Trades in Canada

The skilled trades play an important role in our economy and our society. The trades touch almost every aspect of our lives from the homes we live in, to the cars we drive, to the food we eat. Approximately 1 in 5 employed Canadians work in the skilled trades in many sectors of the Canadian economy including construction, manufacturing, service and automotive.

In Canada, skilled trades-related training and certification are the responsibility of the provinces and territories (i.e. jurisdictions).  The federal government also plays an important role, including providing a variety of supports to apprentices and employers.

The Red Seal Program was originally established to support the mobility of apprentices and skilled tradespeople across Canada. Over the years, the Red Seal has become a nationally-recognized standard for skilled trades workers in Canada.

Provincial and Territorial Designated Trades

Each jurisdiction has its own laws respecting which trades are designated for apprenticeship training and certification. There are more than 400 trades designated by provinces and territories across Canada. Not all of these designated trades are Red Seal Trades.

Red Seal Trades

Today, the Red Seal Program develops national standards and examinations, in conjunction with industry, for certain trades that are common to most jurisdictions. Trades approved for Red Seal status are called “Red Seal Trades.” The Red Seal Program and the designation of Red Seal trades is the responsibility of the Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship (CCDA).

In order for a trade to be considered for Red Seal status, it must meet certain criteria. For more information on this criteria and the process for designating a new Red Seal trade click here.

While Red Seal trades cover the majority (approximately 80%) of apprentices in Canada, a trade may not have Red Seal status in each jurisdiction.