Posted by Cory List on 14th Sep 2015
Electrical Licensing Information in Canada
Canada's energy industry is a prominent field in the country with the number of states needing the service. Being one of the largest countries in the world, Canada is in need of numerous licensed technicians to provide service to consumers.
An electrician in the country handles installation, maintenance, testing, and repair of electrical systems. Depending on the obtained license, an electrician can also be contractor who can contract electrical-related service within his locale.
Unlike in other countries, licensing electricians is not governed by a federal authority. However, interstate licensing authorities help aspiring electricians obtain their licenses. People who want to be licensed experts in this field can visit these offices to get information about the field, especially information in local regulations.
Aspiring electricians need to undergo apprenticeship and training before obtaining the license. The license requires completing 80 percent hands-on training or related work experience and the remaining percent is designated for class studies or theoretical aspect of being an electrician. This results to the lack of online electrician classes. Classes may be offered, but is limited to theoretical studies. The student taking these classes may still need to look for a contractor who will hire them as apprentices to complete the practical side of electrical work.
Electricians coming from overseas who wish to work in Canada are also welcome to the industry given that they have their licenses to work. Since they obtained their licenses through different standards, they would need to undergo skill assessment first before receiving their licenses. This information is available in Canadian or state immigration websites.
License Registration Types
License types offered can vary per state. They may also have different definitions per state. In general, licenses provided to electricians and contractors are the following:
An electrical contractor's license allows an individual to contract work related to electrical systems. Contractors with this license will handle restricted jobs in other field that requires some electrical work.
Master Electrician License
A master electrician does the job as an electrical contractor. However, this license allows him to supervise electrical work carried out by a contractor or an apprentice. He will also make sure that every work carried out is done in accordance to the Electrical Safety Code and other regulations mandated by local authorities.
Special Electrician's License
A special electrician license is provided to an individual who wants to conduct electrical work within his employer's premises. It means that he can be an in-house electrician handling electrical system maintenance or operations. Just like other carried out work, his work must also comply with codes or standards set by authorities.
An apprentice license is a license handed to individuals undergoing training. In Canada, being an electrician follows apprenticeship programs wherein the aspiring technician should be hired by a contractor and work as a trainee. Despite being a trainee, he also needs a license to carry out electrical work under the supervision of a master electrician or contractor.
People who want to be expert electricians must double check available licenses or work registration titles in the jurisdiction where they wish to be licensed.
Licensing Authorities in Canada
Several authorities handle licensing procedures throughout the country. The following are the licensing authorities or contacts in each state.
Electrical Contractors Association of Alberta
British Columbia Safety Authority
Manitoba Labour and Immigration (Mechanical and Engineering Branch)
New Brunswick Inspection Services (Department of Public Safety)
Newfoundland and Labrador
Department of Labour and Workforce Development, Nova Scotia
Electrical/Mechanical Safety, Government of the Northwest Territories
Safety Services Community & Government Services of Nunavut
Electrical Safety Authority, Licensing Department, Customer Service Centre
Prince Edward Island
Planning and Inspection Services, Government of Prince Edward Island
La Corporation des maîtres électriciens du Québec
Ministry of Government Relations – Gas and Electrical Licensing
Department of Building Services, Yukon Government
Each state has its specific requirements before licensing individuals. However, an electrician from one state can work in other states as mandated in the Agreement of Internal Trade (AIT). This is an inter-governmental agreement between all Canadian territories. Through this agreement, all people living in Canada can move freely throughout the state as well as goods and trades. This allows everyone to take advantage of employment and other procurement opportunities to other municipalities.
But when it comes to working in other states, it's best to know what each state requires first aside from the actual electrician license. For instance, an electrician who wishes to work in British Columbia must be an interprovincial red seal holder aside from his license. The Read Seal Program is a system that set national standards for specific trades. This means that individuals holding this license complied with the standards set in the industry, making him eligible to work in other parts of the country.
According to a report, the electrician trade in Canada significantly declined in the 1990s, but picked up throughout the years. Since there's this increase in the trade, statisticians expect a continuous growth in the demand in electricians throughout the country.
While the job vacancies are filled up, there's always that opportunity to find new job openings as retiring electricians will vacate their posts. Moreover, the growing number of industries will also influence the demand in electrical works. Industries that are not related to electricity like construction and others would need people who can be specialized electricians who would need to conduct electrical appliances maintenance and operations. The study believes that the demand for electricians would move towards the construction field.
There are over 8,000 electricians today in Canada, but this number is expected to not meet the demands of industries that require electrical experts. It's still a good candidate for finding a stable job in the country. The advantage of being an electrician is it gives a lot of opportunities for an individual to improve his skill and eventually become an employer or contractor.