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Significant Updates to the National Occupational Classification (“NOC”) System

The National Occupational Classification (“NOC”) is Canada’s national system for describing and categorizing occupations. This system is overhauled every ten (10) years to reflect changes in the economy and nature of work.

The NOC 2021 iteration has been released, and effective today (November 16, 2022) IRCC has switched the programs to reflect the new NOC 2021 system.

The most significant change of the NOC 2021 is the replacement of NOC “Skill levels” with new Training, Education, Experience, and Responsibilities (“TEER”) categories. While there were four skill levels under the old system, the new system has a total of 6 TEER categories. A summary of the changes and TEER categories is below:

NOC 2016 NOC 2021 Occupation Type Examples
Skill type 0 TEER 0 Senior or middle management Corporate Sales Managers

Restaurant Managers

Manufacturing plant managers

Skill level A TEER 1 Occupations that usually require a university degree Doctors





Software developers

Skill level B TEER 2 Occupations that usually require:

· a college diploma

· apprenticeship training of 2 or more years, or

· supervisory occupations

Executive assistants



Skill level B TEER 3 Occupations that usually require:

· a college diploma

· apprenticeship training of less than 2 years, or

· more than 6 months of on-the-job training

Teacher’s assistants

Real estate agents Cooks


Skill level C TEER 4 Occupations that usually require:

· a high school diploma, or

· several weeks of on-the-job training

Home childcare providers

Retail salespersons and visual merchandisers

Skill level D TEER 5 Occupations that usually need short-term work demonstration and no formal education Landscaping and grounds maintenance labourers

Delivery service drivers and door-to-door distributors

In addition, the 4-digit NOC codes will now become 5-digit codes.

While most occupations have retained a similar classification, some occupations have upgraded to higher NOC categories. This occupations were previously classified as “semi-skilled” (NOC level C) and will now be considered “skilled” (TEER 3). This will also allow certain occupations to qualify for permanent residence through the Express Entry system who would have otherwise been ineligible.

These occupations include:

  • 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
  • aircraft assemblers and aircraft assembly inspectors

Some occupations have also been downgraded, and will no longer be eligible for permanent residence. These occupations include recreation instructors, tailors, and performers (which includes influencers). Other “semi-skilled” occupations were further downgraded, including servers, delivery service drivers, and general farm workers.

PR applicants must ensure to use the new NOC 2021 in their applications, update existing applications, and ensure that their occupations are not impacted by skill-level changes. Further, applicants in one of the 16 above noted occupations may have further options for Canadian work permits, and may be eligible for work permits for their spouses.