Having a painter’s licence helps to validate your contractor services and improves your potential for winning jobs and earning more money.

Licensed painter standing next to a scaffold wearing a Benjamin Moore hat.
If you have been thinking about obtaining a painting contractor licence or certification, here are some basics to get you started.

Q: “Are Painters Required to be Licensed?”

A: While you may not need a licence to be a painter in Canada, certification may be required in Quebec and is available―but voluntary―in all other provinces and territories. Certification is also known as a 404C Painter and Decorator certificate.

Q: “What are the Requirements for Certification, Licence and/or Journeyperson status?”

A: Trade certification by provinces or territories may require 6,000 hours of experience or approximately 3 years on the job, some high school, and college or industry courses. Some licensed painters have gone through a registered apprenticeship program and others have had a Trade Equivalency Assessment performed.

An assessment typically costs approximately $265 (Canadian dollars), not including exam or membership fees. Certified Journeypersons are recognized as a qualified and skilled painter. They can also train and mentor another registered apprentice. To earn a Journeyperson certificate from your province or an authorized entity representing that province (such as a trade school), you may need to complete required on-the-job training, technical training and exams.

Q: “For how long is certification valid?”

A: Once you are licensed, your certification is typically valid for 1 year. Renewal fees start at $60 but may go up from there, depending on your province or territory

Q: “What is the Interprovincial Standards’ Red Seal?”

A: Once certified by your province or territory, you may qualify for the Interprovincial Standards’ Red Seal. With a Red Seal, you can work as a painter anywhere in Canada. It is not mandatory, but a Red Seal endorsement on your provincial/territorial trade certificate declares that you have the proper training to be a professional painter. The Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship (CCDA) administers the Red Seal program.

Q: “How much does the Red Seal cost?”

A: Red Seal exam fees range from $150 and $480, depending on the province or territory.

Q: “How do I Earn an Apprenticeship?”

A: Some provinces or territories may require you to complete a three-year apprenticeship program. Apprenticeship training programs for painters vary across provinces, but generally involve three, 12-month periods, including at least 3,900 hours of on-the-job training, three eight-week blocks of technical training, and a final certificate exam.

Q: “What About Insurance?”

A: In whatever province you are in, you may need to have liability insurance as a painter. This will help protect you against claims of third-party bodily injury and property damage. The amount of liability insurance coverage required will depend on the province, the size of the painting project, or the location of the job.

Consult with an insurance professional from your province to learn about additional insurance requirements and costs.

On Track for Success as a Painter

Obtaining a painter's certification can validate your services and your professionalism, and set you apart from non-certified painters. A small but wise investment in your business, certification is yet another notch in your professional tool belt.

For more information, contact a Benjamin Moore Contractor Representative or visit a local Benjamin Moore retailer. You can also find more professional advice in Build Your Business, which was created specifically for painting contractors.

Licensed painter carrying two cans of paint walking down a hall in white overalls.
The information presented above does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal, financial or insurance advice. This guidance is for general informational purposes only. Readers should consult their own legal, financial and insurance advisers in connection with their business.

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