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How do I get my Red Seal?

One question we hear often is “How do I get my Red Seal?” The answer is fairly straight forward with small variations due to varying definitions of what an Inter-Provincial IP Trade Ticket or Red Seal License is. In the early 1950’s the Canadian provinces started to turn their attention to the standardization of apprenticeship programs in Canada but also to the licensing of the people holding trades qualifications.
The education of apprenticeships falls under a provincial jurisdiction in Canada, and education is delivered slightly differently in each province be it Alberta, BC, Ontario, or the Maritimes. In order to reduce the complexity of developing materials, testing Apprentices and Journeypersons the provinces decided to try to standardize the process. By developing Inter-Provincial standards together the provinces are able to develop one set of curriculum, tests and standards. There may be slight differences between each province but the standards developed ensure that apprentices are trained safely, to the highest standards and generally have the same knowledge and skills.
For experienced trades people who hold a Canadian Provincial Trade Ticket, that was issued in a province before it tested for and recognized the Inter-Provincial standard, the process could be as simple as asking the Apprenticeship Board/ or Ministry of Education to review your credentials and grant you a certificate to work in that province. Alberta will grant an equivalency card for a Heavy Equipment Technician from Ontario for $60. .
To receive a certificate that displays the Inter-Provincial Red Seal, that will easily allow you to work in any province, you will likely have to complete a Challenge Certificate and write the Qualification Exam. For between $150 (BC) and $480 (Saskatchewan) you will be able to sit the IP exam.
We often hear from trades people wanting to take the Red Seal exam in other countries. Although this has happened before, at this time no Canadian Inter-Provincial exams are being given outside of Canada. There are some programs in Ireland or the UK that may be recognized in Alberta or the odd employer that recognizes a South African “Red Seal”. These will not be recognized by every province, safety authorities or all employers and new immigrants to Canada need to contact their Provincial Apprenticeship Authority and ask them the best route to receive an Inter-Provincial Red Seal in their designated trade.

This Post Has 39 Comments
    1. Hi Johannes! If you are already a tradesperson, odds are you can challenge the Red Seal exam, as mentioned above. If you’re just starting out, you’ll need to go through an apprenticeship. Here’s a list of the apprenticeship authorities per province. Your designated authority should be able to point you in the right direction:

        1. Hi Alwyn! Yes, to challenge the Red Seal exam, you usually need to apply to the governing body with details on your previous work experience, whatever education you have had, current employer, ect. If your application is approved, then you will be allowed to sit the Red Seal exam without going the traditional route of taking an apprenticeship first.

    1. Hi Willem! In Canada, the South Africa Red Seal is not recognized but you should be able to challenge the Red Seal exam to gain your Canadian equivalent.

  1. Hi kael,

    Is there any companies you know of willing to hire irish qualified electricians with a view to completing the red seal?
    Really looking to make the move to canada.

    Would love to line up a job before hand.


    1. Hi Stephen! I don’t have any clients looking for international Electricians at this moment but send in your resume so we have it on file. More companies are beginning the LMIA process that will enable them to hire internationally down the line.

      1. Can you please give me your email address so i can also send my resume to you? Thank you sir in advance.

  2. Greetings.

    In the USA, is there an equivalent of the Canadian Red Seal certification? And if so where would I get a comprehensive list of those type of occupations (for the USA)?


    Stan Drobnich.

    1. Hi Stan! Unfortunately, there isn’t a US equivalent to the Canadian Red Seal. Every state is going to have their own requirements. I think a good place for you to start would be to research trade schools of your preferred trade/state and reach out to them to see what the licencing requirements are. You could also look for jobs in the area to get an idea of they are asking for.

  3. Hi there

    Could you please offer any tips on how one can obtain a job offer while still in South Africa. The person I am asking for is a qualified plumber and has worked in his trade for over 10 years. We have been told he needs a job offer to complete our application. We’re not sure how that works if one is in another country.

    Thank you

    1. Hi there Mariska, for a Canadian employer to be able to hire internationally, usually they need to have completed the LMIA process. When your friend searches for jobs, he could try looking for LMIA plumber jobs, particularly on the Canada Job Bank: Another option is he could contact companies he’s interested in with his resume and ask if they are able to consider international candidates. Finally, he could try reaching out to an international recruitment firm for opportunities.

  4. Iam a Zimbabwean plumber with 16 years. Experience with SAQA certificate. In Zimbabwe iam a class 1. Plumber/ drain layer meaning iam a journeyman in Plumbing. How and where can I register to obtain a Red Seal Certificate?
    Yours faithfully

    1. Hi! It varies slightly on the province you are sitting the exam in. For example, in Alberta, you can submit the application online and if approved, you’ll have 1 year to come to Canada and another year to work for an Albertan employer and sit the exam. No matter what province, you need to be in Canada to sit the exam. I recommend reaching out to the Apprenticeship authority for the province you are interested in. You can find their contact info here:

  5. Hi I am a skilled plumber because we don’t have any plumbing institute here in Pakistan to be qualified plumber but I wana be a licensed plumber any suggestion for me ho do I get red seal Trade certificate from Pakistan I have been working with BL Harbert International LLC on NEC Islamabad Pakistan project for 7.9 years and I have good plumbing experience and knowledge in my hands. Thanks

    1. Hi Asim, unfortunately, you aren’t able to challenge the Red Seal from another country. although you can start the application process. To actually sit the Red Seal exam, you will need to be in Canada. The challenging process is a little different per province, so you will need to touch base with the Apprenticeship Authority for whatever province you are hoping to immigrate to for more info.

  6. hi
    my husband is an electrical technician, he has his diploma and has 8 years experience in the industry, do you know of any companies that would be able to offer him LMIA employement or would you recommend that he comes to Canada and do his red seal certificate?


    1. Hi Marlene, your husband is welcome to send his resume to and let us know what kind of job he is looking for in case an opportunity comes in. Odds are he will end up having to challenge the red seal if he wants to work in Canada, but it depends on the employer. He should start looking for LMIA jobs first and let the employers know he is open to challenging the exam.

  7. Hi my partner has obtained Level 3 Fresh Meat Processing National Certificate, he has been in the meat industry for about 19 years as blockman. The last 5 years he has been employed by large retail supermarket company of which last 4 years as Butchery Head Of Department (1st year was as Butchery Supervisor). How does he obtain Red Seal Certificate for his trade? He wants the Canadian Red Seal equivalent as we would like to immigrate to Canada – they are short of butchers there. Please can you help us? Thank you

  8. Hi there, I am from South Africa and I am currently, doing my red seal for the electrical trade. I understand that if an employer from Canada accepts me as I am, I can immigrate, but that it’s a lot better if I get my red seal evaluated in Canada (if I want another job opportunity perhaps). I am 19, still young and a lot of time for my dreams. I am currently doing all my research, is it possible to do an evaluation test online? And what’s the best place to look for jobs?

    I would like to immigrate to Canada using the Federal Skilled Trades Program.
    Thanks for all the help. =)

    1. Hi Asim, unfortunately, you aren’t able to challenge the Red Seal online, although you can start the application process. To actually sit the Red Seal exam, you will need to be in Canada. The challenging process is a little different per province, so you will need to touch base with the Apprenticeship Authority for whatever province you are hoping to immigrate to for more info:

  9. Hi
    I live in Trinidad and would like to know how I can acquire my Red Seal Certification. I have 20+ years in the Oil and Gas Industry, in the Industrial Maintenance/ Machine Shop.
    Any assistance would be appreciated.

    Thank you.

  10. Hi,

    I used to live in Ontario and I have submitted my application for Industrial Electrician to Ontario College of trade. I got approval from them to appear for written exam. However, I moved to Saskatchewan. Can I give my written exam anywhere in Saskatchewan, Manitoba or Alberta?

    Any help would be great

    Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Ashutosh! I’m not sure, but if you reach out to the Saskatchewan
      Apprenticeship & Trade Certification Commission, they should know! They can be reached at 1-877-363-0536.

  11. Hello! I am a certified Mechanic in Ireland and I have been working for 3-4 years. The last 2 years in BC, Canada. I want to get the Inter-Provincial Red Seal Certification- how can I go about doing this? I’m slightly confused and would appreciate some guidance.

    1. Hi Brian! It would be best to reach out to the BC ITA and ask about getting your Red Seal and if you are eligible to challenge it! You can call them at 778-328-8700, or check out their website

  12. Hi my partner got his red seal in Canada, lived in Canada for about 12 years. Has been back in South Africa for the last 6 years but wants to go back to Canada. He is 55, will he have problems being employed in Canada based on his age? He has a Canadian social security number.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Carmal, it is illegal for employers to discriminate based on age. In fact, you should not include your age at all on your resume when applying for a job in Canada. But, if your partner indicates that he is looking for long-term employment (and not just to retire after a few years), that could go a long way to assuaging any anxieties on behalf of the employer.

  13. Hi there, Please can you assist me? I am a qualified red seal Fitter (Known as Industrial millwright in Canada). I have more than 12 years experience. I am confused as to who get my trade assessed with. I want to eventually be in Ontario, so does it mean i need to apply with the Ontario college of trades? Also does this trade require me to sit the exam? I am currently living in South Africa as i am South African. If i am required to sit the exam, how will i be able to do that from here? I saw in your one response to another person you mentioned a person may be granted 1 year to get to Canada to sit the exam and work for an employer? Can you please explain a bit more? I am actively looking for an employer who will assist me with a work permit, Is this something you can help with? I can send you my Resume and qualifications. Thanks so much and look forward to hearing from you.

    1. Hi Emmanuel! Yes you would need to contact the Ontario College of Trades to learn about challenging your red seal exam. Unfortunately, none of our current clients are able to consider international candidates at this time; I’d suggest contacting employers directly and seeing if they are able to sponsor you!

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