving towards efficient and environmentally friendly construction techniques and energy saving devices such as light emitting diode (LED) lighting, automated lighting control and variable speed drives. Additionally, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a growing trend for building construction.

Language Requirements

It is expected that journeypersons are able to understand and communicate in either English or French, which are Canada’s official languages. English or French are the common language of business as well as language of instruction in apprenticeship programs.


The CCDA and ESDC wish to express sincere appreciation for the contribution of the many tradespersons, industrial establishments, professional associations, labour organizations, provincial and territorial government departments and agencies, and all others who contributed to this publication.

Acknowledgement is extended by ESDC and the CCDA to the National Industry Advisory Committee for this project, coordinated by the National Electrical Trade Council (NETCO).

Special thanks are offered to the following representatives who contributed greatly to the original draft of the standard and provided expert advice throughout its development:

  • Brian Bodnaruk - Northwest Territories
  • Richard Brown - NETCO
  • Roddie Burke - Prince Edward Island
  • Andy Cleven - British Columbia & NETCO
  • Peter Friesen - Alberta
  • Curtis Goodwin - Nova Scotia
  • Pierre Liberatore - Quebec & NETCO
  • Dale MacDonald - Ontario
  • Barnaby McHarg - Nova Scotia
  • Joe Mignon - Saskatchewan
  • Benji Morehouse - New Brunswick
  • Robert Nelson - Canadian Standards Association (CSA)
  • Peter Olders - Ontario & NETCO
  • Nelson Rogers - Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Perry Samagalski - Manitoba
  • Ashley Seamans - New Brunswick
  • Darcy Tangedal - Alberta
  • Robert Thompson - Ontario
  • Monty Wood - British Columbia

This standard was prepared by the Labour Market Integration Directorate of ESDC. The coordinating, facilitating and processing of this analysis were undertaken by employees of the standards development team of the Trades and Apprenticeship Division and of Apprenticeship New Brunswick. The host jurisdiction of Nova Scotia also participated in the development of this standard.