The SHSM–Business enables students to build a foundation of sector-focused knowledge and skills before graduating and entering apprenticeship training, college, university, or an entry-level position in the workplace. Where local circumstances allow, boards may elect to offer one or more variants of the SHSM in a given sector, each with a particular area of focus. This SHSM may be designed to have a particular focus – for example, on entrepreneurship, finance, accounting, retail, marketing, international business, economics, management and administration, or event planning. This focus is achieved through the selection of the four major credits in the bundle.

Required Components for the SHSM–Business

The SHSM–Business has the following five required components:

1. A bundle of nine Grade 11 and Grade 12 credits

These credits make up the bundle:

  • four business 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);
  • three other required credits from the Ontario curriculum. Schools may commit to including a contextualized learning activity (CLA) for the business sector in each of the three credits. In each credit, some of the course expectations are then met through the CLA. (Schools that do not formally commit to including CLAs are still free to offer them in one or more of the credits.)

    For the apprenticeship training, college, and university pathways, the three credits include:

    • one in English;footnote 1
    • two in mathematics (one credit must be in Grade 12)

    For the workplace pathway, the three credits include:

    • two in English (one credit must be in Grade 12)footnote 1 and
    • one in mathematics
  • two cooperative education credits that provide authentic learning experiences in a workplace setting, enabling students to refine, extend, apply, and practise knowledge and skills outlined in the cooperative education curriculum as well as sector-specific knowledge and skills.
CreditsApprenticeship Training
Grades 11–12
Grades 11–12
Grades 11–12
Grades 11–12
Major Credits
One credit may be substituted with a cooperative education credit (additional to the 2 required co-op credits)
Including at least
one Gr. 11 and
one Gr. 12 credit
Including at least
one Gr. 11 and
one Gr. 12 credit
Including at least
one Gr. 11 and
one Gr. 12 credit
Including at least
one Gr. 11 and
one Gr. 12 credit
English may include a CLA in each credit1112
One credit must be in Gr. 12
Mathematics may include a CLA in each credit2
One credit must be in Gr. 12
One credit must be in Gr. 12
One credit must be in Gr. 12
Cooperative Education2222
Total number of credits9999

2. 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 lowercased, 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.

Four (4) compulsory

  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Level C – includes automated external defibrillation (AED)
  • customer service
  • Standard First Aid
  • Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) – generic (i.e., not site-specific) instruction

Two (2) electives from the list below

  • advanced training in a technology
  • anti-oppression and allyship training
  • cash handling and register training
  • effective networking
  • ergonomics
  • first aid/CPR/AED awareness
  • fundraising
  • infection control
  • negotiation training
  • portfolio development
  • public speaking
  • sector-specific software 1
  • successful exhibiting
  • advanced training in a technique
  • business etiquette
  • counterfeit detection
  • equity and inclusion
  • ethical considerations
  • fraud prevention
  • health and safety – basic
  • leadership skills
  • personality inventory
  • project management
  • retail representative
  • specialized business program/competition (e.g., regional or provincial level DECA, Junior Achievement Company Program, Stock Market Competition, Make Your Pitch, Summer Company Program)

3. Experiential learning and career exploration activities

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 business sector (an example of job twinning)
  • a day-long observation of a business person (an example of job shadowing)
  • a one- or two-week work experience with a member of a business association or a professional in the sector (an example of work experience)
  • attendance at a retail show (e.g., a home show or craft show), conference, or workshop focusing on the business sector
  • participation in a local, provincial, or national contest or competition with a focus on business (e.g., a business plan competition or stock market competition)
  • working with a mentor within the business community (e.g., to provide assistance in creating a business plan)
  • a tour of the local chamber of commerce

4. 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

5. Sector-partnered experiences (SPEs)

Students engage with a sector partner and apply skills to gain insight into the relationship between this sector and ICE (innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship), coding, and/or mathematical literacy.

Pathways for the SHSM–Business

See the table illustrating the four pathways and required credits leading to completion of this SHSM.

Awareness building (Grades 7 and 8)

See Section B3.4 for information on building awareness of SHSM programs among students in Grades 7 and 8.

Exploration (Grades 9 and 10)

See Section B3.4 for information on providing Grade 9 and 10 students with opportunities for exploration of SHSM programs. In addition, students considering this SHSM can be encouraged to enrol in the following courses to become better informed about careers and postsecondary options in the sector:

  • Introduction to Business: This Grade 9 course is recommended for all students following SHSM pathways that have a business focus. The course provides students with opportunities to explore a variety of business topics by engaging in activities related to them.
  • Career Studies (compulsory) and Discovering the Workplace: Some of the expectations in these Grade 10 courses provide opportunities for students to explore occupations and other postsecondary options in the sector and to participate in experiential learning activities.
  • Information and Communication Technology in Business: This course is recommended for any Grade 10 student who is considering enrolling in an SHSM – Business program.

Specialization (Grades 11 and 12)

Students acquire the sector-specific knowledge and technical skills required to earn their Ontario Secondary Diploma (OSSD) with an SHSM–Business by completing its five required components. Students and their parents/guardians are encouraged to consult with guidance counsellors and teachers to select the courses that will enable students to pursue their goals.

Students pursuing an apprenticeship pathway should consider the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP), which enables them to start an apprenticeship while earning their OSSD.

Students pursuing a university pathway are advised to complete their required cooperative education credits in Grade 11, in order to allow room in their timetables in Grade 12 for credits needed to meet university entrance requirements.

Program Pathways: SHSM–Business

This template shows program requirements for the SHSM–Business in Grades 11 and 12, along with some of the additional credits needed for an OSSD. It is provided to help guide students in choosing the credits they need to meet the SHSM requirements in the pathway of their choice. Students should always review their pathways plan with their parents/guardians and their teachers to ensure that they have all the credits they need to graduate with an SHSM–Business.

  • Shaded boxes represent required credits in the bundle for the SHSM–Business.
  • (C) represents a compulsory credit for the OSSD.
  • The SHSM bundle of credits must include two cooperative education credits, but may include a maximum of four. The possible options are noted below, and explained fully in Section A1.2 of this guide.
Apprenticeship Training Pathway
Grades 11–12
College Pathway
Grades 11–12
University Pathway
Grades 11–12
Workplace Pathway
Grades 11–12
1 English credit (C)*
(in either Gr. 11 or Gr. 12)
1 English credit (C)*
(in either Gr. 11 or Gr. 12)
1 English credit (C)*
(in either Gr. 11 or Gr. 12)
2 English credits (C)*
(One must be in Grade 12.)
2 math credits (C)*
(One credit must be in Gr. 12.)
2 math credits (C)*
(One credit must be in Gr. 12.)
2 math credits (C)*
(One credit must be in Gr. 12.)
1 math credit (C)*
(in either Gr. 11 or Gr. 12)
4 business major credits (including a Gr. 11 and a Gr. 12 credit)
A cooperative education credit related to the sector may be substituted for one of these four credits.
4 business major credits (including a Gr. 11 and a Gr. 12 credit)
A cooperative education credit related to the sector may be substituted for one of these four credits.
4 business major credits (including a Gr. 11 and a Gr. 12 credit)
A cooperative education credit related to the sector may be substituted for one of these four credits.
4 business major credits (including a Gr. 11 and a Gr. 12 credit)
A cooperative education credit related to the sector may be substituted for one of these four credits.
2 cooperative education credits related to the sector (in either Gr. 11 or Gr. 12)**
May be used as (C) credits
2 cooperative education credits related to the sector (in either Gr. 11 or Gr. 12)**
May be used as (C) credits
2 cooperative education credits related to the sector (in either Gr. 11 or Gr. 12)**
May be used as (C) credits
2 cooperative education credits related to the sector (in either Gr. 11 or Gr. 12)**
May be used as (C) credits
2 optional or compulsory credits (Gr. 11)2 optional or compulsory credits (Gr. 11)2 optional or compulsory credits (Gr. 11)2 optional or compulsory credits (Gr. 11)
2 optional or compulsory credits (Gr. 12)2 optional or compulsory credits (Gr. 12)2 optional or compulsory credits (Gr. 12)2 optional or compulsory credits (Gr. 12)

* A contextualized learning activity (CLA) must be included in the course in schools that have committed to offering CLAs (see Other Required Credits in section A1.2). (Note that students must take Grade 11 and Grade 12 English to graduate with an OSSD, but for the apprenticeship training, college, and university pathways, the CLA may be offered in either grade. Also for those pathways, both math credits must include a CLA. For the workplace pathway, both English credits must include a CLA.)

** May be taken the summer before Grade 11

Note: To guide students and teachers in the development of their SHSM program, schools can access the latest approved SHSM course list for each sector through their SHSM board lead.

Occupations in the Business Sector

The following table provides examples of occupations in the business sector, with corresponding National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes, sorted according to the type of postsecondary education or training the occupations would normally require.

Apprenticeship Training

  • Conference and event planners 1226
  • Retail salespersons 6421
  • Storekeepers and partspersons 1522


  • Accounting and related clerks 1431
  • Accounting technicians and bookkeepers 1311
  • Administrative assistants 1241
  • Administrative officers 1221
  • Assessors, valuators, and appraisers 1314
  • Banking, insurance, and other financial clerks 1434
  • Conference and event planners 1226
  • Court officers and justices of the peace 1227
  • Desktop publishing operators and related occupations 1423
  • Human resources and recruitment officers 1223
  • Human resources professionals 1121
  • Insurance adjusters and claims examiners 1312
  • Legal administrative assistants 1242
  • Personnel clerk 1415
  • Professional occupations in business management consulting 1122
  • Purchasing agents and officers 1225
  • Retail and wholesale buyers 6222
  • Social policy researchers, consultants, and program officers 4164
  • Supervisors, finance, and insurance office workers 1212
  • Supervisors, supply chain, tracking, and scheduling co-ordination occupations 1215


  • Business development officers and marketing researchers and consultants 4163
  • Economists and economic policy researchers and analysts 4162
  • Executive assistants 1222
  • Financial and investment analysts 1112
  • Financial auditors and accountants 1111
  • Human resources professionals 1121
  • Mathematicians, statisticians, and actuaries 2161
  • Professional occupations in business management consulting 1122
  • Securities agents, investment dealers, and brokers 1113
  • Social policy researchers, consultants, and program officers 4164


  • Accounting and related clerks 1431
  • Administrative assistants 1241
  • Banking, insurance, and other financial clerks 1434
  • Customer service representatives – financial services 6551
  • Customs, ship, and other brokers 1315
  • General office support workers 1411
  • Mail, postal, and related workers 1511
  • Other customer and information services representatives 6552
  • Payroll administrators 1432
  • Personnel clerks 1415
  • Purchasing and inventory control workers 1524
  • Real estate agents and salespersons 6232
  • Receptionists 1414
  • Records management technicians 1413
  • Retail and wholesale buyers 6222
  • Retail salespersons 6421
  • Shippers and receivers 1521
  • Storekeepers and partspersons 1522

Note: This information is based on the 2016 NOC. An update to the NOC in 2016 resulted in changes to the codes and titles for some occupations, and in some cases to the occupations included in the group. For more detail, refer to the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) web page, Ontario's Labour Market ( (Note also that some of the names of occupations listed here reflect common usage in the sector and may differ slightly from those used in the NOC system.)

Postsecondary Programs and Training in the Business Sector

The following are examples of programs and training related to careers in the business sector and the accreditations associated with each.

Apprenticeship Training
Construction Materials RetailerCertificate of apprenticeship/certificate of qualification
Hardware, Lumber, and Building Materials RetailerCertificate of apprenticeship/certificate of qualification
Special Events CoordinatorCertificate of apprenticeship/certificate of qualification
Accounting and FinanceDiploma/advanced diploma/bachelor's degree
Accounting Business SystemsDiploma
Administrative AssistantDiploma
Advertising – Integrated Marketing Communications, Media Sales, Media Marketing and Sales, Creative Media, Graphic DesignDiploma
Advertising and Graphic DesignDiploma
Applied BusinessBachelor's degree
Business–Insurance, Accounting, Marketing, Information Systems, LogisticsDiploma
Business AdministrationDiploma/advanced diploma/bachelor's degree
Business Computer SystemsDiploma
Business OperationsDiploma
Business Skills and MarketingDiploma
Community Economic and Social Development AdministrationDiploma
Corporate Communications/Public RelationsAdvanced diploma/bachelor's degree
E-Business AdministrationDiploma
E-Business Supply Chain ManagementBachelor's degree
E-Commerce ManagementDiploma
EconomicsBachelor's degree
Event ManagementDiploma
Fashion BusinessDiploma
Financial Planning, Financial ServicesDiploma/bachelor's degree
General BusinessDiploma/advanced diploma
Human Relations ManagementDiploma
Human Resources ManagementAdvanced Diploma
International Accounting and FinanceBachelor's degree
International BusinessDiploma/bachelor's degree
Marketing AdministrationDiploma/advanced diploma/graduate certificate
Materials and Operations ManagementAdvanced diploma
Professional AccountingDiploma
Professional Financial Service, Medical IntensiveDiploma
Public Institution Management and AdministrationDiploma
Public RelationsDiploma
Small Business and EntrepreneurshipDiploma
Small Business ManagementDiploma
Sports Business ManagementDiploma
AccountingBachelor's degree
Accounting and Financial ManagementBachelor's degree
Administrative Studies/Commercial StudiesBachelor's degree
Advertising DesignBachelor's degree
Business AdministrationBachelor's degree
Business and Computer ScienceBachelor's degree
Business and MathematicsBachelor's degree
Business CommunicationsBachelor's degree
CommerceBachelor's degree
Commerce and Computer ScienceBachelor's degree
Commerce and FinanceBachelor's degree
E-BusinessBachelor's degree
E-CommerceBachelor's degree
EconomicsBachelor's degree
Economics and BusinessBachelor's degree
Economics and FinanceBachelor's degree
Entrepreneurial ManagementBachelor's degree
EntrepreneurshipBachelor's degree
Environment and BusinessBachelor's degree
FinanceBachelor's degree
Financial MathematicsBachelor's degree
Housing and Real Estate ManagementBachelor's degree
Human Resources Management/Industrial RelationsBachelor's degree
International Business/International EconomicsBachelor's degree
International Investment Finance and BankingBachelor's degree
International ManagementBachelor's degree
International TradeBachelor's degree
Management Economics/Industry and FinanceBachelor's degree
MarketingBachelor's degree
Mathematics and Business AdministrationBachelor's degree
Mathematics for CommerceBachelor's degree
Operational Research/Operations ManagementBachelor's degree
Organizational Studies/LeadershipBachelor's degree
Retail ManagementBachelor's degree
Sports Administration/Sports ManagementBachelor's degree
Strategic Management in International Human ResourcesBachelor's degree
Sustainable Local Economic DevelopmentBachelor's degree
Training for the Workplace
Accounting and Information TechnologyCertificate
Advanced Web Development for E-BusinessCertificate
Advertising DesignCertificate
Business FoundationsCertificate
Business ManagementCertificate
Business Office SkillsCertificate
Communications ExcellenceCertificate
Customer Service Fundamentals – InsuranceCertificate
Customer Service LeadershipCertificate
Desktop PublishingCertificate
Finance and Insurance ClerkCertificate
Human Resources AssociateCertificate
Human Resources ManagementCertificate
Office Administration – Executive, General, Legal, MedicalCertificate
Office Administration – GeneralCertificate
Retail Sales AssociateCertificate
Retail Sales ExcellenceCertificate
Small Business – Office AutomationCertificate
Web-Design Development and MaintenanceCertificate
Workplace LeadershipCertificate


  • footnote[1] Back to paragraph Note that a compulsory English credit is required in Grade 11 and in Grade 12 for graduation with an OSSD. Schools may determine whether the CLA, if offered, is completed in the Grade 11 or Grade 12 English course.