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Thanks to James Smith in Edmonton for preparing this fantastic article on employment for trades in Alberta. Please note that Alberta is the most strongly regulated of all the provinces in Canada. The AIT approval requirement is unique to trades in Alberta.

Step 1: Gain AIT Approval for Trades in Alberta

Visit this Apprentice & Industry Training (AIT) website and download the application form:
Trade Secrets – AIT Trade Information

Go to the “Trades and Occupations” link, find your trade and fill out the form. Mine took 5-6 weeks from posting to getting the AIT cover letter back on my door step. It has taken 8-10 weeks in some cases. The application costs $450 (Note: some trades, such as welding, require further costs). From arrival in Canada, you have six months to apply and write the end of apprenticeship exam. commonly known at the Red Seal exam.

Step 2: Find Jobs in Alberta

Once you have the AIT cover letter, it’s time to begin the job hunt as you are now certified to work in Alberta. Some of the main companies that work on the oil sands include:
JV Driver, Ensign Energy, Husky Energy, Kucker Steels, PTI Group, Trican, Worley Parsons, Apache Corp, Flint Energy, Harvest Energy, Grant PTS, NWR Partnership, Suncor, Syncrude, Inter Pipeline Fund, JV Driver, Clear Stream Energy, Kiewet, DLI Group, and Studon.

Applying online is acceptable when you are still outside Canada, but networking is the best way to find work.

Step 3: Work Permit via LMIA

The following trades in Alberta are exempt from requiring a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA):

  • Welder
  • Steamfitter and Pipefitter
  • Heavy duty equipment mechanic
  • Ironworker
  • Millwright and industrial mechanic
  • Carpenter
  • Estimator

The Alberta Pilot Project is run by the Alberta government for trades in Alberta that are in major demand. It means you can skip a major part of the application process to immigrate and work in Canada. If your occupation is listed, your employer does not need to apply for an LMIA on your behalf. You will be granted a work permit on arrival in Canada. The LMIA process is not complex. Use the detailed information we provide to guide you and your employer.

Step 4: Arrival in Canada

On arrival in Canada, the immigration officer requested the following:

  • the AIT cover letter
  • police clearance form
  • the job offer letter from my new company
  • $150 cash to process the application

Step 5: Sit Red Seal exam within 180 days

I got my work permit in 15 minutes. Within three months, I had to go back to AIT and apply to write my Red Seal exam within 180 days from my arrival in Canada.

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