Credentials & Professional Licensing
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Credentials & Professional Licensing

What You Need to Know About Professional Certification / Licensing: Labour mobility in Canada for regulated occupations is governed by Chapter 7 of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA), a federal-provincial-territorial agreement.

The purpose of the CFTA is to enhance the flow of goods and services, investment and labour mobility, eliminate technical barriers to trade, greatly expand procurement coverage, and promote regulatory cooperation within Canada.

In particular, Chapter 7 of the CFTA:
  1. allows any certified worker in a regulated occupation to be recognized as qualified to practice that occupation without additional material training, experience, examination or assessment (“certificate-to-certificate recognition”), unless an exception has been posted;   
  2. requires that regulators demonstrate why a worker’s certification is not acceptable instead of workers having to demonstrate that their certification should be accepted (“reverse burden of proof”).
Is your occupation regulated in your current province or territory (P/T)? Is it regulated in the P/T where you plan to move? “Certified” means that you have a certificate, license, registration or any other form of official documentation, issued by a regulatory body, which allows you to work or to use a specific title in a regulated occupation in your P/T. Certified workers may also be referred to as regulated, registered or licensed workers. Occupational regulation is mainly a P/T responsibility which is often delegated to independent regulatory authorities. The federal government is responsible for regulating certain occupations such as pilots and Canada land surveyors. An occupation that is regulated in one P/T is not necessarily regulated in all other P/T’s. Also, an occupation that is regulated in several P/T’s may have varying “scope of practice” among those P/T’s.

Historically, this has made movement from one jurisdiction to another challenging. Contact your Labour Mobility Coordinator (LMC) if you are unsure whether your occupation is regulated in a specific P/T. There may be additional certification requirements allowed under Chapter 7 of the CFTA because they are not considered “material”. The CFTA includes a list of non-material requirements that P/T accrediting bodies may require of a worker before granting them professional certification. These non-material requirements include but are not limited to:
  • paying application and processing fees
  • obtaining insurance
  • undergoing a criminal background check
  • providing evidence of good character
Any non-material requirements are required to be the same as, or substantially similar to but no more onerous than, those imposed by the regulatory authority on its own workers. The requirement cannot be a disguised restriction on labour mobility. If you have questions about what requirements are considered “non-material” contact your provincial LMC.

How can LMC’s help you, a certified worker? Each province and territory has a LMC whose job is to promote the implementation and ongoing adherence to labour mobility provisions under the CFTA. This can involve interacting with regulatory bodies to make sure that certified workers have their certification recognized. The LMC’s are responsible for:
  • addressing questions and labour mobility concerns from certified workers;
  • interacting with regulatory authorities and officials in other government ministries to support the recognition of out-of-P/T certified workers;
  • assisting with the processes for reconciliation of occupational standards to the extent possible and where practical.
If you have questions about labour mobility under the CFTA or concerns about having your certification recognized by a regulatory body in another province or territory, you should contact your LMC.

Please note: labour mobility under the CFTA does not cover workers who are not certified (i.e. apprentices, interns, articling or student categories) nor does it cover occupations that are not regulated. However, there are other opportunities and support mechanisms available for workers who are considering moving to another P/T.

There are currently 14 professions that have exceptions to labour mobility. In cases where certification requirements or occupational standards for a regulated profession/occupation are very different between provinces and territories, a government may approve an exception to full labour mobility. The exception must meet one of the following objectives:
  • public security and safety;
  • public order;
  • protection of human, animal or plant life or health;
  • protection of the environment;
  • consumer protection;
  • protection of the health, safety and well-being of workers;
  • provision of adequate social and health services to all its geographic regions;
  • programs for underserved groups.
Workers who are members of regulated professions that fall into the exception category may need to complete substantial requirements before being accredited in a new province or territory. Follow this link for a list of existing exceptions to full labour mobility in Canada.

You can take steps to limit the effect that moving to a new province or territory may have on your career.
1. Determine whether your occupation is regulated in the P/T in which you plan to work. To do this, you can contact a LMC.
2. Check the Labour Mobility exceptions list to see if it includes your current regulated profession.
3. Whether your profession is included as an exception or not, as soon as you know you will be moving, contact the accrediting body of your profession in the new P/T to ask what requirements are compulsory before becoming accredited. If possible, take the necessary steps to meet the requirements before moving in order to avoid being out of the labour force for an extended period of time. (You can also visit the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials, which has many resources, including contact information for particular regulators).

Visit www.workersmobility.ca for more information about labour mobility in Canada, including a Frequently Asked Questions section.

UK Education Guide: This is not an official IQAS assessment. The recommendations in this guide are for your information only. These credential comparisons represent common educational patterns within each country. They don’t take into account the recognition status of the institution through which a credential was obtained, the authenticity of the documentation, or the particular pattern of education followed by an individual.

Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials: Provides information on how to obtain an assessment to work or study in Canada.

International Qualifications Assessment: How to get foreign-earned credentials assessed for immigration or work and study.

World Education Services: A credential evaluation service: compare your academic accomplishments to standards in Canada. This official report helps employers, licensing boards, or immigration authorities better understand your educational background.