Working in Canada: what is meant by levels A, B, C, D and 0?

Published: 10-02-2022



You may have heard about job levels while doing your research about working in Canada. Here you will find more information on Canada’s National Occupational Classification (NOC) system – levels A, B, C, D and 0.

First of all, here are two links which you may find useful:

What is the National Occupational Classification (NOC)?

The NOC is the way in which jobs are classified in Canada. Jobs are generally classified according to category (or wider industry) and by skill level, ranging from level A (for the most highly-skilled jobs) to level D (for jobs which do not require any specific training).

  • Skill level A jobs are those which generally require a university degree.
  • Skill level B jobs generally require several years of higher education or apprenticeship training (usually at least 3 years).
  • Skill level C jobs generally require a high school diploma or a short course, or “on-the-job training of up to 2 years”.
  • Skill level D jobs generally require only a short amount of “on-the-job training”.

Find out more on this subject.

For a number of immigration procedures (some temporary work permits and permanent resident programmes), the classification of the job you have or intend to have in Canada may play a key role in your application. For example, some Canadian work permits require that you first find a “skilled” job, meaning that your job must be in either level A or B or in the 0 category of the Canadian NOC.

Here are the steps you must go through to find out which category your job fits into.

Identify your occupation

You will firstly need to try and identify your job title and the corresponding 4-digit NOC code. If you have received an offer from an employer, you may search using the job title that has been offered to you. You can search:

Take the time to research and read the description of the occupations which may match yours. At the bottom of each occupation, you will find a list of similar (but still very different) occupations, the “exceptions”, where you can find your exact job title. You can always ask your employer for more details.

Identify the skill level

Once you have found your job title, you will see that each occupation is classified by a 4-digit code (the NOC code). The first two numbers of the NOC code allow you to determine the area of activity and whether it is skill level A, B, C or D.

Let’s use the example of a baker (code 6332):

  • The first number represents the area of activity (the 6 corresponds to the sales and services sector).
  • The second number represents the skill level (the number 3 corresponds to skill level B of the NOC).
First number of the NOC code Area of activity/Category
0 Management (skill level is always A)
1 Business – Finance and Administration
2 Natural and Applied Sciences and Related Occupations
3 Health Occupations
4 Education – Law and Social Services – Community and Government
5 Arts – Culture – Sports and Recreation
6 Sales and Service Occupations
7 Trades – Transport – Equipment Operators and Related Occupations
8 Natural Resources – Agriculture and Related Production Occupations
9 Manufacturing and Utilities Occupations
Second number of the NOC code Skill level of the profession (A – B – C or D)
0 A
1 A
2 B
3 B
4 C
5 C
6 D
7 D

To be eligible for a work permit which requires finding a “skilled” job, the NOC code of your job must:

  • Either begin with the number 0 (management job)
  • Or have one of the following as the second number: 0, 1, 2 or 3.

Skill level 0 jobs

When the first number is a 0, this corresponds to management jobs, regardless of the area of activity. Group 0 is for senior and middle management jobs. However, please note that the term “executive” has a slightly more restrictive definition compared to what is understood in France, for example.

In the Canadian NOC, management jobs include, for example, finance director (0111), director of health care (0311), computer systems manager (0213), headteacher and school administrator (0422), retail and wholesale trade manager (0621), agriculture manager (0821), manufacturing manager (0911)

Skill level A jobs

Occupations where the second number of the NOC code is 0 or 1 are skill level A jobs.
Examples of skill level A jobs: financial analyst (1112), human resources professional (1121), marketing, communications and public relations professional (1123), biologist (2121), landscape architect (2152), computer analyst (2171), registered nurse (3012), occupational therapist (3143), secondary school teacher (4031), archivist (5113), curator (5112), musician (5133)…

Skill level B jobs

Occupations where the second number of the NOC code is 2 or 3 are skill level B jobs.
Examples of skill level B jobs: administrative assistant (1241), record management technician (1253), insurer (1313), ship broker (1315), industrial instrument mechanic (2243), computer network technician (2281), early childhood educator (4214), graphic arts technician (5223), graphic designer (5241), chef (6321), cook (6322), butcher (6331), baker (6332), hairdresser and barber (6341), shoemaker (6343), embalmer (6346), automotive service technicians (7321) boilermaker (7234), welder (7237), plumber (7251), cabinetmaker (7272), tilesetter (7283), crane operator (7371)…

Skill level C jobs

Occupations where the second number of the NOC code is 4 or 5 are skill level C jobs.
Examples of skill level C jobs: receptionists (1414), data entry clerks (1422), library assistant (1451), postman (1512), dental assistant (3411), nurse aide (3413), home childcare provider (4411), primary and secondary school teaching assistant (4413), barman (6512), food and beverage servers (6513), hotel receptionist (6525), tour guide (6531), material handler (7452), transport truck drivers (7511)…

Skill level D jobs

Occupations where the second number of the NOC code is 6 or 7 are skill level D jobs.
Examples of skill level D jobs: cashier (6611), service station attendant (6621), food counter attendant (6711), hotel porter (6721), hotel cleaner (6731), construction trade labourer (7611), other trade helper or labourer (7612), public works labourer (7621),railway and motor transport labourer (7622), harvesting labourer (8611), landscaping and grounds labourer (8612), mine labourer (8614), logging and forestry labourer (8616), metal fabrication labourer (9612), textile processing labourer (9616), food and beverage product processing labourer (9617)…

Please note! The immigration officers will decide whether or not your occupation falls into category 0, A or B of the NOC. Their assessment will be based on the description of the tasks and necessary skills established by the employer. If they find that your occupation does not fall into one of these categories, your work permit may be denied if one of the conditions is to have found a skilled job.

For which work permits/permanent residence procedures are skill levels important?

Temporary work permits

The Young Professionals temporary work permit

The Young Professionals permit is for people with a job offer of type 0 or levels A or B of the NOC. Note that level C jobs may also be eligible if the applicant can present a higher education diploma or certificate.

To find out more: the Young Professionals permit in Canada.

The Francophone temporary work permit

This is a simplified work permit for French-speaking people who have obtained a qualified job offer (level A, B or 0 of the NOC) from an employer to work in a province where French is a minority language (i.e. all of Canada EXCEPT Quebec).

The open work permit for spouses/partners of skilled workers

If your spouse/partner* has a work permit (Young Professionals, Francophone…) valid for more than 6 months in Canada and is employed in a skilled job (level A, B or 0 of the NOC), you may be eligible for an open work permit for spouses/partners of a skilled worker.

* Spouse/partner = someone with whom you are married or with whom you have been living for at least 12 months (with proof).

To find out more: the open work permit for spouses/partners of skilled workers.

Permanent residence programmes

Express Entry

The Express Entry programme (one of the permanent residency programmes for immigrants anywhere in Canada EXCEPT Quebec) bases its selection on so-called skilled jobs (level A, B and 0 of the NOC). The 3 types of Express Entry (federal skilled workers, Canadian experience class and skilled trades) only take into account experience gained in jobs at level A, B or 0 of the NOC.

To find our more: Express Entry.

The Quebec Experience Program – skilled workers (first possible step towards permanent residence via Quebec)

The Quebec Experience Program (QEP) for temporary skilled workers is one of the ways to obtain a Quebec Selection Certificate (French: CSQ) – an essential step for anyone wishing to immigrate to Quebec (before moving on to the federal stage). There are also other programmes that allow you to access the CSQ. Since the 22nd of July, 2020, the QEP for temporary skilled workers is based on having worked in a job at level A, B or 0 of the NOC for 24 months within the 36 months preceding the application.

To find out more: the QEP.

Certain categories of the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

Other Canadian provinces outside of Quebec have the option of selecting their own candidates through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). Each province offers different selection categories according to its own needs. Many categories are based on skill levels (A, B, C or D).

Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program is designed to encourage immigration to the 4 provinces of Atlantic Canada (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island). This programme is divided into different categories and these categories are organised according to employment level.


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