About the National Occupational Classification

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.

More about the NOC

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.

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. Unit groups can often be linked directly to one occupation (such as NOC 3113 - Dentists) or to more than one occupation (such as NOC 2271 - Air pilots, flight engineers and flying instructors). Each unit group provides a short description of its associated occupation(s), lists its main duties and employment requirements, and provides examples of job titles.

Students, workers, employers, career and vocational counsellors, educational and training organizations use the NOC on a daily basis to support career and vocational decisions. The classification is also used to support policy development and program design and administration as well as service delivery.

The NOC has been developed as part of a collaborative partnership between Employment and Social Development Canada and Statistics Canada. The two departments also work together to maintain and update the NOC. The NOC 2016 version focused on the contents of individual unit groups, without affecting the structure of the classification. Updates to the content of the NOC 2016 will continue on a regular basis. The next major structural revision of the NOC is planned for 2021.

Want to learn more about the NOC?

Revision process

Learn why the NOC is reviewed on an ongoing basis, about the different types of revisions, and about the revision process.

Concepts and conventions

Familiarize yourself with the concepts and conventions used to define and structure the NOC.

Tutorial

Not familiar with the NOC? Take our online tutorial and learn more about the classification’s guiding principles, its structure, and its content.

Frequently asked questions

You want to know more about the NOC? Take a look at our FAQ.

Contact us

Want to know more about the NOC or about how it is updated to keep up with changes in the labour market? Contact us for more information

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