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Regulated Professions & Recognized Trades

Regulated and Non-Regulated Professions and Occupations

About 20 per cent of Canadians jobs are "regulated occupations" that require individuals to be licensed, registered or certified before they can legally begin working. Regulated occupations are governed by a regulatory body or college that sets standards of practice, registers or licenses qualified applicants and disciplines members when necessary. The regulatory body is also responsible for assessing and evaluating the credentials of applicants.

Most health professions are governed by regulatory bodies. Some examples are doctors, dentists, nurses, dietitians, midwives, pharmacists, opticians, physiotherapists, naturopaths, psychologists and chiropractors.

Some examples of regulated professions include:

  • Lawyers
  • Accountants
  • Architects
  • Teachers
  • Social Workers
  • Veterinarians

The majority of jobs in Canada are "non-regulated occupations" that don't require workers to be licensed or registered. Non-regulated occupations range from jobs requiring a lot of education and responsibility to little formal training. Some examples of non-regulated jobs are computer programmers, waiters, office managers, journalists, graphic designers and housekeepers.

Newcomers often choose to work in a non-regulated job while they become licensed in a regulated occupation. The Working in Canada Tool (see For More Information links below) can be used to determine if your occupation is regulated or non-regulated.

Recognized Trades

Workers must be certified to work in certain trades in Ontario; in other trades, certification is voluntary. Certification means you have passed a provincial examination and earned a Certificate of Qualification to work in a particular trade. Before writing the exam, you must prove that you have experience in the trade and provide a number of documents, including a Social Insurance Number (SIN) card, letters from previous employers or a current employer, letters from unions, certificates, diplomas, licences and official school transcripts.

Examples of certified trades include:

  • Plumber
  • Electrician
  • Hairstylist
  • Machinist
  • Automotive service technician
  • Sheet metal worker

Examples of trades in which certification is voluntary are: baker, painter, cabinetmaker, cement mason, chef, automotive painter, machine engine technician, locksmith, draftsperson, drywall finisher, powerline technician, roofer, educational assistant, early childhood educator and welder.

Many employers and unions ask for a Certificate of Qualification even though certification is voluntary. For information on applying for certification, see For More Information links below.

It is a good idea to join a professional or trade association in your field. These associations are a good source of information about jobs and other information related to your trade. Members are usually required to pay annual fees or dues.

Note: The Canadian government has designated some trades as Red Seal trades. If you are certified in one of these trades, you can practise anywhere in Canada, including Ontario. Some examples of Red Seal trades are carpenter, welder and cook.

For More Information

I want to work in the trades
Information about choosing a career, trade certification, finding an employer, financial help and other services. Includes a short video on apprenticeship options.

Working in Ontario — Find Your Profession
Ontario government website geared to newcomers with descriptions and information on regulated professions, certifications, how to register and work in regulated professions, and contact information for regulatory bodies.

Working in Ontario — Work in Your Profession
Ontario government website with information on how to work in your profession. Includes information on Bridging programs, educational requirements, certification and accreditation. Includes a link to a PDF document in 15 languages: Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Filipino (Tagalog), Greek, Hindi, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tamil, and Urdu.

Ontario Bridge Training
A type of training program designed to help newcomers get a licence or certificate in their profession or trade so they can work in Ontario. These programs provide internationally educated professionals with: an assessment of their education and skills against Ontario employer expectations; Canadian clinical/workplace experience; skills/academic training; preparation for licencing and/or certification; profession-specific language training; and individual learning plans. Mentoring opportunities may also be offered. Note that bursaries and tuition assistance may be available for bridge training.

Employment Ontario — I’m new to Ontario
Ontario government guide to working in Ontario, becoming certified in a trade, improving literacy, math, basic skills, and English- and French-speaking skills.

Working in Ontario — Trades in Ontario
An overview of the recognized trades in Ontario and which ones require certification. Includes information about Bridge Training Programs to help foreign workers move into the labour market more quickly and where they are offered. Also includes career maps, which are detailed step-by-step certification guides, for a number of trades; and a set of downloadable factsheets on trades that require certification (mandatory trades).

What are regulated professions and trades?
An explanation to regulated professions and trades, regulatory bodies and licensing and certification in different provinces. Available in Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), French, Gujarati, Pilipino (Tagalog), Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tamil, and Urdu.

Global Experience Ontario
A provincial government service that helps internationally trained and educated people find out how to qualify for professional practice in Ontario. Includes information on how to get licensed to work in a trade, academic credential assessment, bridging programs and other services.

Red Seal, Provincial & Territorial Contacts
A directory of provincial and territorial departments responsible for education, labour and training under the interprovincial Red Seal program.

Professional Immigrant Networks (PINs) Directory
An online directory of professional groups and associations run by and for internationally trained professionals. Search by ethnocultural group and/or by profession. Includes many professions in both the regulated and non-regulated sectors.

Alternative Jobs (Settlement.Org)
A directory of alternative or non-regulated jobs within regulated fields that require a licence. Includes information about job responsibilities, qualifications, labour market, skill and language training programs, and videos of newcomers talking about their experiences in non-regulated or alternative jobs.

CARE (Creating Access to Regulated Employment) Centre for Internationally Trained Nurses
This bridge training program helps internationally educated nurses (IENs) take the exams required to qualify as Registered Practical Nurses (RPN) in Canada. Includes exam preparation for the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination and Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination — both of which are necessary to qualify as RNs and RPNs. There is a CARE centre located in Kingston. Also available on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and YouTube.

Working in Canada Videos
Canadian government videos about working in Canada. Includes videos on occupations in the tourism sector and various occupations as described by workers. Also include videos of newcomer’s stories about coming to Canada and information about Canada. A partner site to the Government of Canada Job Bank website.

Ontario Bridge Training — Success Stories
Videos showing the success stories of immigrants in a variety of occupations helped by Ontario’s bridging programs. Includes an optometrist, a social worker, a nurse, and a teacher.

Planning to work in Canada? An essential workbook for newcomers
Foreign Credentials Referral Office workbook/guide with information about living and working in Canada (listed under the “Credential recognition” subcategory). It includes information on languages, finding a job, work-related documents and education/academic credentials.

Determine your eligibility – Skilled Trades
A subcategory of the Express Entry skilled immigrant immigration program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program is specific to those individuals who want to become permanent residents based on being qualified in a skilled trade. Only certain skilled trades are eligible for this program and individuals must meet all federal job requirements for that trade, plus the certification requirements as set out by the province/territory where they will work. Note that eligible trades may have annual overall application caps and that other criteria may be subject to change without notice.

Caregiver Program
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) information on this immigration program and the three streams available under it: the Caring for Children Pathway, the Caring for People with High Medical Needs Pathway, and the Live-in Caregiver Program. Includes links to details on the requirements for eligibility, the process of applying, and next steps for each stream. The Live-in Caregiver Program stream also has a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ), including the rights of live-in caregivers under Canadian labour and employment laws.

Information on how plumbers can obtain a license to operate in Kingston. Includes application requirements, links to relevant by-laws, fee details, and a downloadable application form.

Personal Support Worker Program — LDSB
Provided by the Limestone District School Board (LDSB), this program is for people seeking to enter the health care field as a Personal Support Worker. These individuals provide personal health care services in community settings or long term care facilities. This is a provincially accredited program and enrolment is limited.

Build ON
Prepare to work in the skilled trades in Ontario. To help you find a job, this site offers one-on-one consultations with a coach, videos and documents in English and French.

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