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National Occupational Classification (NOC)

National Occupational Classification (NOC)

National Occupational Classification (NOC)

The National Occupational Classification (NOC) is the national reference on occupations in Canada. It provides a systematic classification structure that categorizes the entire range of occupational activity in Canada for collecting, analyzing, and disseminating occupational data for labour market information and employment-related program administration. Occupational information is of critical importance for the provision of labour market and career intelligence, skills development, occupational forecasting, labour supply and demand analysis, employment equity, and numerous other programs and services. 

The NOC has been developed as part of a collaborative partnership between Employment and Social Development Canada and Statistics Canada. The NOC comprises about 30,000 job titles gathered into 500-unit groups, organized according to four skill levels and ten broad occupational categories. Unit groups are based on similarity of skills, defined primarily by functions and employment requirements. 

An occupation is defined as a collection of jobs, sufficiently similar in work performed to be grouped under a common label for classification purposes. A job, in turn, encompasses all the tasks carried out by a particular worker to complete their duties.

The basic principle of the classification of the NOC is the kind of work performed. Job titles are identified and grouped primarily in terms of the work usually performed, this being determined by the tasks, duties, employment requirements, and responsibilities associated with each occupation. Factors such as the materials processed or used, the industrial processes and the equipment used, the degree of responsibility and complexity of work, as well as the products made and services provided, have been taken as indicators of the work performed when combining jobs titles into occupations and occupations into groups.

NOC classification criteria

The two major attributes used as classification criteria in developing the NOC are the broad occupational category and the skill level. Other factors, such as occupational mobility and the industrial sector, are also taken into consideration.

Broad occupational category

Represents the type of work performed, the field of study, or the industry of employment whenever industry-specific work experience is required for entry into occupation. The first digit of a NOC code represents the broad occupational category.

Skill level

Represents a broad aggregation of education, training, and work experience and considers the complexity of the tasks and responsibilities associated with the job. The second digit of a NOC code represents the skill level.

Hierarchy and Structure

The National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2016, is based on the NOC 2011 four-tiered hierarchical structure. The first level contains 10 broad occupational categories, the second level is made of 40 major groups, the third level consists of 140 minor groups and the last level comprises 500-unit groups.

Classification Matrix

NOC Structure Skilled Jobs Intermediate Jobs Labour Jobs
1 Business, finance, & administration occupations 01 Specialized middle management occupations 11

Professional occupations in business & finance

12 Administrative & financial supervisors & administrative occupations

13 Finance, insurance, & related business administrative occupations

14 Office support occupations

15 Distribution, tracking & scheduling co-ordination occupations

2 Natural & applied sciences & related occupations 02 Specialized middle management occupations 21 Professional occupations in natural & applied sciences 22 Technical occupations related to natural & applied sciences NA NA
3 Health occupations 03 Specialized middle management occupations 30 Professional occupations in nursing 

31 Professional occupations in health (except nursing)

32 Technical occupations in health 34 Assisting occupations in support of health services NA
4 Occupations in education, law & social, community & government services 04 Specialized middle management occupations 40 Professional occupations in education services

41 Professional occupations in law & social, community & government services

42 Paraprofessional occupations in legal, social, community & education services

43 Occupations in front-line public protection services

44 Care providers & educational, legal & public protection support occupations NA
5 Occupations in art, culture, recreation, & sport 05 Specialized middle management occupations 51 Professional occupations in art & culture 52 Technical occupations in art, culture, recreation, & sport NA NA
6 Sales & service occupations 06 Middle management occupations in retail & wholesale trade & customer services NA 62 Retail sales supervisors & specialized sales occupations

63 Service supervisors & specialized service occupations

64 Sales representatives & salespersons – wholesale & retail trade

65 Service representatives & other customer & personal services occupations

66 Sales support occupations

67 Service support & other service occupations

7 Trades, transport & equipment operators & related occupations 07 Middle management occupations in trades, transportation, production, & utilities NA 72 Industrial, electrical & construction trades

73 Maintenance & equipment operation trades

74 Other installers, repairers & servicers & material handlers

75 Transport & heavy equipment operation & related maintenance occupations

76 Trades helpers, construction labourers & related occupations
8 Natural resources, agriculture, & related production occupations 08 Middle management occupations in trades, transportation, production & utilities NA 82 Supervisors & technical occupations in natural resources, agriculture, & related production 84 Workers in natural resources, agriculture, & related production 86 Harvesting, landscaping, & natural resources labourers
9 Occupations in manufacturing & utilities 09 Middle management occupations in trades, transportation, production & utilities NA 92 Processing, manufacturing & utilities supervisors & central control operators 94 Processing & manufacturing machine operators & related production workers

95 Assemblers in manufacturing

96 Labourers in processing, manufacturing, & utilities