Skilled trade: a career requiring a specialized skill set that involves working using one’s hands. Skilled trade workers generally do not work in office environments. There are over 150 occupations that are designated as skilled trades in Ontario. To see a complete list, click here:  

Skilled Trades Ontario: Regulatory body responsible for the regulation of the skilled trades in Ontario

Apprenticeship: the process by which a tradesperson obtains provincial certification in a skilled trade. An apprenticeship involvestaking classes and learning your trade by working under the direction of experienced workers- and getting paid while you are doing it (Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development). 80%-90% of apprenticeship is work experience, during which an apprentice is a paid employee of an employer (sponsor). 10%-20% of apprenticeship is classroom learning. The length of an apprenticeship depends on the trade, but generally takes 2-5 years. An apprenticeship must be registered with the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development and once approved and you become an apprentice, your name will automatically appear on the Skilled Trades Ontario Public Register.

Apprentice: someone working towards certification in a trade by working under the supervision of a qualified journeyperson. Apprentices must be members in good standing with the Ontario College of Trades.

Journeyperson: Someone who holds a Certificate of Qualification from (and is a member in good standing with) the Skilled Trades Ontario.

Certificate of Qualification: A certificate awarded to a tradesperson who has met all of the training and skill requirements set out for their specific trade and has passed a multiple choice exam specific to their trade. This certificate is awarded by MLITSD and is often referred to as the “C of Q”, “ticket”, or “license”.

Sponsor: The employer or organization responsible for providing the on-the-job component of apprenticeship training to the apprentice.

Tradesperson: Someone who practices a skilled trade and is not necessarily an apprentice or journeyperson.

Compulsory trade: Trades that are designated as “compulsory” require a worker to either hold a Certificate of Qualification or be a registered apprentice in order to legally practice this trade in Ontario. Journeypersons and apprentices working in compulsory trades must be members in good standing with Skilled Trades Ontario.

Voluntary trade: Trades that are designated as “voluntary” can legally be practiced in Ontario by anyone regardless of their qualifications and/or status with Skilled Trades Ontario.

Trade Ratios: certain construction trades require a specific number of journeypersons to be on staff for each apprentice hired by a sponsor. To view the regulations, visit

Journeyperson Candidate: Someone who has completed apprenticeship training in Ontario and is preparing to write their Certificate of Qualification exam

Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (MLITSD): Responsible for the oversoght of trade legislation and regulation, including, prescribing/deprescribing trades, scopes of practice, trade classifications and ratios. MLTSD  provides information and services to help determine if you qualify for an apprenticeship program and to apply to be an apprentice. 

Red Seal: a national standard set out for certain trades. If a trade is designated as a “Red Seal” trade, a tradesperson holding an Ontario Certificate of Qualification may legally practice this trade anywhere in Canada.

Trade Code: Classification system used by Skilled Trades Ontario to represent a particular trade

National Occupation Classification (NOC): Provides a standardized language for describing the work performed by Canadians in the labour market. The NOC is developed by the Government of Canada and is based on extensive occupational research and consultations conducted across the country, reflecting the evolution of the Canadian labour market.