Ontario Provincial Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) System
The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (Ministry) and its training partners are committed to working together in a spirit of partnership to maintain and expand an apprenticeship system dedicated to developing the highest quality workforce.
The Ontario College of Trades (College) is the regulatory body for trades and apprenticeship governed under the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act, 2009.
Ministry staff may conduct a Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) review to determine whether an approved apprenticeship applicant or an apprentice may be exempted from some or all of the formal instruction requirements (curriculum standards/learning outcomes) of the apprenticeship program for the relevant trade.
Where formal instruction exists, on-the-job experience cannot be used for exemption.
Individuals may be exempted from some or all of the classroom training by level(s) or reportable subject(s) for an apprenticeship program by providing documentary evidence (i.e. proof of prior formal instruction, completion) for assessment such as:
- Successful completion of an exemption test approved by the Ontario College of Trades (the College) for the level or those reportable subjects for which the individual is seeking the exemption;
- Successful completion of a program deemed equivalent to the formal instruction requirements of the apprenticeship program (see programs below);
- An Employment and Training Consultant (ETC)-approved exemption based on a prior learning assessment and recognition (PLAR) review conducted because there was no exemption test available for the trade;
- Successful completion of the classroom training through an earlier version of the curriculum standard;
- Successful completion of the learning outcomes for a level in the curriculum standard or schedule of training in a way that was pre-approved by the Ministry for that specific apprentice (e.g. completes a regular postsecondary course because no training delivery agency (TDA) offers this classroom training; completes an approved correspondence course; completes in-house training with their employer);
- Successful completion or exemption of a level of classroom training in a common core of the trade.
Waiving an Exemption
If an individual exempted from a level of classroom training based on a successful exemption test decides to waive the exemption and take the level, the individual must enrol in and pass all the reportable subjects for that level.
The following programs are deemed to be equivalent to the formal instruction requirements for specific trades.
Co-op Diploma Apprenticeship (CODA) Program
- Because the formal instruction requirements of a Ministry-approved CODA program include the curriculum standard of the apprenticeship training program for the relevant trade, graduates who follow the same curriculum as their CODA counterparts (students commonly referred to as side-by-sides) are exempt from all classroom training for the relevant trade.
- Individuals who have successfully completed the CODA equivalent of one or more levels of the apprenticeship curriculum standard can be exempted from those levels of classroom training. This includes:
- CODA participants who do not graduate from a CODA program,
- postsecondary diploma students who register as apprentices and complete a level of formal instruction in classes with their approved CODA counterparts, and
- individually registered apprentices who complete a level of their formal instruction in classes with their approved CODA counterparts.
- Equivalency for the Co-op Diploma Apprenticeship (CODA) program is retroactive to classes that started in September 1, 2009.
1,500-hour Hairstyling Programs at Private Career Colleges (PCCs)
Graduates of an approved 1,500-hour hairstyling program based on the apprenticeship curriculum standard for hairstylist and offered by a private career college registered under the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005 may be exempted from both levels of classroom training for a hairstylist apprenticeship.
Individuals who participated in but did not successfully complete a hairstyling program at a private career college as described above, must write the exemption test for each level for which they are requesting an exemption.
1,500-hour Hairstyling Program Standard leading to an Ontario College Diploma at a College of Applied Arts and Technology (CAAT)
- Because the learning outcomes have been aligned and harmonized for apprenticeship, private career college and CAAT programs, students who graduate with an Ontario college diploma will no longer have to write exemption tests.
- Graduates of the postsecondary hairstyling program that culminates with an Ontario college diploma may be exempted from both levels of apprenticeship classroom training for Hairstylist.
Individuals who participated in, but did not successfully complete, the postsecondary hairstyling program standard, i.e. did not earn an Ontario college diploma as described above or did not complete 1,500 hours of vocational training, must write the exemption test for each level for which they are requesting an exemption.
Note: Proof of an Ontario college diploma and a transcript verifying completion of 1,500 hours of vocational training using the Hairstyling Program Standard are required.
Two-year Culinary Management Diploma Program at a College of Applied Arts and Technology (CAAT)
Graduates of a two-year diploma program in Culinary Management at a CAAT that is also an approved training delivery agent (TDA) for the provincial apprenticeship program for Cook (415A) may be exempted from both levels of apprenticeship classroom training for Cook. Individuals who participated in, but did not successfully complete their Culinary Management program must write the exemption test for each level for which they are requesting an exemption.
TSSA Gas Technician 3 (G3) holders
Individuals holding a Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) certificate of qualification as a Gas Technician 3 (G3) may be exempted from Level 1 classroom training of the Gas Technician (636G) Apprenticeship.
Women in Skilled Trades (WIST) Pre-Apprenticeship Programs
Individuals who successfully graduate from a WIST pre-apprenticeship program delivered by an institution that is also an approved training delivery agent (TDA) in the same provincial apprenticeship program may be exempted from Level 1 of classroom training for the trade.
Letters of in-school equivalency that were issued by the Ministry prior to December 31, 2009 are not valid.