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Foreign Qualification Recognition - In Time Immigration & Recruitment

Foreign Qualification Recognition is the process of verifying that the education, skills and experience obtained in another country meet the licensure standards for safe and competent practice in Canada.


Many occupations in Canada are regulated, so you need to be licensed by a provincial Professional Regulatory Organization to work in that occupation. Other common terms that mean the same thing as regulated are “certified” and “registered.” A license is not required to work in a non-regulated occupation. Employers can hire anyone they choose in occupations that are not regulated.



Identify the organization responsible for recognition

To have your academic credentials and professional qualifications recognized to work in Canada, the first step is to determine which organization is responsible for assessing and identifying and what documents are required. This depends on whether or not your occupation is regulated.


In Canada, about 20% of jobs are regulated to protect the health and safety of Canadians, such as doctors, engineers, plumbers, and teachers.

  • In regulated occupations, the recognition will be determined by the appropriate provincial or territorial regulatory authority.

  • In non-regulated occupations (80% of jobs), recognition is generally at the employer's discretion.


Find out if your occupation is regulated or not

In Canada, about 20 percent of jobs are regulated to protect the health and safety of Canadians by ensuring that professionals and tradespeople meet the required standards of practice and competency. As a general rule, if your chosen occupation is:

  • regulated, the recognition of your qualifications will be determined by the appropriate provincial or territorial regulatory authority;

  • non-regulated, recognition is generally at the discretion of the employer.


To work in a regulated profession or trade and use a reserved title, you must obtain a licence to practise or a qualification certificate.


Identify the documents to be recognized.

It is important to submit documents for assessment according to the specific procedure prescribed by the organization responsible for recognizing your qualifications. Those requirements are usually published on their Web site.


When seeking recognition of credentials, it is essential to identify the documents required for assessment by the authorities in Canada and the terminology used to describe them, such as:


1- Academic credentials are usually issued by an educational institution and may include:

  • diploma(s) or degree certificate(s);

  • transcript(s)/mark sheets/index;

  • detailed course outline(s).


2- Professional qualifications are usually issued by a professional regulatory authority or association in occupation and may include a:

  • certificate of competency or qualification;

  • professional qualification certificate or licence to practise.


Get information on the assessment process.

Regulatory authorities, professional associations, apprenticeship offices, and employers determine the requirements and procedures for assessing and recognizing your qualifications. Note that these requirements differ for each occupation and may differ from one province or territory to another. Therefore, it is essential to communicate directly with the relevant regulatory authority, professional association, or apprenticeship office for information on how to proceed in the jurisdiction you wish to work.


It is strongly recommended that you gather all supporting documents and arrange for them to be sent while you are still in the country in which they were issued. This will significantly facilitate the assessment and recognition process. Once all documents have been received, the organization may require several months to complete the assessment, and you will be asked to pay associated fees.


In some cases, the assessment process can begin while you are still in your country of origin. You may also be able to use an online self-assessment tool to determine how your qualifications may be recognized.


In the case of regulated professions and trades, you may also have to complete other requirements to obtain a licence to practise or certificate of qualification. These could include:

  • examinations to test your knowledge and competencies;

  • proof of language proficiency;

  • criminal record check;

  • Canadian work placement or practicum;

  • reference check or evidence of professional standing;

  • orientation course or bridging program; and/or

  • additional academic or professional requirements.


Get information on mutual recognition agreements (MRAs)

Some regulatory bodies or professional associations in Canada have negotiated mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) with other organizations outside Canada. In some cases, such MRAs are negotiated directly between two or more countries or regions.


If you already hold a licence, certificate, or registration with such an organization outside Canada or work in a signatory country or region, this could facilitate the recognition of your professional qualifications in Canada.


Get financial assistance to complete the assessment process.

Internationally trained professionals may have access to financial assistance to complete the assessment process that will allow them to work in their intended occupations. These micro-loan programs are offered to citizens or permanent residents of Canada who were trained outside Canada and did not have sufficient credit history of borrowing from a Canadian financial institution.



The process of having your credentials assessed, obtaining certification (if necessary), and finding employment in your occupation can take several months.


To stay current in their areas of expertise while seeking certification and employment, many professionals and tradespeople work in related occupations or take volunteer or internship positions to gain Canadian work experience.

Do you want your foreign academic credentials and professional qualifications recognized in Canada? We can help.

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