Notice of Release – Redesign of the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021

The purpose of this notice is to advise all stakeholders and users of the National Occupational Classification (NOC) that the new 2021 classification's numbering system will be significantly modified as part of a major structural revision. The NOC 2021 is scheduled to be released in early 2021. 

Background

Every ten years, the National Occupational Classification (NOC) undergoes a major structural revision whereby the existing occupational groups are reviewed alongside input collected from many relevant stakeholders through a consultation process. The NOC has been developed and is maintained as part of a collaborative partnership between Statistics Canada (STC) and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). The release of the NOC 2021 will be the product of this 10-year cycle and will reflect changes in the economy and the nature of work. Input from the public, and particularly stakeholders has been a key part of the revision process.

The current NOC structure (NOC 2016) is categorized based on two major attributes of jobs, the "Broad Occupational Category" and the "Skill Level", as classification criteria. The former is defined as the type of work performed, with respect to the educational discipline or field of study for entry into an occupation and the industry of employment (e.g. health occupations or sales and service occupations). The "Skill Level" categorization is defined first by the amount and type of education and training usually required to enter and perform the duties of an occupation, but also considers experience, complexity and responsibilities. See Schedule A for details.

Revising the NOC

During consultation, it was suggested to add a new "Skill Level" to the current categorization, to clarify the distinction in formal training or education actually required among unit groups, especially in the current "Skill Level B", which has a wide range of formal training or educational requirements. The NOC 2016 "Skill Level B" includes all occupations usually requiring two to three years of post-secondary education at community college, institute of technology or CÉGEP or two to five years of apprenticeship training. In the NOC 2016, 211 occupations (42%) were classified under "Skill Level B", creating a disproportionately large group and thereby limiting the ability to analyze distinctions amongst a large percentage of occupations.

Another observation during the revision process was the use of the "Skill Level" categorization in the NOC as possibly being misleading because training and education, which are the main building blocks of the NOC's "Skill Level" categorization, are not considered as "skills" in the labour market. With regards to skills, many countries and organizations are currently developing their own skills taxonomy (which include concepts such as numeracy and literacy). Therefore, it was deemed appropriate for the NOC to move away from the "Skill Level" categorization.

The NOC 2021 revision will overhaul the "Skill Level" structure by introducing a new categorization representing the degree of Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities (TEER) required for an occupation.

The new "TEER" categorization redefines the requirements of the occupation by reconsidering the type of education, training and experience required for entry, as well as the complexities and responsibilities typical of an occupation. In general, the greater the range and complexity of occupational tasks, the greater the amount of formal education and training, previous experience, on-the-job training, and in some instances responsibility, required to competently perform the set of tasks for that occupation.

Legislative and senior management occupations are classified in "TEER" 0 and defined as Management as they generally require and have a significant level of experience, knowledge and responsibilities related to resource planning and directing. Occupations classified under "TEER" 1 usually require university education or previous experience and expertise in subject matter knowledge from a related occupation found within TEER 2. Occupations usually requiring post-secondary education of two to three years, or apprenticeship training of at least two years, or occupations with supervisory or significant safety responsibilities are classified in "TEER" 2, and "TEER" 3 for those occupations requiring less than two years of post-secondary education or on-the-job training, training courses or specific work experience of more than six months. Occupations usually requiring a high-school diploma or no formal education are classified in "TEER" 4 or "TEER" 5.  See Schedule B for the complete NOC 2021 restructure.  

These changes significantly improve how the NOC classification takes into account the distinctions in formal training and educational requirements and better reflects skill and knowledge development occurring through on-the-job experience. At the same time, it increases the homogeneity of the distribution of unit groups within the classification, and addresses concerns about the "Skill Level" categorization and the distribution of unit groups among them.

The redesign of the NOC for 2021 moves away from the current NOC four "Skill Level" categories to an innovative six-grouping "TEER" categorization. This change is necessary for several reasons. First, the "Skill Level" terminology is often misleading for many stakeholders. This change will reduce confusion. Second, some NOC users artificially create or infer a low- and high-skill categorization. This redesign moves away from high/low skill categorization as the TEER more accurately captures differences in occupational requirements, which in turn will aid in the analysis of occupations.

The transition from the "Skill Level" to the "TEER" categorization makes the distribution of occupations across the "TEER categories" more balanced. The change in the distribution of unit groups is summarized in the tables below.

Distribution of NOC Unit Groups by Skill Level

Distribution of NOC Unit Groups by Skill Level
NOC 2016
Skill Level A 28%
Skill Level B 42%
Skill Level C 24%
Skill Level D 6%

Distribution of NOC Unit Groups by TEER

Distribution of NOC Unit Groups by TEER
NOC 2021
TEER Category 0 9%
TEER Category 1 19%
TEER Category 2 31%
TEER Category 3 14%
TEER Category 4 18%
TEER Category 5 9%

Note: The NOC 2021 final distribution may change when structure is finalized.

Impact on users

The structure and format of the current National Occupational Classification 2016 version are based on the four-tiered hierarchical arrangement of occupational groups with successive levels of disaggregation. It contains broad occupational categories, major, minor and unit groups.

The format of NOC 2021 will use a five-tiered hierarchical arrangement of occupational groups with successive levels of disaggregation and will contain broad, major, sub-major, minor and unit groupings. The structure of the National Occupational Classification 2021 is based on two key occupational categorizations: Occupational categories and TEER categories, which are identified in the first two digits of the NOC 2021 5-digit code. The 5-digit code will be structured as follows: XX.XXX. See Schedule B for details of the two important groupings.

It is important to note that the redesign of the NOC will have significant implications for several Statistics Canada (STC) Surveys, such as the Labour Force Survey (LFS), and ESDC programs such as the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and Employment Insurance program.  This change may have significant impact on various programs throughout other federal departments, as well as provincial, territorial and municipal governments and many users of the NOC. 

The NOC 2021 will be published in early 2021 and will become the departmental standard for data collection and dissemination for occupations at Statistics Canada. Implementation dates for the new classification version will vary based on when programs, entities, organizations or individuals decide to use it. For example, Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), in conjunction with ESDC, is aiming to adopt the revised NOC structure in spring 2022 for the management of temporary and permanent resident programs. These dates will be confirmed on IRCC websites closer to the date of implementation.

As a normal practice, in advance of a full classification revision release, Statistics Canada will provide a spreadsheet of the actual structure of the classification, including the unit group numbers and corresponding titles. We will also provide a correspondence table between the NOC 2016 and the NOC 2021 unit groups and their corresponding titles. These products will be posted on our website by December 2020. This notice is being sent out now to inform all NOC users of the upcoming change which is currently being finalized. In early 2021, the full classification will be released, including the Leading Statements, Main Duties, Employment Requirements, Example Titles, Inclusions, Exclusions and Additional Information.

For additional questions, please contact the Statistics Canada NOC team at: 
statcan.opmic-standards-occupations-bgpvpci-normes-professions.statcan@canada.ca

Schedule A – NOC 2016

NOC 2016

NOC 2016
The skill type category is… when the first digit is…
Management occupations 0
Business, finance and administration occupations 1
Natural and applied sciences and related occupations 2
Health occupations 3
Occupations in education, law and social, community and government services 4
Occupations in art, culture, recreation and sport 5
Sales and service occupations 6
Trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations 7
Natural resources, agriculture and related production occupations 8
Occupations in manufacturing and utilities 9

NOC 2016 skill level criteria - education/training and other criteria

NOC 2016 skill level criteria - education/training and other criteria
The Skill Level category is… when the second digit is…
Skill Level A 0 or 1
Skill Level B 2 or 3
Skill Level C 4 or 5
Skill Level D 6 or 7

Skill Level A

  • University degree (bachelor's, master's or doctorate)

Skill Level B

  • Two to three years of post-secondary education at community college, institute of technology or CÉGEP
    or
  • Two to five years of apprenticeship training
    or
  • Three to four years of secondary school and more than two years of on-the-job training, occupation-specific training courses or specific work experience
  • Occupations with supervisory responsibilities are also assigned to skill level B.
  • Occupations with significant health and safety responsibilities (e.g., fire fighters, police officers and licensed practical nurses) are assigned to skill level B.

Skill Level C

  • Completion of secondary school and some short-duration courses or training specific to the occupation
    or
  • Some secondary school education, with up to two years of on-the-job training, training courses or specific work experience

Skill Level D

  • Short work demonstration or on-the-job training
    or
  • No formal educational requirements

Skill level is referenced in the code for all occupations with the exception of management occupations. For all non-management occupations, the second digit of the numerical code corresponds to skill level. Skill levels are identified as follows: level A – 0 or 1; level B – 2 or 3; level C – 4 or 5; and level D – 6 or 7.

Schedule B – NOC 2021

Schedule B – NOC 2021
Title of Hierarchy Format Digit Represents:
Broad Category X First Digit – X Occupational categorization
Major Group  XX Second Digit xX TEER categorization
Sub-major Group XX.X xx.X Top level of the Sub-Major Group
Minor Group XX.XX xx.XX Hierarchy within the Sub-Major Group
Unit Group XX.XXX xx.XXX Hierarchy within the Minor Group

Note: The first digit identifies the Occupation, the second digit identifies the TEER. Therefore, the first 2 digits put together are identified as the Major Group. The next 3 digits identify their hierarchy within the groups.

Schedule B – NOC 2021
Broad Category - Occupation when the first digit is…
Legislative and senior management occupations 0
Business, finance and administration occupations 1
Natural and applied sciences and related occupations 2
Health occupations 3
Occupations in education, law and social, community and government services 4
Occupations in art, culture, recreation and sport 5
Sales and service occupations 6
Trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations 7
Natural resources, agriculture and related production occupations 8
Occupations in manufacturing and utilities 9
Schedule B – NOC 2021
The Training, Education, Experience and Responsibility (TEER) when the second digit is…
 Management - TEER 0
Completion of a university degree (bachelor's, master's or doctorate);
or
Previous experience and expertise in subject matter knowledge from a related occupation found in TEER 2 (when applicable).
1
Completion of a post-secondary education program of two to three years at community college, institute of technology or CÉGEP;
or
Completion of an apprenticeship training program of two to five years;
or
Occupations with supervisory or significant safety (e.g. police officers and firefighters) responsibilities;
or
Several years of experience in a related occupation from TEER 3 (when applicable).
2
Completion of a post-secondary education program of less than two years at community college, institute of technology or CÉGEP;
or
Completion of an apprenticeship training program of less than two years;
or
More than six months of on-the-job training, training courses or specific work experience with some secondary school education;
or
Several years of experience in a related occupation from TEER 4 (when applicable).
3
Completion of secondary school;
or
Several weeks of on-the-job training with some secondary school education; or
Experience in a related occupation from TEER 5 (when applicable).
4
Short work demonstration and no formal educational requirements. 5
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