Frequently Asked Questions

In general, National Occupational Standards (NOS) describe knowledge and skill requirements for an occupation. For example, in the case of the Food Processing Operator (FPO) Standard, the NOS consists of the statements describing the standard knowledge, skills and performance requirements to be considered competent in this particular occupation.

NOS reflects the full scope of the occupation covering all of the major areas of a particular job and act as a benchmark against which to compare the performance of employees in this occupation.

There are multiple phases involved in the creation of a National Occupational Standard, the phases are as follows:

  1. Define & Document:
    Each standard refers to a specific role/ occupation within an industry. To develop a standard many parties collaborate their efforts (such as consultants and industry experts) to define the occupation, identify all the tasks and functions performed, and to describe the required knowledge and abilities.
  2. Verification:
    Using focus groups and an advisory committee for verification, the definition of the role and all statements pertaining to the competencies required are analyzed, to ensure accuracy.
  3. Validation:
    Structured validation sessions are executed across Canada whereby individuals with expertise in the occupation review and provide additional input to the draft document.
  4. Approval:
    An advisory committee reviews the standard and approves a final draft for publishing in both official languages.
These standards allow employees to get a good understanding of what they need to know for their job and what they need to do on their job. They also define what it takes to succeed in a particular occupation; they are extremely useful for employers and mangers for a variety of workforce management purposes!
These standards are typically used by: employers, managers, HR managers, employees, students, career counselors, trainers, industry associations, governments, local authorities, etc.
Standards inform programs and policy decisions. They are used for:

Many other sector councils have NOSs for various occupations within their industries, some of these industries are: forestry, agricultural, environmental, tourism, electricity, construction, mining, etc.
No, you are not required to use the standards. The NOSs are voluntarily adopted by manufacturers and processors who want to remain competitive in the Canadian and global market.
These standards apply to all employees in a particular occupation. For example the Food Process Operator National Occupational Standard applies to all employees working as Food Process Operator; regardless of their work setting or company size.