A Guide for Foreign-Trained Tradespeople

If you work in the trades, but were trained outside of Ontario, Employment Ontario can help you get your Certificate of Qualification to work in Ontario. Here’s how:

  • If you have enough work experience to meet Ontario standards, you can write an exam to get a Certificate of Qualification
  • If you need more experience, Employment Ontario can help you enter an apprenticeship program to upgrade your qualifications.

Do I need to be certified?

There are two categories of trades in Ontario. To work in some trades, you must be certified. Certification in other trades is voluntary.

You must be cerficated to work in these trades:

  • Alignment and Brakes Technician
  • Autobody and Collision Damage Repairer (Branch 1)
  • Autobody Repairer (Branch 2)
  • Automotive Electronic Accessory Technician
  • Automotive Service Technician
  • Electrician (Construction and Maintenance)
  • Electrician (Domestic and Rural)
  • Fuel and Electrical Systems Technician
  • Hairstylist
  • Mobile Crane Operator (Branch 1)
  • Mobile Crane Operator (Branch 2)
  • Motorcycle Mechanic
  • Plumber
  • Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Mechanic
  • Sheet Metal Worker
  • Steamfitter
  • Tower Crane Operator
  • Transmission Technician
  • Truck and Coach Technician
  • Truck-Trailer Service Technician

Certification in these trades is voluntary:


  • Air-Cooled and Marine Engine Mechanic
  • Arborist
  • Assistant Cook
  • Automotive Machinist
  • Automotive Painter


  • Baker
  • Boat Motor Mechanic
  • Brick and Stone Mason


  • Cement Mason
  • Construction Boilermaker
  • Construction Millwright
  • Cook


  • Electronics Service Technician


  • Farm Equipment Mechanic
  • Fitter (Structural Steel / Platework)


  • General Machinist
  • Glazier and Metal Mechanic


  • Industrial Electrician
  • Industrial Mechanic (Millwright)
  • Industrial Woodworker
  • Ironworker


  • Junior Baker


  • Lather


  • Marine and Small-Powered Equipment Mechanic
  • Mouldmaker


  • Nursery Greenhouse Worker


  • Painter and Decorator (Commercial and Residential)
  • Painter and Decorator (Industrial)
  • Patissier
  • Pattern Maker
  • Printer


  • Small Engine Technician
  • Sprinkler and Fire Protection Installer


  • Tool and Die Maker

Important to know!

Even though certification for these trades is voluntary, many employers and unions may still ask you for a Certificate of Qualification.

How can I become certified?

You can take these steps to get a Certificate of Qualification:
1. Contact your local apprenticeship office to make an appointment with a training consultant.
2. You will be asked to bring the following documents with you to your appointment:

  • Your Social Insurance Number card;
  • Letters from current or past employers, written on company letterhead and dated, providing the company name and address, the exact dates of your employment, your job title, and a detailed description of your duties;
  • Letters from the unions you have belonged to, if applicable;
  • Your certificates, diplomas, or licences;
  • Official school transcripts from your training, if available, that contain course descriptions.

What if my documents are not in English?

If your documents are not in English, they must be translated and signed by an official translator who has seen the originals. For assistance, you can call the Association of Interpreters and Translators of Ontario at 1-800-234-5030.

3. The training consultant will look at your documents and tell you whether you have the necessary skills and experience to write the Certificate of Qualification examination. If your trade is a compulsory trade, you will be given a Letter of Permission, which is a temporary licence. The Letter of Permission, which is valid for 90 days, allows you to work until you write the exam. If you do not have the necessary skills and experience to write the examination, your consultant can help you enter an apprenticeship training program. You can learn more about apprenticeship on this website.
4. Write the examination and get a passing more of 70 percent or higher.

Where can I learn more?

Talk to a training consultant in your community. You can use the map feature on this website to find this service in your area.