How to Verify CWB Welder Qualification

In Canada, people performing welding on certain products, building and bridge structures, and their miscellaneous components (railings, stairs, guards, etc.) must be qualified by the Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB) and working for a certified company under the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) standards W47.1, W47.2 and W186. A CWB welding personnel qualification is the only nationally recognized welding credential within Canada.

Although the CWB makes periodic inspections of certified companies to ensure that they continue to comply with the requirements of these standards, these inspections do not eliminate the need for a certified company’s quality control methods or a purchaser’s comprehensive inspection program to ensure that the required quality is attained.

For welded components mandating company certification, owners, engineers of record, general contractors and purchasers are accountable to ensure the welding activities are awarded to certified companies.

What is the effective validity of the CWB Welder qualification?

CWB qualifications can be obtained by completing practical qualification tests:

  • When employed by a CWB certified company.
  • Through CWB-accredited Test Centres.
  • As a member with a CWB-accredited Union Hall.

The common standard CWB transferable qualification classifications remain in effect for two years and are only valid when employed with a certified company. These classifications include:

  • “FW” - Ability to deposit fillet welds and tack welds
  • “S” - Ability to weld the full thickness of material when welding from both sides with or without back gouging, or when welding from one side with backing
        o “S” also qualifies for “FW”
  • “T” - Ability to weld the full thickness of material from one side without backing.
        o “T” also qualifies for “S” and “FW”

A welder’s qualification remains the property of CWB and may be revoked if:

  •  The welder is not engaged in a given process for a period of three months or more.
  •  A welder having a transferable identification card leaves the employment of the company and is not reemployed by a certified company for a period longer than three months.
  •  A welder having a nontransferable identification card leaves the employment of the company with whom such qualification has been obtained.
  •  There’s modification/fraudulent use of qualifications.

It is the certified company’s responsibility to ensure qualified personnel maintain the skill and competency within the two-year qualification period. In cases where the welder’s ability is questioned, their qualification must be suspended immediately, and they shall be required to pass a check test in the position and class held before the qualification is reinstated.

Probationary Welder Qualifications: Applicable CSA certification standards allow welding personnel who do not have a valid qualification before being employed on production to successfully pass the appropriate welder qualification tests under the direct supervision of the certified company’s designated welding supervisor. The welding supervisor shall then sign and date a declaration and retain the fully identified specimens for later inspection by CWB. Welding personnel shall be designated “probationary” and shall be reported to the CWB for official testing without delay, and in the interim, shall be restricted to welding under supervision.

Moving forward, individuals testing directly within a test centre’s accreditation will no longer be provided with plastic qualification cards. 
The qualification will be specified on a PDF document indicating that the candidate successfully passed the practical test. When employed with a certified company, the certified company can request a plastic card from the CWB. Use of welder qualification cards as proof of company certification to the CSA Standard listed on the card (e.g. CSA W47.1, W47.2, etc.) is not permitted. Individuals and non-CWB certified companies that have not met the requirements are not permitted to advertise in any manner that they are CWB qualified/certified. CWB only grants permission to companies that have met all requirements of the CSA Standard to make a claim of CWB certification.

What is the meaning of “This card is valid only while employed by a CWB certified company”?
For products mandating company certification by means of governing codes and standards or purchaser specifications (e.g., National or provincial building code), the qualification cards are only valid when the holder of the card is employed or subcontracted as workers with a certified company. Qualification cards are not valid when in use by individuals or by non-certified companies for products mandating company certification.

Can individuals or non-certified companies be subcontracted to certified companies to perform welding on product mandating company certification?

  • Yes, when individuals or non-certified companies are subcontracted as qualified manpower resources, similarly to a qualified welder from a union hall.
  • Requirements of a certified company subcontracting individuals or non-certified companies:
         o Certified companies are responsible to ensure that all requirements of the design, construction and certification standards are met.
        • Have full control of all welding activities, oversees the work, and provide frequent instructions.
        • Ensures welding procedures are followed and equipment is in good working order.
        • Ensures consumables/shielding medium are CWB approved.
        • Ensures welding activities conform to the requirements of the drawing.
        • Ensures adequate qualifications of all contracted welding personnel.
        • Indicate all contracted welding personnel on their monthly report of welding personnel.
        • Visually inspect the entire work performed by the contracted welding personnel.

How can I verify CWB company certification and welder qualifications?
Contact CWB for verification and questions on the validity and use of welder qualification cards.

There are several methods to verify company certification:
• Visit to search our certification directory.
• Email
• Call 1-800-844-6790

Below is an example of a Welder Qualification Record that is issued to a welder who has tested under a Test Centre accreditation. For an example of a Welder Qualification Card and a description of what information is featured on it, please refer to the Fall 2023 issue of WELD Magazine

Care must be exercised to ensure that an organization’s certification and the scope of certification is both current and appropriate for the type of work being completed.

CWB Group, Office of Public Safety and CWB Certification

The information provided is intended for general interest, to educate and inform our audience. The CWB and those providing feedback to the questions do not take any responsibility for any omissions or misstatements that could lead to incorrect applications or possible solutions that industry may be facing.

How-It Works content is submitted by Industry experts to the CWB Association and does not necessarily reflect the views of the CWB Group. When testing for CWB Certification or CWB Education, please refer to CWB Education textbooks or CSA standards as the official source of information.