Concepts used by the Registered Apprenticeship Information System (RAIS) Guide

Designated trades

Apprenticeship training and trade qualifications in Canada are governed by the provincial and territorial jurisdictions. These jurisdictions determine the trades, for which, apprenticeship training is made available as well as the trades, for which, certificates are granted. These are referred to as designated trades. The jurisdictions also determine which of the designated trades require certification in order to work unsupervised in the trade. The list of designated trades varies considerably between the jurisdictions. Data from the Registered Apprenticeship Information System (RAIS) include those trades that are designated in at least one province or territory.

Registered apprentices are people who are in a supervised work training program in a designated trade within their provincial or territorial jurisdiction. The apprentice must be registered with the appropriate governing body (usually a Ministry of Education or Labour or a trade specific industry's governing body) in order to complete the training.

Trade Qualifiers or Trade Challengers are people who have worked in a specific trade for an extended period of time, without necessarily having ever been an apprentice, and who have received certification from a jurisdiction, usually done via a skills assessment examination in the trade.

Registrations

The total registrations in apprenticeship programs is the count of any registrations that occurred during the reporting period (from January to December of the calendar year) within one of the 13 jurisdictions (province or territories).

Total registrations = Already registered + New registrations + Reinstatements

  • Already registered - the number of registrations carried forward from the previous calendar year
  • New registrations - new entrants to any apprenticeship program that occurred during the 12 months reporting period
  • Reinstatements - registrations by people who had left an apprenticeship program in a specific trade in a previous year and had returned to the same apprenticeship program during the reporting period

Red Seal and non-Red Seal Programs

The Red Seal Program sets common standards assessing the skills of tradespersons across Canada in specific trades, referred to as the "Red Seal" trades. Tradespersons who meet the Red Seal standards, through examination, receive a Red Seal endorsement on their provincial/territorial trade certificates. The Red Seal endorsement provides recognition that your certificate meets an interprovincial standard that is recognized in each province and territory.

Non-Red Seal trades do not have interprovincial standards. Many of these trades do not have an examination requirement in order to work in the trade.

Certification

The requirements for granting a certificate varies by jurisdiction in Canada. In most instances, an apprentice is issued a certificate if he or she completes requirements such as supervised on-the-job training, technical training, as well as passing one or more examinations. Most trade qualifiers (Challengers), meanwhile, become certified once they pass an examination.

Certification terminology

There are jurisdictional differences in the names of certificates awarded.

They may include:

  • Certificate of Apprenticeship
  • Diploma of Qualification
  • Certificate of Qualification
  • Journeyperson's Certificate
  • Certificat d'aptitude
  • Certificat de compagnon
  • Certificat de compétence
  • Diplôme d'apprentissage

Federal, provincial and territorial changes pertinent to the interpretation of RAIS data

1. Revisions have been made to the Quebec 1991 to 2005 data, which also changed the previous Canada totals.

2. Prior to 1999, Nunavut was part of the Northwest Territories.

3. Starting in 2003, a change occurred in the reporting of Newfoundland and Labrador's information concerning newly registered apprentices and cancellations/suspensions.

4. The British Columbia data have been revised in 2005. This changed the previous Canada totals for 2005.

5. Starting with the 2005 reporting year, Prince Edward Island changed their  information system and this may have affected historical comparisons. At the end of 2006, Prince Edward Island made some adjustments and revisions to their database which accounted for the change in the carry-over of registered apprentices for the beginning of 2007. In 2007, an increase in new registrations is, to some extent, related to a demand for skilled workers outside of the province. In 2008, due to technical difficulties during the redesign of their Registered Apprenticeship Information System, Prince Edward Island was not able to report a number of apprentices.

6. In 2006, minor trade code revisions were made to Manitoba.

7. In 2006 and 2007, differences may occur in Ontario related to the carry-over totals of active apprentices between both years. This is a result of the conversion of client data into Ontario's new database system. As a result, a clean-up of inactive clients occurred and this adjusted the active total of registered apprentices and their carry-over into 2007.

8. As of 2008, the portion of total Quebec trade information coming from Emploi-Quebec (EQ) is no longer being provided in aggregated form. The data from the province includes all trades with the exception of the automotive sector.

9. In 2008, Alberta incorrectly included the Industrial warehousing trade with the Partsperson and Partsperson (material) trades and also excluded the Construction Craft Worker trade.

10. In 2008, a distinct feature of the Rig Technician trade is that although individuals may be registered as apprentices in the trade in Ontario,  their certificates are granted as trade qualifiers (challengers).

11. In 2008, Alberta reported a large number of discontinued apprentices, which was a result of them implementing a series of cancellations and suspensions of inactive apprentices.

12. In 2008 and 2009, new Quebec legislation affecting the Emploi-Quebec (EQ) sector trade was introduced. This  resulted in some changes in the reporting of registered apprenticeship registrations.

13. An adjustment has been made to the Joiner trade in British Columbia, to include the trade in the Interior finishing major trade group, rather than in the previous Carpenter's major trade group.

14. In 2010, the Emploi-Quebec (EQ) data included revised trade programs where some of the trades have been segmented into several levels. This segmentation created possible multiple registrations and completions by a single individual apprentice, where previously only one registration and completion existed for this individual.

15. In 2011, the Electronics technician (Consumer Products) trade was no longer designated as a Red Seal trade.

16. In 2012, the Gasfitter - Class A and Gasfitter - Class B trades were designated as Red Seal trades.

17. In 2013, changes in provincial regulations governing drinking water related trades reported by Emploi-Quebec (EQ), have resulted in program changes, as well as the transferring of responsibility of some of these trades to the Conseil de la Construction du Québec (CCQ).

18. Begining in 2013, Ontario's data is received from two organizations. The registration data continues to be reported by the Ministry of Advanced Education Skills Development (MASED). They are also responsible for issuing Certificates of Apprenticeships upon the completion of technical training and on-the-job hours. The Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) is responsible for reporting data on Certificates of Qualifications, which are issued to apprentices upon the completion of a certification exam. This administrative practice has affected the RAIS data in a number of different ways.

  1. On April 8, 2013, MASED awarded a Certificate of Apprenticeship to approximately 6,000 apprentices who had completed their technical training and on-the-job hours, and had not yet received a Certificate of Qualification.
  2. There are discrepancies in the number of apprentices in Ontario due to differences in how MASED and OCOT define an apprentice. OCOT considers apprentices to be their members, for whom they have received membership applications with payment of annual membership fees. MASED considers apprentices to be individuals for whom they have received signed training agreements. In the MASED registration data, apprentices can have active and inactive statuses, which can also contribute to discrepancies. Inactive apprentices are apprentices with whom MASED have not received information about their progression in their apprenticeship program for more than a certain period of time. Active and inactive apprentices are included in the RAIS data. As such, the RAIS data may include previously registered apprentices, who have since discontinued their apprenticeship program, but have not yet informed MASED that they have discontinued their program.
  3. Beginning in 2013, apprentices who discontinued from apprenticeship programs in the past, but who remained on the database as already registered apprentices began to be removed from MASED records. These removals appear in the RAIS data files in the following years.  The clean-up occurred during odd years (2013, 2015, and 2017). After discussion with the Ontario data partners in 2019, it was indicated that the last of these batch discontinuations were completed in 2017. As a result, there will be less of a spike in discontinuations, and more of a normalized trend from here starting in 2018 and onwards. Normal discontinuation figures for the province will be about  5,000 to 7,000  per year. 
  4. In 2014 and 2015, apprentices who did not receive their Certificate of Qualification or Certificate of Apprenticeship in the same year were classified as trade qualifiers (Challengers) rather than apprentices. To align the RAIS data with the standard definition of trade qualifier (Challengers), these records were reclassified as apprentices with the release of the 2016 RAIS data. This revision led to a decrease of about 2,600 trade qualifiers (Challengers)  in Ontario in both 2014 and 2015 compared to the previously released data.

19. In 2013, a regulatory change came into effect which affects both Ornamental ironworkers and Structural steel erectors under the jurisdiction of the Conseil de la Construction du Québec (CCQ). Workers in these two trades are now considered Ironworkers. Both the 2014 and 2015 reference years were also impacted by these regulatory changes.

20. In 2013, changes were made to the Automotive Service Technician trades in British Columbia. Apprentices no longer have to complete mandatory work-based training hours at each program level before progressing to the next level of technical training. The 2014 reference year was also impacted by these changes.

21. Certificates in the Steamfitter/Pipefitter trade under the Conseil de la Construction du Québec (CCQ), also include Plumbers.

22. Starting in 2013, Building/Construction Metalworker are coded to Metal Workers (other) instead of being included in the 'Other' category.

23. In 2014, the Heavy Equipment Operator (Dozer), Heavy Equipment Operator (Excavator) and Heavy Equipment Operator (Tractor-Loader-Backhoe) trades were designated as Red Seal trades.

24. Trade qualifiers (Challengers) in trades governed by Emploi-Quebec (EQ) represents certificates granted to individuals who received recognition for previously completed training.  Emploi-Quebec (EQ) may, for example, recognize training in the case where an individual has a certificate in other provinces, territories, countries, or if the individual received a Diploma of Vocational Studies (DVS) in Quebec. These trade qualifiers (Challengers) also represent certificates granted as part of the regular re-certification process required in certain trades.

25. In March of 2014, there were changes made to the eligibility for the Apprenticeship Training Tax Credit (ATTC) in Ontario. This may have affected registration counts in some trades including those for information technology.

26. Prior to 2014, three welder programs (level A, level B, and level C) were offered in British Columbia. Starting in 2014, these three programs began to be phased out and replaced by a single apprenticeship program for welders. This change will impact registrations and certifications in this trade for the years following 2014.

27. Starting in 2017, changes are being made to the Automotive Service Technician program in British Columbia. The program is being restructured to align with other Canadian jurisdictions Automotive Service Technician Red Seal programs. These changes impacted reinstatement totals for 2017 and will potentially influence registrations counts for years following 2017.

28. In July 2018, Manitoba announced that it will perform a data clean-up every two years, starting with the 2019 reporting year. This clean-up resulted in lower numbers for both registrations and certifications for the 2019 reporting year.

29. In 2013, the structural steel erector trade and locksmith trade merged to become the ironworker worker trade. Transitional measures were put in place for journeypersons in these trades, which ended in July 2018.

30. British Columbia has some broad categories of trades where it is possible to receive a certificate after each level is completed, while other jurisdictions only certify apprentices after completing the final level.

  1. In 2019, the Industry Training Authority (ITA) made a decision to group some of their trades under one general trade. For example, Automotive Service Technician 1,  Automotive Service Technician 2, and Automotive Service Technician 3 were combined into Automotive Service Technician.
  2. All the trades under Welder were not consolidated, but a general version of the Welder trade was created in 2019.
  3. Also, some apprenticeships were deactivated for certain trades and replaced by Challenge Pathway only, which is for trade qualifiers. Rig Technician, Petroleum Equipment Service Technician, and Water Well Driller are examples of these trades.

31. Starting December 1st, 2019, British Columbia will no longer offer technical training for the Rig Technician apprenticeship program. The apprentices continuing in this trade were taking their technical training in Alberta; however, Alberta no longer offers technical training for this trade and is in the process of de-designating this apprenticeship. Individuals can still receive a designation in trade by challenging the exam in British Columbia.

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