Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.


Red Seal Certification

Updated: January 17th, 2024

Are you a qualified and experienced tradesperson looking for opportunity abroad? If so, you may want to consider Canada, as it has an entire immigration program dedicated specifically to tradespersons!

The Federal Skilled Trade Program (FSTP) was designed to make the immigration process smoother for skilled trade workers looking to move to Canada. The FSTP not only gives trade workers the chance to apply for permanent residency but has excellent processing times of six to eight months, as it is managed by the ever-popular Express Entry System.

Another great benefit of the FSTP is that you don’t need a job offer in Canada to qualify if you have a certificate of qualification from a provincial, territorial, or federal governing body. 

What Are Red Seal Trades?

What Are Red Seal Trades?

Canada has specific trades that are governed by regulations under the Provincial and Territorial Apprenticeship Acts. The red seal certification was introduced by the Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship (CCDA). The CCDA is a voluntary intergovernmental partnership among Canadian provinces and territories consisting of 15 members (13 provincial and territorial members and two federal members from the Department of Employment and Social Development Canada). CCDA members are responsible for apprenticeship training and trade certification within their jurisdiction.

The Red Seal Endorsement (RSE) ensures that certain national standards are upheld within the industry. Tradespersons will need to take a Red Seal examination to become red-seal endorsed. These are usually administered in the province or territory you intend to live and work in.

Below is a list of trades currently governed by the Red Seal Program:

  • Agricultural equipment technician
  • Appliance service technician
  • Autobody & collision technician
  • Automotive refinishing technician
  • Automotive service technician
  • Baker
  • Boilermaker
  • Bricklayer
  • Cabinetmaker
  • Carpenter
  • Concrete finisher
  • Construction craft worker
  • Construction electrician
  • Cook
  • Drywall finisher and plasterer
  • Floor covering installer
  • Gasfitter - Class A
  • Gasfitter - Class B
  • Glazier
  • Hairstylist
  • Heavy-duty equipment technician
  • Heavy equipment operator (Dozer)
  • Heavy equipment operator (Excavator)
  • Heavy equipment operator (Tractor-loader-backhoe)
  • Industrial electrician
  • Industrial mechanic (Millwright)
  • Instrumentation and Control technician
  • Insulators (heat and frost)
  • Ironworkers (generalists)
  • Ironworkers (reinforcing)
  • Ironworkers (structural/ornamental)
  • Landscape horticulturists
  • Lather (Interior systems mechanic)
  • Machinist
  • Metal fabricator (Fitter)
  • Mobile Crane Operator
  • Motorcycle technician
  • Oil heat system technician
  • Painter and decorator
  • Parts technician
  • Plumber
  • Powerline technician
  • Recreation vehicle service technician
  • Refrigeration and air conditioning technician
  • Roofer
  • Sheet metal worker
  • Sprinkler fitter
  • Steamfitter (Pipefitter)
  • Tile setter
  • Tool and die maker
  • Tower crane operator
  • Transport trailer technician
  • Truck and transport technician
  • Welder

How to Get a Red Seal Certified

How to Get a Red Seal Certified

To get red seal certified you will need to take a red seal examination. To register, follow these three simple steps below:

Step 1: Check your eligibility

It’s always a good idea to check if you qualify before registering or applying for any immigration program or certification, and the same goes for the red seal examination. Make sure that you meet the requirements for the examination in your chosen province or territory as they can not only differ from place to place by also by trade and by the type of tradesperson. You can do this by visiting the official apprenticeship and certification website of the province or territory you intend to work in.

Step 2: Complete your application

Now that you know that you’re eligible, it’s time to start the application process. You can contact the applicable provincial or territorial apprenticeship office for your application form or for any additional information required. It’s important to check or confirm the following before completing and submitting your application for the exam:

  • Check what language your exam language will be administered in (English/French);
  • Confirm that your exam will be in the language of your choice. You can do this by contacting your chosen provincial or territorial office.
  • If you have special needs, ask about accommodations you may be entitled to when writing the exam well in advance.

Step 3: Pay your fees

The cost of your exam will vary from province to province. It’s best to check this before registering for your exam.

What’s in the Red Seal Exam?

The Red Seal Exam, in Canada, is a crucial test for tradespeople aspiring to receive the coveted Red Seal endorsement on their provincial/territorial trade certificate. This endorsement signifies competency and mastery within a specific trade, recognized across the country.

What it covers:

  • Knowledge of Trade Activities: The exam primarily assesses your understanding of the key tasks and responsibilities associated with your trade. These are defined in the Red Seal Standard for your trade, which outlines all relevant activities in detail.
  • Major Work Activities: The standard breaks down your trade into distinct "Major Work Activities." Each exam section focuses on one such activity, further divided into "Tasks" and "Sub-tasks." Your knowledge of these smaller components will be tested.
  • Multiple Choice Format: The exam consists entirely of multiple-choice questions, each with a single correct answer and three incorrect options.
  • Comprehensive Scope: Expect questions that delve into various aspects of your trade, including theoretical knowledge, practical skills, safety regulations, codes, and standards.

Additional specifics:

Exam Preparation: Resources like sample questions and study guides are available to help you familiarize yourself with the format and scope.

Time Limit and Passing Score: The exam usually lasts four hours, and you'll need to achieve a minimum score of 70% to pass.

Trade-Specific Variations: While the general structure remains consistent, the content and difficulty of questions will vary depending on your specific trade.

Benefits of Passing:

  • National Recognition: The Red Seal endorsement allows you to work in your trade across Canada without additional certification.
  • Increased Employability: Employers often prioritize candidates with the Red Seal, signifying their skilled qualifications.
  • Professional Development: Passing the exam demonstrates your commitment to excellence and mastery within your field.

By preparing diligently and understanding the core areas covered, you can confidently approach the Red Seal Exam and achieve your trade certification goals.

How Many Questions Are in the Red Seal Exam?

There are between 100 to 150 multiple choice questions in the red seal exam. They are all of equal value and will have four possible choices. You will have four hours to complete the exam and will need a minimum pass mark of 70 percent.

Frequently Asked Questions About Red Seal Trades

Frequently Asked Questions About Red Seal Trades

Is a Red Seal equivalent to a degree?

Sometimes, having a red seal certification can be equivalent to a college certification regarding knowledge and skill in a specific trade. Those who successfully complete a registered apprenticeship training program will receive a:

  • Certificate of Apprenticeship (C of A); or
  • Diploma of Apprenticeship and/or Certificate of Qualification (C of Q); or
  • Journeyperson's designation (JP) in their trade.

If you have extensive knowledge working in your trade yet have not completed a formal apprenticeship program you can still apply to write the red seal exam. If successful you will get a Certificate of Qualification or Journeyperson's designation.

How long does it take to get a red seal certificate?

Most red seal programs are about three hours long. Most programs work on an earn-as-you-learn model where you will need to attend a six-week block of training every year, however, this could differ from program to program. Once you have written your red seal exam, it can take up to four weeks to get your results.

Does a red seal certification expire?

No. Once you have passed your red seal exam and are certified it does not expire nor will you have to apply for a renewal.

What is the difference between a red seal and a blue seal?

A red seal certificate shows that a tradesperson has sufficient knowledge of and the ability to apply said knowledge in a specific trade that meets the national standard in Canada. A blue seal shows that a tradesperson has business competencies that meet the industry standards and have demonstrated the ability to take on managerial, supervisory, entrepreneurial, or other leadership roles.

Want to learn more about Canada? Subscribe to our newsletter and get an e-book on Canadian immigration filled with mesmerizing sights of Canada!

Please enter a valid phone number. is a private recognized immigration agent and is not affiliated with the Canadian Government.
Privacy policy