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The Red Seal Program
Statistics Canada has indicated that 1.1 million people in Canada were employed in the trades industry as of 2007. Canada has seen a steady increase in the oil and gas industry which has attributed in the growth of the construction sector in the country. This has made Canada a lucrative option for those new immigrants with trades background.
However, upon arrival into Canada, skilled workers who have extensive experience in their field find themselves unable to have their experience recognized due to differences in industry standards and requirements.
The Red Seal Program is a body that sets the standards of excellence in skilled trades across the provinces. They offer training/apprenticeship programs ranging from Carpentry to Electrician and Crane Operators to name a few.
I was able to contact Red Seal, who were happy to answer a few questions about new immigrants with trades’ backgrounds.
For a new immigrant from Ireland, who practiced and was certified as an electrician, what requirements must be met before he can be considered as having the same equivalent experience/standing as an electrician in BC?
For a new immigrant from Ireland who is certified as an Electrician in his/her home country and has years of experience in the trade, he/she can challenge the InterProvincial Red Seal exam in either the Construction or Industrial Electrician trades (depending on where their experience lies). They should refer to the Challenger section on our web site. If they are approved to challenge by ITA and once they successfully write and pass their exam, they will be granted the Certificate of Qualification with a Red Seal Endorsement in either the Construction or Industrial Electrician trade (depending on what they decided to challenge). This means that they are a Certified Journeyperson in Canada.
Please can you give me more details about the 'Challenge Certification'?
There are 2 pathways to become a Certified Journeyperson; one is through the apprenticeship pathway, which entails finding an employer who is willing to sponsor you and teach you the trade, going through a few years of technical training at an ITA approved training provider, gaining work experience in the trade, writing and passing exam(s) and meeting other program requirements before becoming certified. The second option is to pursue the challenge pathway. A tradesperson (includes new immigrants) with many years of experience in a particular trade (if they are from outside Canada then they may or may not be certified in that trade in their home country) also has the option to Challenge Trade Certification (provided it is available to challenge). They would submit a challenge application and follow the process outlined on our web site. If they are approved to challenge, and successfully pass the exam, then they are issued a Certificate of Qualification (with or without the Red Seal Endorsement, depending on the trade).
For a new immigrant in BC with a trade background (e.g. electrician, auto mechanic) what would the best first step be in the process to become a qualified tradesperson approved by Red Seal?
The steps are the same whether or not they are already certified in their home country. If they have considerable work experience in their trade and as long as they are able to meet ITA’s requirements to be approved to challenge the exam; they can write the relevant exam. Not all trades are designated as Red Seal trades i.e. there are some trades for which we only issue a Certificate of Qualification since they have not been designated as a Red Seal trade in BC. When someone holds a Certificate of Qualification, their credential is only recognized in BC. Whereas, there are some trades which are designated as Red Seal trades; so if someone was to hold a Certificate of Qualification with an InterProvincial Red Seal Endorsement; then that credential is recognized across all Canadian jurisdictions. Please refer to our Trade Programs page which identifies the Red Seal trades.
Does a Red Seal certification allow a trade to be considered certified in other provinces in Canada or is it solely limited to BC?
Refer to our Trade Programs page which identifies the Red Seal trades. If someone holds a Certificate of Qualification with an InterProvincial Red Seal Endorsement; then that credential is recognized across all Canadian jurisdictions.
Red Seal does offer events and seminars that are open to the public to provide additional information to individuals interested in certain fields. For a list please visit http://www.red-seal.ca/w.2lc.4m.2@-eng.jsp
If you have a trades background and are looking at Canada for a potential career move, contact Red Seal to ensure you have the necessary documentation and credentials in order to have your experience recognized in Canada.
Photos courtesy Red Seal