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Specialist High Skills Major – Construction

The Specialist High Skills Major in Construction enables students to build a foundation of sector-focused knowledge and skills before entering apprenticeship training, college, university, or an entry-level position in the workplace.

A bundle of 10 Grade 11 and Grade 12 credits

These credits make up the bundle:

  • four construction major credits that provide sector-specific knowledge and skills. The four courses must include at least one Grade 11 and one Grade 12 credit, and may include one cooperative education credit related to the sector. (This cooperative education credit would be additional to the two that are required in the bundle; see below);

  • four other required credits from the Ontario curriculum, in each of which some expectations must be met through a contextualized learning activity (CLA) for the construction sector.
  • For the apprenticeship training, college, and university pathways, the four credits include:
  • one in English;1
  • two in mathematics (one credit must be in Grade 12 and both credits must include a CLA); and
  • one in science or business studies (or a cooperative education credit related to the sector, which would be additional to the two cooperative education credits required in the bundle; see below);
  • For the workplace pathway, the four credits include:
  • two in English (one credit must be in Grade 12 and both credits must include a CLA);1
  • one in mathematics; and
  • one in science or business studies (or a cooperative education credit related to the sector, which would be additional to the two cooperative education credits required in the bundle; see below);
  • two cooperative education credits that provide authentic learning experiences in a workplace setting, enabling students to refine, extend, apply, and practice sector-specific knowledge and skills.


Note: A compulsory English credit is required in Grade 11 and in Grade 12 for graduation with an OSSD. Schools may determine whether the CLA, required for the SHSM bundle of credits, is completed in the Grade 11 or Grade 12 English course.


Sector-recognized certifications and/or training courses/programs

This SHSM sector requires students to complete a specified number of compulsory and elective sector-recognized certifications and/or training courses/programs, as indicated in the following table.

Note: Where an item in the table is capitalized, it is the proper name of the specific certification or training course/program that is appropriate for the SHSM.

Where an item is lower cased, it is the name of an area, type, or category of training for which specific certifications or training courses/programs should be selected by the school or board. The requirements are summarized in the table below.

Five (5) compulsory

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Level C – includes automated external defibrillation (AED)

health and safety – basic

Standard First Aid

Working at Heights

Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) – generic (i.e., not site-specific) instruction

Two (2) electives from the list below

anti-oppression and allyship training

basic electrical safety

Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB) – flat

chainsaw safety

computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM)

confined space awareness

customer service

elevated work platforms

energy efficiency training (e.g., Energy Star, LEED)

fall protection

fire safety and fire extinguisher use

hoisting and rigging

insulated concrete forming

land surveying basics

leadership skills


ozone-depletion prevention

portfolio development

powder-actuated tools

project management

propane in construction

scaffold safety

sector-specific vehicle operation and safety

specialized skills training program/competition (e.g., Skills Canada provincial level, WoodLINKS)

suspended access equipment

traffic control

trenching safety


Experiential Learning & Career Exploration

Experiential learning and career exploration opportunities relevant to the sector might include the following:

  • one-on-one observation of a cooperative education student at a placement in the construction sector (an example of job twinning)
  • a day-long observation of a skilled tradesperson in the construction sector (an example of job shadowing)
  • a one- or two-week work experience with an individual employed in the construction sector (an example of work experience)
  • participation in a local, provincial, or national Skills Canada competition
  • a tour of a municipal planning department
  • attendance at a construction sector trade show, conference, or job fair
  • a volunteer experience with a non-profit organization such as Habitat for Humanity


Essential Skills & Work Habits

Innovative, Creativity & Entrepreneurship Training (ICE)
The ICE training in SHSM programs will allow students to understand the world from the perspectives of others, generate new ideas, and give students the confidence to develop strategies to implement and sustain their ideas while considering the impacts and consequences their innovation has on the world around them.


Sector-delivered Contextualized Coding
(e.g. SHSM-Agriculture:  GPS, GIS, Computer-controlled Devices with Ontario Federation of Agriculture)


Sector-delivered Contextualized Mathematical literacy
(e.g. SHSM-Horticulture and Landscaping: estimating, measuring, and budgeting with Landscape Ontario)

Reach Ahead Experiences

Students are provided one or more reach ahead experiences – opportunities to take the next steps along their chosen pathway – as shown in the following examples:

  • Apprenticeship: visiting an approved apprenticeship delivery agent in the sector
  • College: interviewing a college student enrolled in a sector-specific program
  • University: observing a university class in a sector-related program
  • Workplace: interviewing an employee in the sector


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