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How to Become a General Contractor in Manitoba

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General contractors are construction professionals who provide remodeling and construction services in a variety of different areas. Unlike some contractors who specialize in installing windows or replacing roofs, general contractors are more like a jack-of-all-trades. In Canada, general contractors must obtain credentials similar to those that contractors in the United States must have in order to perform construction work. Each province determines what qualifications general contractors must have to conduct business. General contractors in Manitoba generally need to hold a "Certificate of Qualification," a common credential among Canadian contractors.

Determine which kind of services you will offer as a general contractor. This will determine what type of credential you will have to obtain to offer your construction services. In most Canadian provinces, a Certificate of Qualification is needed rather than a license. These certificates indicate that you have met the necessary experience and competency requirements to provide services to consumers. Certification can be thought of as a step above licensing. Aside from electricians who must be both licensed and certified, other contracting services can usually be practiced with certification only. Plumbers are not required to be certified, and other professionals like sheet metal workers, gas fitters and refrigeration workers have additional qualifications to meet.

Apply for an apprenticeship while you are still in high school. The provincial government of Manitoba recommends starting an apprenticeship during high school in order to get a jumpstart on your career and because there are financial incentives to do so. Many different specific trades are eligible for the high school apprenticeship program. Some of these include bricklayers, cabinet workers, roofers and painters and decorators, among others. These apprenticeship programs can be extended beyond high school.

Apply for registration as a "certified journeyperson" if you have yet to complete an apprenticeship. In Manitoba, several trades require you to complete an apprenticeship before you can be considered certified. These include construction electricians, steamfitters and pipefitters, industrial electricians and air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics.

Complete the Trades Qualification Application (TQ) and the forms to verify work experience. The TQ can be completed online or printed and submitted via mail. The TQ will allow you to take an examination to obtain your Certificate of Qualification. You must be able to prove that you have significant experience in the trade in which you are obtaining your certificate. Once you are approved to sit for the examination, you will need to submit the appropriate examination fee of $250 (as of 2010). You must score at least a 70 percent on the exam in order to pass.


Jared Lewis is a professor of history, philosophy and the humanities. He has taught various courses in these fields since 2001. A former licensed financial adviser, he now works as a writer and has published numerous articles on education and business. He holds a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in theology and has completed doctoral work in American history.