The Red Seal Program is the Canadian standard of excellence for skilled trades. Formally known as the Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program, it sets common standards to assess the skills of tradespersons across Canada. Tradespersons who meet the Red Seal standards receive a Red Seal endorsement on their provincial/territorial trade certificates.
There are currently 56 designated Red Seal trades in Canada.
Benefits of the Red Seal:
- The Red Seal provides a nationally recognized standard for competency and quality workmanship, and identifies tradespeople as skilled and knowledgeable.
- In many cases, achieving trade certification in a Red Seal trade is equal in value to the completion of college certification in terms of trade knowledge and skill.
- Red Seal endorsed tradespeople obtain easily transferable skills, ideal for new workers interested in career development and industry mobility.
Overview of the Red Seal Examination
Learn about the structure of the examinations and how they are built, their format and duration, what you need to bring for the examination and what to do if you don’t pass.
While the above video mentions National Occupational Analyses as the basis on which examinations are developed, the new Red Seal Occupational Standards will be replacing the NOA over time. Where an RSOS has been developed for a particular trade, it will be the basis for the development of the exam for that trade.
There are 100 to 150 questions per exam, depending on the trade.
All questions are multiple-choice and of equal value.
Each question has four possible choices (A, B, C and D). Only one answer is correct.
Examination questions may:
- check your trade knowledge;
- test your ability to apply mathematical formulas to a trade-related situation;
- check problem solving skills related to your trade;
- use metric and/or imperial systems;
- be related to diagrams.
The examination is scored by a computer, so when marking your answers:
- use an HB pencil only;
- press firmly with the pencil to ensure the circle is filled in completely;
- to change an answer, erase cleanly;
- do not make stray marks on the answer sheet;
- ensure your mark is on the correct line, especially if you have skipped questions.
The maximum time allowed is 4 hours.
The pass mark is 70%.
What to Bring to the Examination
- Photo ID (government-issued personal identification, such as a valid driver’s license)
- Apprenticeship ID from your jurisdiction (if applicable)
- Examination confirmation letter
- Any other materials listed in your examination confirmation letter.
What is Not Allowed during Examination
You will not have access to personal items:
- Mobile phones
- Any type of electronic or communications devices.
Reference Documents that may be Provided at your Examination
- Code book
- Diagram booklet
- Acronym sheet
- Mathematical formula sheet
What If You Don’t Achieve 70%?
- The number of times you can attempt the examination and the waiting period between attempts are determined by each province and territory.
- An approved course of study must be successfully completed before the third and every subsequent attempt.
Contact the ITA for clarification.
Before the examination:
( ) I read the preparation guide Get Ready for your Red Seal Exam.
( ) I contacted the ITA
( ) I registered to the examination.
( ) If I have special needs, I asked for possible accommodations.
( ) I checked that the examination is available in the official language of my choice.
( ) I checked what material is allowed and forbidden during the exam.
( ) I know the date and time of my examination writing.
( ) I paid my exam fees.
( ) I confirmed the time off with my employer for the examination.
( ) I confirmed the location of the examination site and where to park if required.
( ) I created my study plan.
( ) I have read the Occupational Standard for my trade.
( ) I used the Task Profile Chart to determine what I should study first.
( ) I checked the Task Matrix and Weightings Chart (RSOS) or the Blocks and Tasks Weighting Chart (NOA)
( ) I checked the pie chart or Exam Counselling Sheet.
( ) I know the terminology and math formulas (if applicable).
( ) I consulted the trade code book the examination is based on (if applicable).
( ) I asked for help from my colleagues, employer or instructors, if needed.
( ) I self-assessed my essential skills and checked for upgrading if needed.
( ) I practiced sample questions.
The day of the examination:
( ) I have my confirmation letter.
( ) I have my confirmation letter.
( ) I have my photo ID and all material required.
( ) I have dressed appropriately as the examination room may be too warm or too cold.
( ) I allowed extra time for any unexpected traffic, parking or transit delays.
( ) I arrive early prior to beginning the examination.
( ) I eat a light snack and use the washroom just before the examination.
( ) I turn my cell phone off and I leave it where required.
( ) I did not bring any prohibited items with me to the exam.
( ) I breathe deeply and I think positively.
To help you preparing for your exam, you should read the Occupational Standard for your trade.
The Red Seal Program is administered in each province and territory by the apprenticeship and certification authorities. As such, please direct your inquiries to the Industry Training Authority.
Industry Training Authority
800 – 8100 Granville Avenue
Richmond, British Columbia V6Y 3T6
Toll Free: 1-866-660-6011 (within BC)
If you need to contact a certification authority from another province, please visit this website for contact information.