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Considering a Trade? This is How an Apprenticeship Works!

An apprenticeship is a valuable means to receive hands-on training to complement the theoretical knowledge gained through schoolwork.  For trades such as carpentry, electrical and plumbing, completion of apprenticeship training is a requirement to obtain certification (journeyman license).

Possession of a license increases opportunities and prospects for mobility, while enabling certified tradespeople to train and supervise others in their field. The amount of time spent in an apprentice program varies by the field but typically, more time is devoted to learning on the job than in the classroom.

Agreement on Internal Trade

The Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) is an intergovernmental trade agreement that has been in place since 1995 and aims to reduce, if not eliminate, obstacles to the free movement of workers, goods and services within Canada. All provinces and territories except Nunavut (remains an observer till date) are signatories to the agreement. The agreement covers multiple sectors such as agriculture, energy, communications, transportation, investment, etc.

The Ellis Chart

Each province has its own apprentice training and licensing programs. In order to facilitate inter-provincial labor mobility to enable easier review and accreditation across provinces, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) in partnership with the Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship (CCDA) provides the Ellis Chart.

The Ellis Chart is a comparison of apprentice programs for over 300 trades across Canada and serves employers in both the public and private sectors.

Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program

The CCDA, with the aid of the Red Seal Program, enables certified workers to obtain a Red Seal endorsement on their respective provincial or territorial certificate after the successful completion of the Red Seal examination that is based on common industrial standards.

With a Red Seal, workers can move across Canada without the need for further examinations to become certified (again). The Red Seal offers the assurance to employers across Canada that the skilled worker is competent and qualified as dictated by common industrial standards.

Apprenticeship Grants

The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant (AIG) is a taxable cash grant of $1,000 per year/level, up to a maximum of $2,000 per person that is available to a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or protected person. A registered apprentice in a designated Red Seal trade may apply after the completion of the first and/or second year/level of the apprenticeship program (applications must reach Service Canada by June 30 of the relevant year).

The Apprenticeship Completion Grant (ACG) is a taxable cash grant of $2,000 that is available to registered apprentices who have completed their apprenticeship program and received their certification in a designated Red Seal trade. To be eligible for this grant, the registered applicant must be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or protected person and be able to provide proof of their successful completion of the apprentice training and subsequent certification (applications must reach Service Canada by June 30 of the year that the apprenticeship was completed and the certification was received).

Other Resources

For employees:

Tradesperson’s Tools Deduction

Apprentice Mechanic Tools Expenses

For employers:

Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit

Do you have further insight about the programs, certifications and/or grants available to tradespeople in Canada? Have you taken advantage of the labor mobility offered by the AIT? Any stories?

About the Author: Clark works in Saskatchewan and has been working to build his (DIY) investment portfolio, structured for an early retirement. He loves reading (and using the lessons learned) about personal finance, technology and minimalism. You can read his other articles here.

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About the author: Clark works in Saskatchewan and has been working to build his (DIY) investment portfolio, structured for an early retirement. He loves reading (and using the lessons learned) about personal finance, technology and minimalism. You can read his other articles here.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Norman August 7, 2013, 12:12 pm

    Thank you for this interesting post. I would like to know the difference between a journeyman (journey-person) license and Red Seal for the trade of, for example, Cook, in the province of Ontario, Are they related, i.e. one is sort of pre-requisite for another and do they carry different weight and meaning? Or are they completely un-related certifications?

  • fiscally fit August 7, 2013, 2:24 pm

    A journeyman is someone that has completed their apprenticeship (all technical training and required hours). A Red Seal journeyman is somone who has their journeyman ticket but has also taken and passed their Red Seal Exam. The Red Seal is known as in inter-provincial qualification allowing you to practice your trade all throughout Canada. You can also get a Blue Sean that indicates you have certain business proficiency in your trade. A gold seal is also possible in some trades.

    (FYI I did a trade while attending university, I got Red and Blue seal as a journeyman)

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