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The Shift From NOC To TEER System



Canada’s new occupational classification (NOC) system will impact some economic classes and temporary foreign worker applications.

In the fall of 2022, Canada’s immigration system will change the way jobs are classified. The adjustments will affect some economic class and foreign worker applicants, although the federal government has not specified which applicants would be affected.


The National Occupational Classification (NOC) is Canada’s method for categorizing occupations. The NOC is evaluated annually and revised every five years to reflect Canada’s changing labour market, accurately. In addition, it is updated every ten years, making the current version the most significant improvement since 2011. Last month, Statistics Canada published its updated NOC 2021 report.

The NOC is crucial for Canadian immigration since it is utilized by the federal and provincial governments to handle skilled worker immigration programs and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). Therefore, an immigrant or temporary foreign worker must fulfill the NOC eligibility requirements of the program they are applying for. For example, Express Entry requires skilled worker immigration applicants to demonstrate work experience in a NOC that falls under NOC 0, A, B skill type category.

NOC 2016 is presently used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and Canada’s provinces and territories to determine eligibility for skilled worker immigration programs. NOC 2016 has also been used by the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to evaluate Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) submissions. LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment) is the Canadian government’s labour market exam. It is mandated under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).


When assessing an LMIA application, ESDC must decide whether hiring a foreign person would positively or negatively impact Canadian employees. At that time, foreign worker might provide their LMIA and employment offer letters to IRCC to support their work visa applications.

Recently IRCC indicated that the federal government hopes to implement the new method of categorizing jobs sometime in “fall 2022.” Therefore, it would give IRCC time to notify stakeholders of the changes and apply the new system throughout its programs. IRCC is also working with ESDC to maintain uniformity across the work permit application process.

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NOC skill levels to new TEER system

The Canadian government will now categorize occupations based on a new Training, Education, Experience, and Responsibilities (TEER) system, rather than classifying jobs based on skill type.

NOC skill levels are now divided into four categories: A, B, C, and D. NOC 2021 departs from this method and adopts the TEER system, which is divided into six categories, right from TEER 0 to TEER 5.


TEER 0: Occupations related to management

TEER 1: Completion of a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or doctorate or years of experience in a given occupation, under TEER category two.

TEER 2: Completion of a two to three-year postsecondary education program at a community college, school of technology, or CEGEP or completion of a two- to a five-year apprenticeship training program; or occupations with supervisory or major safety duties (police officers and firefighters); or several years of experience in a given occupation, under TEER category three.


TEER 3: Completion of a two-year postsecondary education program at a community college, institute of technology, or CEGEP; or two-year apprenticeship training; or more than six months of on-the-job training, training courses, or particular professional experience with a high school diploma; or several years of experience in a given occupation under TEER category four.

TEER 4: secondary school graduation; or several weeks of on-the-job training combined with a high school diploma; or several years of TEER category five experience in a given occupation (when applicable).

TEER 5: There are no formal schooling prerequisites and only a brief job demonstration.


The need for substituting TEERs for NOC skill levels?

According to Statistics Canada, this modification is required for several reasons. First, classifying professions based on “skill levels” is perplexing because the NOC focuses on occupation rather than skills. The TEER system will focus on the education and experience necessary to work in a certain occupation. Second, Statistics Canada claims that the old NOC classification method unnecessarily creates a low-skilled vs high-skilled dichotomy. This redesign abandons the high/low classification to represent the abilities necessary in each vocation better.

Its impact on new immigrants


When IRCC and ESDC implement NOC 2021, immigration and foreign worker applicants must verify that their NOC matches the program’s eligibility criteria to which they are applying. One important area of concern is, how IRCC and ESDC choose to categorize occupations that are now classified as skill level “B.” This category has become disproportionately big over time since it comprises jobs that require various degrees of education and experience.

It is presently unknown which TEER categories will be eligible for Express Entry-managed programs as well as other federal and provincial programs that now need a “high skilled” NOC. For the time being, immigration applicants must wait for IRCC and ESDC to give additional information. The new TEER system has 516 occupations, up from 500 in NOC 2016. New occupations were created to reflect emerging fields in data science, cyber security, and others.

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