High-Skilled, Low-Skilled, High-Wage, Low-Wage Jobs in Canada

High-Skilled, Low-Skilled, High-Wage, Low-Wage

Daniel, a 36-year-old man from Belize, dreams of finding a job in Canada. Sitting at his computer, he scrolls through immigration websites. Daniel feels confused by terms like high-skilled, low-skilled, high-wage, and low-wage jobs. Determined to understand, he searches online for clear explanations. He hopes this knowledge will help him find the right job. Each new article he reads adds a bit more clarity. Yet, he still feels uncertain about which path to take. Eager to move forward, Carlos decides to delve deeper into these definitions. Through his journey, we’ll uncover what these job classifications mean in Canada.

National Occupational Classifications (NOC) in Canada

The National Occupational Classification (NOC) system organizes jobs in Canada. NOC 2021 is the current version used for this purpose. It helps categorize occupations based on job duties and skill levels. Each classification consists of five digits. For example, the NOC code for immigration consultants is 41403.

The TEER Categories

The NOC 2021 introduces the TEER system. TEER stands for Training, Education, Experience, and Responsibilities. This system classifies jobs into different categories.

  1. TEER 0: Management occupations that require significant responsibilities and experience.
  2. TEER 1: Occupations that usually require a university degree or extensive experience.
  3. TEER 2: Jobs usually need a college diploma, apprenticeship training, or several years of experience.
  4. TEER 3: Positions usually require a high school diploma or job-specific training.
  5. TEER 4: Occupations usually need a high school diploma or several weeks of training.
  6. TEER 5: Jobs requiring short-term work demonstration and no formal education.

Importance of NOC and TEER

Employers and immigration programs use NOC to assess job applications. The TEER categories provide clear guidance on skill levels and training requirements. Understanding NOC 2021 and TEER helps applicants find jobs and meet immigration criteria. Moreover, the NOC system assists the IRCC in developing immigration options and assessing applicants accordingly. ESDC, or the Canadian labour office, uses NOC codes for the LMIA program. This program assesses the impact of hiring a foreign national on the job market. It’s also a key component of the Temporary Foreign Worker program.

Example NOC: Computer Systems Developers and Programmers

The NOC code for Computer Systems Developers and Programmers is 21230. This occupation falls under TEER 1. These professionals write, modify, integrate, and test software code for various applications. Employment often requires a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. Responsibilities include maintaining existing programs and communicating technical problems. Understanding this classification helps align job qualifications with Canadian immigration requirements​​.

High-Skilled and Low-Skilled Jobs in Canadian Immigration

In Canadian immigration, job classifications fall into high-skilled and low-skilled categories. This classification depends on the TEER system.

High-Skilled Jobs

TEER categories 0, 1, 2, and 3 include high-skilled jobs, which typically require significant training and education.

Example: Plumbers (NOC 72300)

Plumbers install, repair, and maintain plumbing systems in various residential, commercial, and industrial settings. They require a college diploma or apprenticeship training. Plumbers can work for contractors, in maintenance departments, or be self-employed. Their work ensures proper water distribution and wastewater disposal.

High-skilled jobs often offer better wages and job security. They require advanced skills and qualifications. This makes them attractive for immigration purposes.

Low-Skilled Jobs

Low-skilled jobs fall under TEER categories 4 and 5. These positions require less training and education.

Example: Fish and Seafood Plant Workers (NOC 94142)

Fish and seafood plant workers process and package fish and seafood products. They operate machinery and perform manual tasks such as cutting and cleaning. These workers are employed in fish and seafood processing plants.

Low-skilled jobs often require short-term training or a high school education. Despite lower wages, they provide essential services in various industries and are vital to the economy.

Importance of Understanding Job Classifications

Knowing the difference between high-skilled and low-skilled jobs is crucial. It helps immigrants align their qualifications with Canadian job requirements. Understanding these classifications can guide career choices and immigration applications. Some immigration options only target high-skilled jobs. Here are some examples:

Some immigration options target low-skilled workers. Here are a couple of examples:

High-Wage vs. Low-Wage Jobs in Canada

In Canada, jobs are classified as high-wage or low-wage based on the wage offered compared to the provincial or territorial median hourly wage. Please note that each province’s median hourly wage is a fixed number and differs from the regional median wage. The latter helps us calculate the prevailing wage.

Median Hourly Wages by Province or Territory

Here are the median hourly wages for each province and territory as of April 2, 2024:

Province/TerritoryMedian Hourly Wage (Before April 2, 2024)Median Hourly Wage (As of April 2, 2024)
British Columbia$27.50$28.85
New Brunswick$23.00$24.04
Newfoundland and Labrador$25.00$26.00
Northwest Territories$38.00$39.24
Nova Scotia$22.97$24.00
Prince Edward Island$22.50$24.00
Source: canada.ca

For example, a job that pays $29 per hour is high-wage in Ontario and low-wage in Alberta. The reason is simple. The median wage in Ontario is $28.39, and this job pays more. However, the median wage in Alberta is $29.50 per hour, and this job pays less than the median wage.

Importance of Understanding Wage Classifications

The requirements for applying for an LMIA vary significantly depending on whether the job is high-wage or low-wage. I have published another article that explains these differences in detail.

The Effect of Job Type on Family Members

Spouses, common-law partners, and children of foreign workers may also qualify for a work permit in Canada. However, if the foreign worker receives their work permit based on a low-skilled and low-wage LMIA-based job offer, they may not request a work permit for their family members. Please consider reading these articles for more information:

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    Al Parsai

    This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.