Upcoming Changes to the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system

Author: Stephanie Ford | | Categories: Canadian Immigration Services , Canadian Work Permit , Express Entry Canada , Foreign Worker , Immigrate To Canada , Immigration Services , LMIA , LMIA Canada , National Occupational Classification , NOC

Immigration Services

By Stephanie Ford

Statistics Canada and the Employment and Social Department Canada (ESDC) work together to develop the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This system is used to classify occupations in Canada, and is used by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada department (IRCC) for immigration purposes. Following the planned review of the NOC system in 2021, NOC codes have undergone significant changes for 2022. Here’s what you need to know:

When will the NOC Codes Change in Canada?

An IRCC internal memo outlines that the department intends to start using the updated NOC system in November 2022. The precise date the IRCC will switch to the 2021 NOC system has not yet been announced.  

After this latest review, it’s likely that there won’t be any further changes until 2026. However, the ESDC and Statistics Canada are considering implementing more frequent reviews so this is not set in stone.

How Are NOC Codes Changing in Canada in 2022?

The first major change is the replacement of the skill-level system with Training, Education, Experience, and Responsibilities (TEER) categories.

Previously, under the skill-level system, workers were classified as skill-level 0, A, B, C or D. They are defined as follows:

  • Skill Type 0 jobs include management positions.
  • Skill Level A jobs include professional jobs that usually call for a university degree.
  • Skill Level B jobs include technical jobs and skilled trades that usually call for a college diploma or equivalent training.
  • Skill Level C jobs include intermediate jobs that usually call for high school completion and job-specific training.
  • Skill Level D jobs include labour jobs that call for on-the-job training.

This Skill Level system will be phased out in 2022 and replaced with the TEER categories.

TEER Categories Under Canada’s NOC System

The TEER categories system has been designed by Statistics Canada and the ESDC to be more precise than the existing skills levels. As such, there will be six TEER categories.

The changes will predominantly impact occupations that (previously) fell under the skill level B. In the earlier version, almost one third of occupations fell under this level and the employment requirements were relatively wide. The TEER categories are designed to supply clearer distinctions between occupations based on the level of training, education, experience and responsibilities, instead of just the skills.

Since the changes mostly relate to skill level B occupations, it’s likely that the changes will affect Express Entry and some Provincial Nominee Program applicants.

The TEER categories are defined as:

TEER 0 – Management occupations.

TEER 1 – Completion of a university degree or several years of experience in a specific occupation from category 2 (where applicable).

TEER 2 – Completion of a post-secondary education program of two to three years at a college, institute of technology or CEGEP, or completion of an apprenticeship of two to five years, or certain occupations with supervisory or safety responsibilities, or several years of experience in a TEER 3 position (where applicable).

TEER 3 - Completion of a post-secondary education program of less than two years at certain institutions, or an apprenticeship of less than 2 years, or more than six months of on-the-job training, or several years of experience in a TEER 4 position (where applicable).

TEER 4 – Completion of secondary school, or several weeks of on-the-job training, or several years of experience in a TEER 5 position (where applicable).

TEER 5 – Short work demonstration and no formal educational requirements.

Introduction of a 5-Tiered Occupational Grouping System

The five tiers will represent occupational groups as follows:

  1. Broad occupational groups.
  2. Major groups.
  3. Sub-major groups.
  4. Minor groups.
  5. Unit groups.

5-Digit NOC Codes Coming in 2022, Too.

Another notable change being implemented in 2022 is the movement from a four-number to a five-number system for the NOC Codes. The reason for this is that it provides greater flexibility for future updates to the classification system, as new occupations emerge.

The new 5-digit NOC code is defined as follows:

  • The first digit represents the broad occupational category;
  • The second digit represents the TEER category;
  • The first two digits together represent the major group;
  • The first three digits represent the sub-major group;
  • The first four digits represent the minor group; and finally
  • The full five digits are unique to the unit group or the occupation itself.

Changes to NOC Occupations

Finally, there have been changes made to the occupations listed by the IRCC in its NOC occupation list. There are too many to explain them all in this article, but we will outline some of the changes for clarity and to explain the reasoning.

There will, for example, be (minor) changes to one of the broad occupation categories. The NOC classification starting with 0 previously referred to management occupations. Following the 2021 update, NOC 0 occupations include legislative and senior management occupations. Middle management unit groups were moved to their respective broad occupational categories.

Additionally, new unit groups have been created for certain emerging occupations, including data scientists and cybersecurity specialists. There has been significant growth in the number of people taking part the job market over the past years, and the addition of new unit groups for these professions reflects that.

Many of these new unit groups fall under the information technology sector, health and agricultural sectors, postal services, and military occupations.

There will also be (more minor) changes to the broad occupation categories. For instance, the NOC classification starting with 0 previously referred to management occupations. Following the 2021 update, NOC 0 occupations include legislative and senior management occupations. Middle management unit groups were moved to their respective broad occupational categories.

 

Express Entry: Practical Implications of the 2021 NOC System Changes 

As a result of the 2021 NOC update, the following sixteen occupations will become eligible for Express Entry based on their educational and experience requirements:  

  • Payroll administrators; 
  • Dental assistants and dental laboratory assistants; 
  • Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates; 
  • Pharmacy technical assistants and pharmacy assistants; 
  • Elementary and secondary school teacher assistants; 
  • Sheriffs and bailiffs; 
  • Correctional service officers; 
  • By-law enforcement and other regulatory officers; 
  • Estheticians, electrologists and related occupations; 
  • Residential and commercial installers and servicers; 
  • Pest controllers and fumigators; 
  • Other repairers and servicers; 
  • Transport truck drivers; 
  • Bus drivers, subway operators and other transit operators; 
  • Heavy equipment operators; and 
  • Aircraft assemblers and aircraft assembly inspectors.  
  • Based on the IRCC’s current guidance, there are also occupations under three NOC codes that will become ineligible for Express Entry under these changes too, namely: 
  • Other performers;  
  • Program leaders and instructors in recreation, sport and fitness; and  
  • Tailors, dressmakers, furriers and milliners.  

 

Atlantic Immigration Program: Practical Implications of the 2021 NOC System Changes 

Foreign nationals in Atlantic Canada may also be impacted by the 2021 NOC update, since the programs’ eligibility cut-off will become TEER 4.  

This means that twelve occupations will become ineligible under the Atlantic Immigration Program, according to the IRCC. They are:  

  • Pet groomers and animal care workers;  
  • Other support occupations in personal services;  
  • Longshore workers; 
  • Material handlers; 
  • Taxi and limousine drivers and chauffeurs;                         
  • Delivery service drivers and door-to-door distributors; 
  • Boat and cable ferry operators and related occupations;  
  • Certain livestock labourers; 
  • Nursery and greenhouse labourers; 
  • Trappers and hunters; 
  • Certain food and beverage servers; and 
  • Labourers in textile processing and cutting.  

If you’re considering immigrating to Canada, fill out our immigration pre-assessment form and learn if you qualify!

You can find your 2021 NOC here



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