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Towards a new occupational classification for immigration-related services

From the second half of 2022, the National Occupational Classification of 2016 (NOC 2016) will become completely obsolete for immigration-related services in Canada. It will make way for the NOC 2021. This 3rd edition of the NOC was developed by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) in partnership with Statistics Canada. The time that elapses before the effective implementation of this NOC is the moratorium period to allow all institutions and structures affected by this change to efficiently organize the transitions.


Structural changes in relation to NOC are common practice. Since the first edition of the NOC in 1991-1992, these modifications that take place every decade have enabled Canada to have a classification of occupations that reflects evolution in the economy and by extension the labor market, in particular availability and adequacy of skilled labor. As usual and according to the information provided by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), the new NOC was designed after consultation with the various stakeholders and users of the NOC.


Major changes


The NOC 2021, that will come into force in 2022, marks a major termination with the NOC 2016 still in use for immigration services. One of the major changes is the change from a four-digit NOC to a five-digit NOC. Therefore, it will no longer be four skill levels (A, B, C and D) but rather five classification levels called Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities (TEER). The introduction of the new TEER categorization is the solution found by the various stakeholders to better indicate the training, education, experience and responsibilities necessary to occupy a profession in the Canadian labor market. Like the NOC 2016, despite its five levels of occupational groups, the NOC 2021 also has breakdown levels down to unit groups.


The first of the five numbers of the new numbering is indicative of either one of the ten (10) major occupational categories. The second number reveals the category of training, education, experience and responsibilities required for a profession. These first two numbers together make it possible to identify the major groups that are themselves subdivided into sub-major groups thanks to the 3rd number of the NOC, into subgroups starting from the 4th number. The 5th number gives the most detailed level of the new classification, the unit groups. And, there are now 516.


Statistics Canada has already been using this new NOC since August for the collection and diffusion of data for occupations. As of spring 2022, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) intends to use this new classification when reviewing applications for temporary or permanent residence. That is why we encourage you to contact us now. With more than 20 years of experience, we are your privileged recourse to efficiently go through the process of appropriating these changes.

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