Canadian Immigration News

Practising Skilled Trades in Alberta for Foreign Tradespeople

3.5 minute read
"As a foreign skilled tradesperson in Canada, you will be required to attain all the necessary licenses and certifications to practice your profession in a particular province. The certification standards of tradesperson differ based on the province they plan on working in. If you are moving to Alberta, then you will be required to ensure that you meet the industry standards for practicing your trade."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  Apr 24, 2021
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As a foreign skilled tradesperson in Canada, you will be required to attain all the necessary licenses and certifications to practice your profession in a particular province. The certification standards of a tradesperson differ based on the province they plan on working in. 

If you are moving to Alberta, you will be required to ensure that you meet the industry standards for practicing your trade. Alberta is one of the most strongly regulated provinces in Canada. To work in Alberta you must be certified by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AAIT). 

What is the Process to Get Authorization to Practice a Skilled Trade in Alberta?

Step 1: Gain Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AIT) Approval for Your Trade in Alberta

To practice your skilled trade as a foreign worker in Alberta, you must obtain one of the following certifications:

  • Valid Alberta Qualification Certificate
  • Valid Canadian provincial trade certificate recognized by Alberta  
  • Authorization letter from AAIT obtained by your employer before you arrived in Canada 
  • AAIT Qualification Certificate Program (QCP) approval letter that authorizes you to work under the supervision of a certified journeyperson

A QCP is valid for at least 1 year. To attain a QVP, you will be required to pass the QCP examinations and specified trade examinations. A QCP is requested in situations where you are unable to attain an authorization letter from AAIT. 

Step 2: Find a Job in Alberta

Once you attain the proper certification to work in Alberta, it's time to look for the right job for you.

Some of the major industries in Alberta include: Ensign Energy, Clear Stream Energy, Kiewet, Husky Energy, Studon, Worley Parsons, Grant PTS, Flint Energy, Apache Corp, Harvest Energy, JV Driver, Syncrude, Trican, Kucker Steels, DLI Group, PTI Group, Suncor, NWR Partnership and Inter Pipeline Fund.

You can apply online if you are outside Canada. However, the best way to find a job is through networking.

Take a look at our regularly updated Latest Express Entry Draw Updates and our Canada PNP Draw Updates.

Step 3: Get Work Permit Authorization

Based on your occupation, you will be required to apply for a work permit. The following trades are exempt from the requirement of obtaining a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA):

  • Welder
  • Steamfitter and Pipefitter
  • Heavy-duty equipment mechanic
  • Ironworker
  • Millwright and industrial mechanic
  • Carpenter
  • Estimator

Alberta operates the Alberta Pilot Project to manage skilled trades in high demand in the province. If your occupation is listed, you do not require an LMIA to practice your trade. However, if your occupation is not listed, you will be required to get an LMIA to get work permit authorization. 

Step 4: Arrival in Canada

The immigration officer will request the following documents on your arrival in Canada:

  • An AIT cover letter
  • Police clearance certificate
  • Job offer letter
  • Required fee to process your application

Step 5: Write the Red Seal Exam

You will be required to apply to the AIT to write a Red Seal Exam within 180 days of your arrival in Canada. 

How Can You Practice Your Skilled Trade in Alberta?

After obtaining your AAIT QCP approval letter, you must submit the letter along with your work permit application to the visa office or the Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) at your arrival in Canada.

Once you have arrived in Canada, you will be required to write a Red Seal Exam within 180 days before your work permit expires. 

You will be required to attain the necessary certification within 12 months. 

The government body of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will issue an initial work permit valid for at least 1 year.

An extension will be granted based on your QCP. You will also be required to take the examination again. 

If you fail the examination and your work permit needs to be extended, a new LMIA will be issued only if the AAIT allows you to rewrite the examination. 

An extension will be granted if your application includes a valid QCP approval letter issued by the International and Provincial Assessment Services Branch within AAIT. 

If you pass your examination and have a valid trade certificate, your employer can apply for a second LMIA. This will allow you to apply for a work permit extension without any hassle. 

If you fail to abide by the rules governing your trade certification, you will be considered in violation of Alberta’s Apprenticeship and Industry Training Act. You will be subjected to the consequences of noncompliance with the law as stated by the AAIT.

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