National Occupational Classification (NOC) is Canada’s system describing and classifying occupations, and it is crucial for collecting and analyzing labour market information. The NOC system contains about 30,000 job titles which are grouped under occupations and then divided into groups, organized by skill level requirements as shown in the table below:

The system is primarily used for statistical purposes – for example, labour market analysis, skills development, and occupational forecasting. Importantly, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) works with the NOC system to determine eligibility for some temporary and permanent residence Canadian immigration programs.

The NOC system is updated regularly and revised every decade. The NOC 2016 is replaced with NOC 2021 since November 2022.

NOC System Structure

The new NOC 2021 replaces the previous four Skill Level categories by dividing occupations into six categories, based on Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities required for occupations – TEER. The 10 Broad Occupational Categories remain in the classification criteria but are revised and restructured.

 2021 NOC Structure Impact

The new structure fragments the occupations into 6 categories, especially affecting the past NOC Skill Level B group – the largest occupation group. The occupations from the NOC Skill Level B Group are now mainly divided into TEER Categories 2 and 3.

This fragmentation better reflects the training and education required for occupations and brings more clarity for the stakeholders regarding the skills required for each occupation.

Canadian Permanent Residence applicants are affected by this change, as it impacts the eligibility of some occupations in the Express Entry system and Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP).

The eligibility cut-off for Express Entry Programs (Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Worker and Federal Skilled Trades) shifted from NOC B and above, to TEER 3 and above.

Some occupations became eligible in the Express Entry permanent residence system as they made it through the cut-off. On the other hand, few occupations became ineligible for the Express Entry system.

IRCC has used the new NOC 2021 system since November 2022.

Find Your NOC Code

Use the government online tool to find the NOC Code of your occupation.

If still needed, StatCan published a correspondence table where you can compare the NOC 2016 and NOC 2021 categories.

Updated 2023-12-08

Published 2022-06-16

Would you like to learn more about Express Entry? Read our article “Express Entry – What Is It? How Do I Get Some?”