Foreign Credential Recognition

Foreign credential recognition

If you are thinking about living and working in Canada, you need to know about credential recognition. Understanding how your education and work credentials are recognized will help you adapt to life and work in Canada.

Foreign credential recognition is the process of verifying that the education, training and job experience you obtained in another country are equivalent to the standards established for Canadian workers.

Here are some things you need to know:

  • Qualifying to immigrate to Canada does not mean that your education, work experience and professional credentials are automatically recognized in Canada.
  • Working in some jobs in Canada, including certain trades, may require a licence. To get a licence, you will need to have your credentials recognized.
  • You can start the credential assessment and recognition process before you arrive in Canada.
  • Getting your credentials recognized takes time and costs money.

In order to facilitate the process of foreign credential recognition, the federal government has a Foreign Credentials Referral Office (FCRO). The FCRO provides information on how you can get your credentials recognized in Canada. This information is available on the FCRO website at or from Service Canada (call 1-888-854-1805 or visit a Service Canada Centre in person). The FCRO website is also an excellent source of information on many other aspects of looking for work in Canada.

Regulated occupations

Many professions set their own standards for how the profession is practised. These are called regulated occupations. In Canada, about 20 percent of jobs are in occupations regulated by the provincial or territorial governments. Through legislation and regulations, the provinces and territories give professional organizations the authority to regulate certain professions. The role of these organizations is to protect public health and safety and to ensure that professionals meet the required standards of practice and competence.

If you want to work in a regulated occupation and use a regulated title, you must have a licence or certificate or be registered with the body responsible for regulating your occupation in the province or territory where you plan to work.

Some fields where regulated occupations are commonly found include:

  • health care
  • financial services
  • law and legal services
  • engineering

Other regulated occupations include skilled trades or apprenticeable trades.

Requirements for entry into a regulated occupation can vary between provinces and territories. They usually include:

  • the examinations
  • an evaluation of language and communication skills
  • a specified period of supervised work experience
  • the fees

Each regulated occupation sets its own requirements for getting a licence or certificate, usually through the provincial or territorial regulatory body or professional association.

Unregulated occupations

A non-regulated occupation is one you can work in without a licence, certificate or registration. Most jobs in Canada are in nonregulated occupations.

Requirements for employment vary between employers. However, always be prepared to show that you have the education or experience to do the job.

You will have to demonstrate a certain level of skill or competence, a specific amount of education, and even the right personal qualities and soft skills for the job. For example, the field of marketing is not regulated, but most employers will expect you to have a degree or a certificate in business and some specific training or experience in marketing.

It is up to the employer to decide whether the qualifications you have earned outside Canada are equivalent to the Canadian qualifications needed for the job.

Source: Welcome to Canada: What you should know

www.cic.gc.caImmigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. Reproduced with the permission of the Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, 2013.

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