About Skilled Trades Certification
The trades are foundational to a strong economy in B.C. Skilled trades certification will help improve our trades training system to meet the labour demands of a rapidly evolving economy.
Every other province in Canada requires tradespeople to be certified. B.C. removed that requirement in 2003. This means there are currently thousands of trades workers across the province without formal recognition of their knowledge or skill levels.
These uncertified workers are often paid less and have less employment stability and mobility — which is particularly challenging in a labour market disruption such as B.C. is now experiencing with COVID-19 recovery.
By requiring trades workers to be either a certified journeyperson or a registered apprentice, skilled trades certification provides a pathway to:
- Significantly raise the skill level of B.C.’s trades workforce.
- Ensure we have enough skilled trades workers to meet the demands of our future economy.
- Provide opportunities for more trades workers to benefit from post-secondary training and certification that leads to better jobs, higher wages and lifelong careers.
The selected trades
The B.C. government is introducing skilled trades certification beginning with a total of 10 trades: three electrical, four mechanical, and three automotive trades. This will be done in stages following the public engagement process to determine how skilled trades certification will be implemented.
The 10 trades were selected based on recommendations from a 16-member Stakeholder Advisory Working Group, representing industry associations, labour, post-secondary institutions, Indigenous Skills Trainers, and the Industry Training Authority.
Full details of this selection process and the rationale for implementing skilled trades certification can be found in the Skilled Trades Certification Business Case.
|1. Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanic|
|2. Gasfitter A & B|
|4. Sheet Metal Worker|
|4. Electrician (Construction)|
|5. Industrial Electrician|
|6. Powerline Technician|
|8. Heavy Duty Equipment Technician|
|9. Automotive Service Technician|
|10. Autobody and Collision Technician|
To ensure high standards of supervision, safety and quality training for apprentices, government will also be introducing journeyperson to apprentice ratios for these 10 trades. These ratios will be set based on further consultations with workers, employers and other industry stakeholders, led by the Industry Training Authority, in the months ahead.
What it means for workers and employers
Skilled trades certification means uncertified workers in selected trades will need to become certified or register as an apprentice with the Industry Training Authority (ITA) to be legally able to work in that trade. Once a trade officially requires certification, uncertified workers will have a year before they must register as an apprentice or challenge a certification exam to become a journeyperson.
Skilled Trades Certification is not a new or replacement credential. If a worker is already a certified journeyperson (including Red Seal) or a registered apprentice, nothing will change – they are already in compliance with Skilled Trades Certification.
Trades workers and employers will have an opportunity to help inform the supports needed during this transition, ensuring we have accounted for the perspective of the diverse groups that work in these trades. Following the public engagement process, there will be a one-year transition period where workers and employers will have access to a broad range of supports, services and opportunities to help them to successfully come into compliance. This includes support from the ITA which offers multiple pathways for apprentices to enter trades training and/ or achieve certification.
What are the benefits of skilled trades certification?
- Standardizing trades skills at a high level – resulting in career growth opportunities and the skills needed to adapt to changing labour needs, while enhancing productivity for employers and B.C.’s economy over the long-term.
- Increasing opportunities for under-represented and equity-seeking groups in skilled trades careers by “leveling the employment playing field” – providing a recognized, portable credential for those workers who currently have fewer options for career advancement without formal recognition of their skills.
- Increasing prestige of the trades – encouraging more youth to enter the trades to replace retiring workers by improving the perception of trades occupations as being well paid and equal to other professions that require post-secondary credentialing.