Canadian Contractor


“RSE” designation is gaining traction

It means Red Seal Endorsement and there is a push on to see these letters get wider usage in the trades and in the public eye

I got an email from a homeowner two weeks ago, asking me what “RSE” means after a contractor’s name.

I was delighted to inform them it simply means “Red Seal Endorsement.”  

Canada’s Red Seal qualification has a pretty proud history, but only since June 2015 has there been a push from the “authorities” (in this case, the Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship) to see the “RSE” acronym used more widely.

Here is a recent post from a proud RSE-holder, Paul Clement, a carpenter in Alberta.

A Red Seal should be mandatory in carpentry in Canada. Anyone who argues that it is not necessary is not a tradesman. I have heard numerous arguments that it is not required if you have the experience or time in the trade. This fable is pushed by those not willing to put the time into their craft.

I am still amazed that if I want to cut and style your hair I need to be certified but I can build you a $300,000 home with no license, no certification, no insurance and no training.

Don’t let those that don’t see the value in training and certification hold you back. The Red Seal shows a commitment to your trade, knowledge and skill. The Red Seal is only the beginning, this is a lifetime of learning and dedication. There are always new materials, new tools, new methods and ever-changing building code and municipal by-laws.

If you are intent on finishing your Red Seal and becoming a Certified Journeyman Carpenter you are entering into a trade guild that dates back centuries. Be proud of your accomplishments. Show off your projects, be proud of them and never, ever stop learning and striving to add to your skills and knowledge.

Paul Clement, RSE


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3 Comments » for “RSE” designation is gaining traction
  1. Henry Hewit says:

    Im a auto Technician and and I think ther should be certificate for all trades but the membership fees are to much needlessly
    and a rip off

  2. patrick Diamond says:

    I am a red seal carpenter and the guys who arent, are no skill chumps ! stealing work from real tradesmen !

  3. Lyle Reid, RSE says:

    There is a misnomer when calling a certified trade “Red Seal”. Not all apprenticeship certified training is Red Seal, but it is still certified training to that particular province the training was taken. The Red Seal is proof that a tradesperson has met the ‘national standard’ in their trade, but all apprenticeship training is technically provincial.
    For instance, I have certified training as a plumber in BC, but that training is also recognized by all provinces across Canada so it is also considered Red Seal. This means I have my Red Seal endorsement as well as my apprenticeship. I am also a certified Class A (Industrial) Gas Fitter in the province of BC, which means I am certified to work on any gas fired equipment in the province, but it is not considered Red Seal (although it is listed as a Red Seal trade) because the training is different from province to province and is not transferable. In most cases this usually means taking an examination in the province I want to work in outside of BC.
    Basically you can have certified training but not a Red Seal. This does not mean the training is less than standard.
    With all this, I totally agree that anyone in the trades sector should be trained and certified to do the work. I just wanted to clarify what Red Seal actually means.

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