Auto Body and Collision Technician Red Seal Occupational Standard (RSOS)

Table of Contents

The Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship (CCDA) recognizes this Red Seal Occupational Standard (RSOS) as the Red Seal standard for the Auto Body and Collision Technician trade.

RSOS Products for Download

The Auto Body and Collision Technician 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 of these is based on information contained in the complete RSOS, and is geared to user needs:

General Information

Description of the Auto Body and Collision Technician Trade

“Auto Body and Collision Technician” is this trade’s official Red Seal occupational title approved by the CCDA. Prior to October 2018, the trade name was Motor Vehicle Body Repairer (Metal and Paint). This standard covers tasks performed by auto body and collision technicians whose occupational title may vary across provinces and territories of Canada. For official provincial or territorial names, please refer to the Ellis Chart.

Auto body and collision technicians repair and restore damaged motor vehicles. They assess body damage and develop repair estimates and repair plans. Their repair work may range from correcting minor structural damage and cosmetic scratches and dents to fixing extensive structural damage to motor vehicles. Some parts may need to be removed for access or during repairs. Vehicle parts that are damaged beyond repair are replaced. The alignment and replacement of suspension and steering components is also performed in this trade. Restoring interior components of vehicles falls within the scope of the trade. Auto body and collision technicians may work with mechanical and electronic components such as air conditioning (A/C) systems, exhaust systems, drivetrain, engine cooling systems, advanced electronic components (adaptive cruise control and lane departure features), and passenger restraint systems (seat belts and air bags).

In this sector, most auto body and collision technicians work in private enterprises or are self-employed. They may be employed by body repair facilities, auto and truck dealerships, custom repair facilities, and trucking and bus companies. In larger repair facilities or dealerships, there may be a division of responsibilities among the team of repair professionals. Some may work exclusively on collision specialization such as damage repair, frame straightening, refinishing, suspension, detailing, or auto glass installation. Generally in smaller repair facilities, auto body and collision technicians tend to be responsible for a wider range of these duties. While they may work as part of the repair team, which includes other auto body and collision technicians, automotive refinishing technicians, automotive service technicians, and others in the automotive sector, journeypersons tend to work independently.

Auto body and collision technicians require proficiency with a variety of tools and equipment, some of which are technologically advanced. Diagnostic scanning equipment is used for diagnosis and programming electronic and electrical systems. Hand and power tools are used in the repair and replacement of motor vehicle parts. Welding and cutting equipment is also used. Auto body and collision technicians work with a number of materials such as metal, glass, plastic and composites. Surface repairs may require the application of repair materials. In addition, they may prepare surfaces for refinishing and apply a variety of appropriate refinishing products. They have refinishing application and detailing skills.

Working environments vary in this trade. Typically, auto body and collision technicians work indoors in an environment that may be noisy and dusty. However, many repair facilities are well ventilated to reduce health risks from dust and fumes. Health and safety are important issues as these workers are frequently in contact with chemicals (e.g. paints, solvents and fillers) and physical hazards (e.g. lifting heavy objects, frame equipment and sharp metal). Ongoing safety training and safe work practices are important.

Key attributes for people entering this trade are good communication skills, mechanical aptitude, problem solving skills, an eye for detail, computer literacy and a commitment to ongoing training. The work often requires considerable standing, kneeling, lifting, climbing, pulling and reaching.

With experience, auto body and collision technicians may move into supervisory positions, start their own business, or become auto damage appraisers. Some of the skills of this trade may be transferred to other occupations such as sheet metal worker, industrial painter, welder, automotive refinishing technician, truck and transport mechanic, recreation vehicle service technician, glazier or automotive service technician and to other sectors such as manufacturing, aviation and marine.

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.

Tools are available online or for order at:

The application of these skills may be described throughout this document within the competency statements which support each subtask of the trade. The following are summaries of the requirements in each of the essential skills, taken from the essential skills profile.

  • Reading

    Auto body and collision technicians read labels, technical service bulletins and manuals to learn about installation and repair procedures. They read estimates, work orders and memos about damages and details of customers’ requests. Auto body and collision technicians read safety-related information and a variety of Acts, bylaws and regulations. They also read trade publications to learn about new technologies, products and materials.

  • Document Use

    Auto body and collision technicians observe hazard symbols on product labels. They locate and interpret data on forms, work orders and documents to identify product identification numbers, parts and colours. Auto body and collision technicians read documents to determine product specifications such as vehicle dimensions, and interpret OEM, industry service and repair procedures. They also identify devices and circuits in schematics and technical drawings to identify connectors, switches, and the position and orientation of vehicle parts and assemblies.

  • Writing

    Auto body and collision technicians write notes and supplements on work orders and forms to describe what work was performed. They may write reports describing workplace incidents.

  • Oral Communication

    Auto body and collision technicians communicate with co-workers, vendors and customers about the scope of work and work completed. They may explain procedures to apprentices. Auto body and collision technicians may exchange technical information with co-workers and technicians when seeking advice on procedures for carrying out tasks.

  • Numeracy

    Auto body and collision technicians take a variety of measurements, and analyze and compare them to manufacturers’ specifications. They may estimate times and materials for projects.

  • Thinking

    Auto body and collision technicians use problem-solving skills to determine severity of damage prior to beginning repairs and to identify hidden damages when dismantling vehicles. They judge the quality of repairs by considering shape, length, depths of bodylines, fit of doors and parts. Auto body and collision technicians decide order and priority of tasks taking into consideration availability of equipment and priority of unfinished work.

  • Digital Technology

    Auto body and collision technicians may use mobile devices to complete numeracy-related tasks. They may use digital cameras to inspect hard to access vehicle components for damages. They use diagnostic equipment. Auto body and collision technicians may use specialized auto body service databases to access job assignments, retrieve and review past service information, and complete estimates and work orders. They may use the internet to access OEM specifications and procedures and training courses or forums to provide advice and learn how to complete repairs.

  • Working with Others

    Auto body and collision technicians spend most of their time working independently but they may be required to coordinate activities with workers from other departments to ensure vehicle availability when repairing damaged vehicles. They may also work directly with co-workers when moving vehicles and lifting large and heavy parts into place.

  • Continuous Learning

    Auto body and collision technicians are continuously learning to keep up with the changes in the industry. They attend on-site, on-line or classroom training provided by industry associations or manufacturers and suppliers.

Trends in the Auto Body and Collision Technician Trade

Removal and repair procedure information is becoming more readily available to the technician as a result of digital technology. This is critical as vehicle design, construction and materials have become more proprietary and complex and changes rapidly to adapt to new government-mandated safety and emission standards. Relevant and up-to-date documentation and training from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) ensures quality and safe repairs, in a timely manner and according to the OEM and manufacturers’ specifications.

Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) (e.g. autonomous vehicles, driver assist technologies, lane departure warning systems) are being introduced. These new systems have increased the need for auto body and collision technicians to continue to update their skills in using advanced diagnostic equipment to diagnose codes and interpret faults. Increased coordination with manufacturers and dealerships may be required due to the use of proprietary technology, including the need for proper manufacturers’ reset for electronics.

Repair facilities are streamlining their operations for easier maintenance, better production and cost efficiency. Lean practices are becoming prevalent and affecting the repair process from start to finish by eliminating waste and work duplication.

Health, safety and environmental practices have greatly improved to reduce the risk of workplace health and safety hazards and to comply with legislated environmental practices. More women and people from other equity-seeking groups are being encouraged to enter the trade.

Hybrid, electric vehicles and alternative-fuel vehicles have become, and will continue to be, more prevalent in the marketplace. OEMs have specific recommendations and may have certifications for working on these types of vehicles to prevent vehicle damage and ensure worker safety. This new technology requires auto body and collision technicians to upgrade their skills. The high voltage produced by hybrid and electric vehicles requires increased safety measures. Curing and baking procedures of those vehicles are altered for component longevity and safety.

There is an increase in the use of carbon fibre, plastic and composite type materials, largely because of weight reduction and the resulting fuel economy. Fibre-reinforced plastics and carbon fibre materials are becoming structural components because they are lighter and stronger.

The use of new vehicle construction materials such as magnesium, aluminum and advanced high-strength steels require special training and equipment to perform repairs. Specialized welding equipment and methods are continually being introduced to repair these materials. Aluminum parts and components and all equipment used to repair them must be isolated to avoid cross contamination with ferrous metals.

Auto manufacturers are producing special effect and custom paint finishes such as 3 and 4 stage paint colours, matte finishes and specialty micro flake metallic with specialized preparation and application procedures. Some OEMs are working with paint manufacturers to develop and patent proprietary finishes. New materials and processes for automotive finishing are constantly being researched, developed and introduced.

Industry Expected Performance

All tasks must be performed according to the applicable jurisdictional codes and standards. All health and safety standards must be respected and observed. Work should be done efficiently and to a high quality without material waste or environmental damage. All requirements of the manufacturer, client specifications, the Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) Acts, and Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) regulations must be met. Auto body and collision technicians should work professionally to meet OEM and industry service specifications, structural integrity and client expectations. At a journeyperson level of performance, all tasks must be done with minimal direction and supervision. As a journeyperson progresses in their career there is an expectation they continue to upgrade their skills and knowledge to maintain pace with industry and promote continuous learning in their trade through mentoring of apprentices.

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 languages of business as well as languages 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.

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:

  • Richard Brayley - New Brunswick
  • Jordan Charles - Alberta
  • Shane Desrosiers - Saskatchewan
  • Mark Deroche - British Columbia
  • Sheldon Frail - Nova Scotia
  • Adrian Gaspell - Ontario
  • Steve Hudey - Automotive Industries Association Canada
  • Hank Kamphuis - Prince Edward Island
  • Mark Klimchuk - Manitoba
  • Scott Kucharyshen - Saskatchewan
  • Mark MacEachern - Nova Scotia
  • Steven Michaud - Quebec
  • Michel Plourde - New Brunswick
  • Paulo Santos - Ontario
  • Garth Shaw - Manitoba
  • Harold Then - Alberta
  • Tate Westerman - British Columbia

This standard was prepared by the Apprenticeship and Sectoral Initiatives Directorate of ESDC. The coordinating, facilitating and processing of this standard were undertaken by employees of the standards development team of the Trades and Apprenticeship Division and of the Government of British Columbia, the host jurisdiction for this trade.