Canada is aiming to re-design the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system

The National Occupational Classification (NOC) is Canada’s national reference for occupations. It categorizes employment activities in Canada to help understand the nature of the Canadian labour market, run government programs, promote skills development, conduct research, and help Canada manage its immigration and foreign worker programs.


Every ten years, the NOC undergoes a major structural revision in collaborative partnership between Statistics Canada (STC) and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). The current NOC structure (NOC 2016) is categorized based on “Skill Level” as a classification criteria. The skill level categorization is defined by the amount and type of education and training usually required to enter and perform the duties of an occupation, and also considers experience, complexity and responsibilities.

Revising the NOC

Earlier in September 2021, STC and ESDC revealed the new idea behind NOC system that is expected to be implemented in Fall 2022. The NOC 2021 revision will overhaul the skill level structure by introducing a new categorization representing the degree of Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities (TEER) required for an occupation. Up until now, the NOC 2016 has featured 4 skill levels (i.e., NOC A, B, C, D). NOC 2021 will use a five-tier hierarchical system to classify occupations (i.e. 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5). Occupations will now have a five-digit codification system instead of the current four-digit system.

Why replacing the Skill Level with the TEER system?

There are two major reasons; First, the TEER system aims to provide more clarity on the level of education and work experience required to work in an occupation. Second, STC believes the skill type model creates artificial categorizations between low- and high-skilled jobs. Implementing TEER will hopefully give stakeholders a better sense of the number of skills required for each occupation.

How will immigrants and foreign workers be impacted?

For many immigration and foreign worker candidates, NOC 2021 will have little to no impact on them. This is because despite changes to the NOC, their work experience will continue to meet the eligibility criteria for their desired immigration or foreign worker program. On the other hand, the changes will help some applicants while hurt others. Some may now find themselves eligible for additional programs since their work experience has been reclassified. Others may find themselves no longer eligible for the same reason. We will need to continue to wait for IRCC and ESDC to provide further information as we get closer to Fall 2022.

Please refer to our LinkedIn page to get access to online webinars or articles posted on the most recent Canadian immigration updates. To discuss the details of your situation, please reach out to our office and we will gladly assist you.

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