How a Red Seal Certification Can Help You Get a Job in Canada

You may or may not have heard of red seal certification, but did you know that it could help you get trade jobs in Canada and immigrate to Canada without a job offer!

What is Red Seal Certification or Endorsement?

A Red Seal Endorsement (RSE) shows that your trade skills are equivalent to Canadian standards. There are over 50 different trades that qualify for Red Seal Endorsement (RSE). Having an RSE will allow you to work in any province in Canada.

So how will being red seal certified help you get a job in Canada? Let's take a look.

3 Reasons Why You Should Get Red Seal Certified

Trade people are a very important part of the Canadian economy. To make sure that the skill levels required to fill certain trade jobs in Canada are met, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) developed standards for Red Seal Trades. Meeting these standards will help you in three ways.

1. It adds credibility

Having a red seal certificate or endorsement validates your experience and knowledge in your particular trade, especially if you got your qualification outside of Canada. This not only makes you a more suitable job applicant but a more suitable candidate for immigration too as it ensures that your skills are up to Canadian standards. You will need to have completed a four-year apprenticeship to qualify to apply for a Red Seal Endorsement (RSE).

2. Open up job opportunities across Canada

Did you know that having a red seal certificate will make you eligible to work anywhere in Canada? This means that you won’t have to apply for extra journeyperson certifications in other Canadian provinces and territories. Below are some of the top skilled trade jobs in Canada and where you can find them in 2022.

Top Skilled Trade Jobs in Canada in 2022
Refrigeration and air conditioning mechanic, chef & cooks, butchersAlberta, Ontario, British Columbia
Maintenance technicians, electricians, plumbersQuebec, Saskatchewan, British Columbia
Construction trades helpers and labourers, Crane operators, Contractors, and supervisorsAlberta, Ontario, British Columbia, Nova Scotia
Transport truck driversAlberta, Ontario, British Columbia
Welders, carpenters, millwrights, machine fittersOntario, Manitoba

3. Qualify for higher-paying jobs

Did you know that just by having a Red Seal Endorsement (RSE), you could earn more money? That’s right, RSE trade workers generally earn higher salaries or rates than non-red seal trade workers. For example, did you know that in some trades you could earn more than double the national average just by being red seal certified in Canada

Take a look at wage/salary comparisons between some of the top trade jobs that pay well in Canada.

  • Plumber - 12% higher than national average - $35.28 per hour
  • Millwright - 19% higher than national average - $40.71 per hour
  • Mechanic - 30% higher than national average - $40.28 per hour
  • Industrial mechanic - 25% higher than national average - $38.16 per hour
  • Metal Worker - 40% higher than national average - $39.10 per hour
  • Automotive mechanic - 33% higher than national average - $35.38 per hour
  • Electrician - 14% higher than national average - $35.55 per hour
  • Electrical technician - 41% higher than national average - $72,819 per year
  • Fitter - 33% higher than national average - $36.34 per hour
  • Building Maintenance - 102% higher than national average - $41.95 per hour

How to Get Red Seal Certified

To get red seal certified in your specific trade you’ll be required to take an examination.

What’s in the exam?

The four-hour exam consists of a series of multiple-choice questions. You will need an aggregate of at least 70 percent to pass. The exam will cover activities performed in your specific trade which are broken up into Major Work Activity tasks and sub-tasks. Take a look at an example of the types of questions that a plumber may encounter in a red seal exam.

red seal sample examination question 1

red seal sample examination question 2

Registering for the Red Seal Exam

You can complete the exam application process in three simple steps:

Step 1: Check if your trade qualifies & you meet the requirements

Each province or territory has its own set of criteria based on specific trades. You’ll need to check the official provincial or territorial website to find out what the requirements are for your trade. For more information on provincial red seal examination requirements, visit our red seal trade webpage, here.

Step 2: Complete and submit your application

Once you know that you’re eligible, you can start the exam application process. Make sure that you confirm which language (English or French) the exam will be administered in before submitting your application. You may be asked to submit a Trade Qualifier Application as well as

Step 3: Pay your fees

The final step is to make sure that you’ve confirmed the cost of the exam and method of payment. The fees vary depending on which province you will be writing your exam. It can be anywhere from $120 and upwards. Many provinces also offer financial support in the form of apprenticeship loans or taxable cash grants for apprentices registered in red seal trades.

Top Canadian Immigration Programs for Trade Workers

1. Federal Skilled Trades Program

The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) is one of three Express Entry programs. To qualify you will need to meet the following requirements:

  • meet the required language levels for reading, writing, listening, and speaking
  • have a minimum of 2 years of full-time paid work experience in a skilled trade within the last 5 years
  • meet the job requirements of your skilled trade as per the National Occupational Classification, except for needing a certificate of qualification
  • to have either a:
    • valid full-time job offer in Canada for at least 1 year; or
    • certificate of qualification in that skilled trade issued by a Canadian provincial, territorial or federal authority (Red Seal Certification.

Step 2. Provincial Nominee Program

The Provincial Nominee Program or PNP has 11 participating provinces and territories all geared towards achieving the same goal - to fill the labour gap and help boost the local economy. Each province has different labour needs and therefore has different programs with different requirements. Take a look to find out where your trades are in demand in Canada by visiting our in-demand jobs in Canada page.

Step 3: Atlantic Immigration Program

The Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) was created to help Atlantic provinces in Canada tackle their labour shortages and entice newcomers to move to any of four very underrated Atlantic provinces in Canada. The participating provinces are:

  • Prince Edward Island
  • Nova Scotia
  • Newfoundland & Labrador; and
  • New Brunswick

You can apply through one of three AIP streams:

  • Atlantic International Graduate Program
  • Atlantic High Skilled Program; or
  • The Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled program.

For more information about which stream you’d qualify for be sure to visit our website here.

Frequently Asked Questions: Red Seal Certification

man holding pen looking at laptop | red seal certification

FAQ 1: Do you need a red seal to work in Canada?

There are certain trades in specific provinces that require certification. Although this isn’t always the case, it's important to find out if your trade is one with a certification requirement. Interestingly, British Columbia is the only Canadian province that does not have compulsory trades, however, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t need to be certified. For example, to work in B.C. for a unionized company or project, it’s compulsory to be certified. So although it may not be compulsory to be certified for all trades, it could end up limiting your job opportunities.

FAQ 2: How do I get a red seal certificate outside of Canada?

Unfortunately, although you can apply for a red seal examination from outside Canada, you will only be able to get red seal certified once you’re in Canada. Some provinces and Canadian employers have been known to recognize U.K., Irish, and South Africa Red Seal certifications however, it is best to confirm this with your chosen provincial or territorial apprenticeship authority first.

FAQ 3: What is the difference between a red seal and a journeyman?

A red seal is technically an endorsement that shows that you meet federal standards set out by various provincial training authorities. Once you have passed your exam you will be able to work in Canada as a journeyman without supervision.

Ready to find out if you're qualified in one of the top trade jobs that pay well in Canada and whether you qualify for one of the 100 Canada visa options?