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In Ontario, there are 23 compulsory trades . Compulsory trades can only be worked in by apprentices and licensed journeypersons. Some examples include plumber, electrician, steamfitter and hairstylist.

You can find a record of all apprentices and licensed journeypersons in the compulsory trades on the Public Register.

All compulsory trades have certifying exams. Skilled tradespeople in compulsory trades must renew their Certificate of Qualification each year.

Requirements to work in a compulsory trade

To work in one of the 23 compulsory trades in Ontario, you must hold a:

  • Certificate of Qualification that is valid, or
  • Provisional Certificate of Qualification that is valid, or
  • Registered Training Agreement

There are certain cases where individuals may be allowed to practice their trade without meeting these requirements. Find out if this exemption applies to your trade.

  • Exemptions related to the practice of compulsory trades

    Group Exemption
    • Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP)
    • Participants in Ministry-approved pre-apprenticeship programs

    Individuals in this group who are practicing a compulsory trade:

    • do not have to hold a Registered Training Agreement to practice that trade legally in Ontario; and,
    • their information will not appear on the Skilled Trades Ontario Public Register.

    Permanent employees of industrial plant

    Individuals in this group:

    • are exempt from the requirement to hold a Registered Training Agreement, Provisional Certificate of Qualification or Certificate of Qualification in order to engage in the practice of a compulsory trade so long as they are working within the plant and its premises; and,
    • their information will not appear on the Skilled Trades Ontario Public Register.

    The exemption does NOT extend to maintenance and repair work on vehicles registered for use on a highway under the Highway Traffic Act.

    Holders of valid equivalent Certificates of Qualification issued by the Province of Quebec OR registered apprentices in the Province of Quebec in any of the following six trades:

    1. Electrician – Construction and Maintenance
    2. Hoisting Engineer – Mobile Crane Operator 1
    3. Plumber
    4. Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Systems Mechanic
    5. Sheet Metal Worker
    6. Sprinkler and Fire Protection Installer
    7. Steamfitter

    Individuals in this group:

    • are exempt from the requirement to hold a Registered Training Agreement, Provisional Certificate of Qualification or Certificate of Qualification issued by Skilled Trades Ontario in order to engage in the practice of a compulsory trade, and
    • their information will not appear on the Skilled Trades Ontario Public Register.
    Individuals who have completed a Ministry-approved course on the removal and replacement of wheels and rims Individuals in this group are exempt from the requirement to hold a Registered Training Agreement, Provisional Certificate of Qualification or Certificate of Qualification to the extent that they are removing or replacing wheels and rims on motor coaches, heavy trucks or truck-trailers.
    • Individuals who hold a valid Ontario Class A or D driver’s licence with air brake endorsement and who have completed a Ministry-approved program on the inspection and adjustment of the air chamber push rod stroke of an air braking system
    • Individuals who hold a valid driver’s license from another Canadian province or territory or state in the United States and are authorized in the jurisdiction which issued the driver’s licence to inspect/adjust air braking system’s air chamber push rod stroke
    Individuals in this group are exempt from the requirement to hold a Registered Training Agreement, Provisional Certificate of Qualification or Certificate of Qualification in order to inspect or adjust the air chamber push rod stroke (the slack adjustment) of the air braking system of the heavy truck or truck-trailer of which they are the driver.
    Individuals who have completed a Ministry-approved course on the installation, removal, maintenance and testing of water meters Individuals in this group are exempt from the requirement to hold a Registered Training Agreement, Provisional Certificate of Qualification or
    Certificate of Qualification in order to install, remove, maintain and test water meters that have an inlet and outlet of 25 millimeters or less.