B.C. making changes to support good trades jobs, tackle labour shortages (flickr.com)

Media Contacts

Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training

Media Relations
250 208-3479


What people are saying about implementing skilled trades certification

Shaun Cox, skilled trades certification manager, SkilledTradesBC –

“Our team of skilled trades certification advisers and apprenticeship advisers across the province is ready to provide employers, trade workers and apprentices with the information, guidance and on-the-ground supports they need to ensure a smooth and successful transition to skilled trades certification.”

Phil Davis, managing director, Electrical Joint Training Committee –

“The Electrical Joint Training Committee (EJTC) is thrilled, along with our labour and contractor partners, to welcome the re-establishment of skilled trades certification in B.C. This is great news for tradespeople and for the construction industry in B.C.”

Al Phillips, president, BC Building Trades Council –

“When the former B.C. government eliminated skilled trades certification in the early 2000s, it devastated the construction industry and contributed to the skilled worker shortage we’re experiencing today. By reinstating skilled trades certification, the government is reversing that mistake and addressing the worker shortage. If we’re going to build B.C. right, we have to do it with apprentices learning from highly skilled and experienced Red Seal craftspeople, as they do in our 18 union trades schools. This announcement is another excellent step in the right direction.”

Sussanne Skidmore, president, BC Federation of Labour –

“Moving ahead with certification opens up clear paths to rewarding careers in the skilled trades. It means workers in these trades will learn the latest technical skills and gain the benefits of on-the-job mentorship. And as more trades join these initial 10, more and more B.C. workers can look forward to stable, well-paid jobs that help support their families and communities.”

Implementing skilled trades certification

Under the new skilled trades certification, uncertified workers in seven trades will have a one-year transition period to support them to get registered as an apprentice or become a certified journeyperson before Dec. 1, 2023:

  • Four mechanical trades: gasfitter Class A and B, steamfitter/pipefitter, refrigeration and air-conditioning mechanic, and sheet-metal worker
  • Three electrical trades: powerline technician, industrial electrician and electrician (construction)

During the transition period, uncertified workers in these trades can continue working as they register as apprentices or get certified. To ensure high standards of supervision and quality training for apprentices, skilled trades certification will require employers in these seven trades to follow a two-to-one apprentice to journeyperson ratio.

If a worker in these seven trades is already a certified journeyperson (including Red Seal endorsements) or a registered apprentice, nothing will change for them – they already fulfil the requirements of being certified.

Both uncertified workers and employers have a one-year window to become certified and can access supports from SkilledTradesBC. Supports include a team of multilingual skilled trades certification advisers and apprenticeship advisers located throughout the province. These advisers can help workers navigate the registration process or enter the challenge pathway to write the certification exam. Workers or employers can contact SkilledTradesBC for more details at: www.skilledtradesbc.ca; or call 778 328-8700.

Certification and level exams in these seven trades will be free during the one-year transition period. Additionally, there are a variety of provincial and federal supports available to further reduce financial barriers to certification. These supports help cover training costs, such as tuition, travel, living away from home, child care costs and loss of wages.

Three additional automotive trades (heavy-duty equipment technician, automotive service technician, and autobody and collision technician) will be phased in as skilled trades certification trades in 2024 and will also have one year to transition once announced. At this time, no action is required from workers or employers in the automotive sector.