Moving to Nova Scotia from Abroad

Moving to Nova Scotia from Abroad

A trade qualifier is someone who has significant trades experience (in Canada or abroad).  Trade qualifiers may challenge the certification exam in their trade to become a certified tradesperson in Canada.  Instructions about how to do this in Nova Scotia follow:

Documentation Requirements for Trade Qualifiers

  • A Grade 12 or equivalent is not required for the Trade Qualifier application.


  • The required work experience (hourly requirement) for each trade is identified in the applicable trade regulations and can be found at:
  • This hourly requirement must be fulfilled by hands-on work experience, not supervisory duties.

Work Experience

  • You need to provide documented evidence of work experience in the trade.
  • Some of your work experience must be within the last 10 years.

Employer Letter

  • You need original or certified true copies of letters from one or more employers confirming work experience.
  • Letters must be:
    • on company letterhead and signed
    • in English or French (translations by certified translator)
  • Letters must include:
    • complete employer contact information
    • start and end dates of the employment period
    • number of hours of hands-on work experience
    • description of job duties, tasks or work performed
  • If the individual is unable to obtain employer letters, an affidavit may be accepted.
  • Affidavits must be signed and stamped by a Canadian-recognized Notary Public, Commissioner of Oaths or lawyer.
  • The affidavit must affirm the reason the individual is unable to obtain the employer letters and what action the individual took to obtain the information.
  • Other documentation may support the affidavit, such as records of employment, work orders, T-4 slips, etc.
  • References are required from two qualified individuals who can attest to the individual’s competence in the trade.
  • Each reference must complete a reference form, which is included in the application package (an original letter or certified true copy may be submitted in lieu of the form).
  • If the individual is unable to obtain reference letters, an affidavit may be accepted.

 Translation of Documents

  • Documents must be provided in English or French.

Submit Application

  • Gather necessary documentation
  • Contact a Training Consultant with the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
  • Complete the application form
  • Pay a non-refundable fee

Write and Pass Examination

  • If your application is approved, you must take a multiple-choice exam and achieve a pass mark of 70% or higher.
  • For most trades, the certification exam is the Red Seal exam.  For more information on the Red Seal program, visit
  • If you pass the Red Seal exam, you will receive a Red Seal endorsement on your Certificate of Qualification.  The Red Seal endorsement is a recognized standard across Canada and, once you receive it, you can work anywhere in Canada without further training or examination.

Certificate of Qualification

Once you earn your Certificate of Qualification, you can legally work in a compulsory trade. Certification is not required for voluntary trades.

Helpful Links


Information about Health care

Opening a bank account

If you need your qualifications assessed

Red Seal Information for Foreign Workers

Pan-Canadian reference tools for academic qualification assessment

Federal Skilled Trades Program

If you have a vehicle

Obtaining a driver’s license

Registering a vehicle

Private auto insurance

Vehicle inspection requirements

If you are an immigrant to Canada

Applying for a Social Insurance Number

Directory of Immigrant-serving Agencies

English as a second language

Express entry for trades workers

General Information for Newcomers

Information about Income Taxes

Nova Scotia Nominee Program

The Canadian Experience Class

If you need somewhere to live

Finding accommodation

If you have children

Public education

Directory of schools and school boards

Information on childcare

Directory of childcare providers