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Occupations, Codes & Definitions

The National Occupations Classification (NOC) developed and administered by ESDC, is the nationally accepted reference on all occupations in Canada. The NOC is a standardized language system used to code and describe the work performed by each job in Canada's labour market.  Every type of job has a profile with an identifiable NOC code 

NOC 2006 remains the current version. An updated 2011 NOC has been introduced however, ESDC indicates all organizations, government departments and websites such as the Job Bank will continue to use NOC 2006 until the transition to the new version can be completed.

Read more about the NOC here


NOC Codes

All occupations in Canada are classified according to skill type and skill level organized in over 30,000 job titles and into 520 occupational group descriptions.

Skill type is based on the work performed, whereas skill level corresponds to the training or education typically required to work in a specific occupation.

  • Occupations are organized first by skill level (Level O, A, B, C or D).
  • Each job is then organized by skill type (Type 1 to 9).
  • Management or higher-skilled jobs are identified in skill level categories O, A, and B while those paying lower wages, requiring less training or lower skill levels are identified in categories C and D.
  • Jobs in primary agriculture are classed as skill type 8 (Occupations Unique to Primary Industry).
  • “Skilled Occupations in Primary Industry” are in Major Group 82 “Intermediate Occupations in Primary Industry” are in Major Group 84
  • Each occupation is assigned a 4-digit NOC code.
  • Skill types matched with skill levels are organized in a “Matrix”.

Read more about the NOC 2006 Matrix here


Primary Agriculture: NOC Codes

The table below provides a full list of valid NOC codes for primary agricultural occupations:

NOC 2006

Occupational Title


Farmers and Farm Managers


Agricultural and Related Service Contractors and Managers


Farm Supervisors and Specialized Livestock Workers


Nursery and Greenhouse Operators and Managers


Supervisors, Landscape and Horticulture


General Farm Workers


Nursery and Greenhouse Workers


Harvesting Labourers


In primary agriculture, job types are in placed in Skill Type Level 8.  Each occupation is assigned a 4-digit code, such as NOC-8253-B (Skilled Livestock Worker) or NOC-8431-C (General Farm Worker). 



Primary Agriculture: Occupations

Below are standard occupations / streams used by primary agriculture sectors.  Where applicable, the appropriate NOC 2006 codes and skill streams as recognized by ESDC are noted.

Lower Skill – Lower Wage Occupations

  • Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP)
  • Agriculture Stream (Lower-skilled)
  • Stream for Lower skilled Occupations
    • NOC 8431-C (General Farm Workers)

Higher Skill - Higher Wage Occupations

  • Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP)
  • Agricultural Stream (Higher-skilled)
  • Stream for Higher-skilled Occupations
    • NOC 8253-B (Farm Supervisors and Specialized Livestock Workers)
    • NOC 8251-B (Farmers and Farm Managers)
    • NOC 8252-B (Agricultural and Related Service Contractors and Managers)


  • The Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) is for both higher or lower skilled workers in production sectors listed in the National Commodity List (see below), from Mexico and certain Caribbean countries, and for work with a maximum duration of 8 months in a year.
  • The “Agriculture Stream” for both lower and higher skilled occupations is ONLY used by primary agriculture production sectors listed in the “National Commodity List” (see list below)
  • The “Stream for Lower-skilled Occupations is for primary agriculture sectors NOT listed in the “ National Commodity List”. For example, employers in crop production would use the lower-skilled General Farm Worker (NOC 8431-C) stream.
  • The Stream for Higher-skilled Occupations is for any higher skilled agricultural worker with specific higher training or related education.

National Commodity List

apiary products

fruits, vegetables, flowers, Christmas trees greenhouses, nurseries












Swine Industry: Occupations

The most common TFWP streams used by swine industry employers for the recruitment of TFWs with the appropriate NOC 2006 codes as recognized by ESDC are shown :

Lower Skill – Lower Wage Occupations

  • Agriculture Stream (Lower-skilled)

Higher Skill – Higher Wage Occupations

  • Agricultural Stream (Higher-skilled)
  • NOC 8253-B (Farm Supervisors and/or Specialized Livestock Workers)


  • NOC codes used for higher-skilled occupations in the primary swine industry are NOC 8253-B (Farm Supervisors and/or Specialized Livestock Workers), 8252-B (Agricultural and Related Service Contractors and Managers) and NOC 8251-B (Farmers and Farm Managers).
  • NOC codes used for lower-skilled occupations in primary agriculture NOC 8431-C (General Farm Workers), are NOT permitted to be used by the primary swine industry using the Stream for Lower Skilled Occupations.  Swine sector employers seeking lower-skilled workers MUST use the Agricultural Stream lower-skilled category along with its associated requirements and wage tables. 


Job Descriptions

Industry Job Definitions and Wage Grid

A grid outlining swine position definitions, wage rates and TFW program options was developed by the Alberta pork industry in partnership with Service Canada.

Click here to see the Alberta grid. (download the pdf)

The Manitoba pork industry has developed job descriptions as career choices within major pork operations.

Click here to view the Manitoba job descriptions.


NOTE:  The grid and job descriptions should only be used as guides.


Hiring High-Skill versus Low-Skill

Hiring higher- or lower-skill depends on the position to be filled and the wages paid.  National Occupational Classification (NOC 2006) codes categorize positions into: NOC 0, A, B, C and D.  The higher-skilled positions 0, A, B are typically managerial positions, technical or supervisory positions, often for which a post-secondary education or job-specific training is required.  The skill level of the job determines the NOC “code” which in turn determines if the job is classed higher- or lower-skilled.  Lower-skilled positions are often entry-level jobs that pay lower wages.

Workers with past swine experience or specific related training are deemed skilled (higher-skill higher-wage) and may be labeled as skilled workers or skilled livestock workers, skilled swine workers, supervisors, assistant managers or managers.  Introductory jobs (lower-skill lower-wage positions) on swine farms are typically entry level or trainee positions and currently available for recruitment only through the Agricultural Stream. These are labeled lower skill workers, or general farm workers.


Agricultural Workers - Program Streams

The agricultural sector incorporates occupations that reflect a variety of skill levels.  In an effort to balance the temporary employment needs of employers with the protection of workers, the TFWP has a variety of streams that cover lower- or higher-skilled/wage occupations.  Employers can hire temporary foreign agricultural workers under four (4) distinct streams and must meet the specific requirements of the particular stream used.

Streams for “Agricultural Workers” are:

  • Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP)
  • Agricultural Stream
  • Stream for Lower-skilled Occupations
  • Stream for Higher-skilled Occupations

View the 4 streams here


Comparing Streams - Using a Table

A “Comparison of Options and Criteria Table” has been developed by ESDC and provides a summary of the requirements and directives that employers must follow using the different streams.

View the Comparison Table here

It is recommended that employers become very familiar with all the streams as outlined on the ESDC website. Follow directions explicitly and complete all the required forms.  Each occupation stream / skill level has specific LMIA application forms and directives plus distinct advertising requirements, job criteria, wage rates, housing, employment contracts, employment conditions and other directives.


Immigrant Nominee Programs

Employers need complementary strategies in recruiting and retaining workers.  Recruiting workers using the appropriate stream and skill level at the outset determines future eligibility for nomination to a Provincial immigrant nomination program.


Recruiting foreign workers into jobs identified as “lower-skilled” can have negative consequences regarding future options, such as the renewal of work permits or the possibility for permanent residency in Canada.  Lower-skill / lower-wage positions may NOT always qualify for nomination for permanent residence (PR).

Under the Stream for Higher-skilled Occupations, and the higher-skilled Agricultural Stream, TFWs hired in positions such as: management, professional and technical occupations are eligible for permanent residency as long as they meet all of the immigration requirements set by Citizenship and Immigration Canada or the Provincial Nominee Program.

Check immigrant nomination criteria of the particular Province where the workers are employed.

Read about the Alberta immigrant nominee program here

Read about the Saskatchewan immigrant nominee program here

Read about the Manitoba provincial nominee program here



RETURN to the main Recruiting Foreign Workers page