5 steps to credential assessment and licensing

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Credential assessment is an evaluation of how qualifications – education, work experience or professional credentials – from other countries compare to Canadian qualifications. This is required if you are immigrating to Canada through the Federal Skilled Worker Program, coming to work in certain professions and trades, or to study.

To give you an idea what credential assessment is, you can watch this video for the Federal Skilled Worker program:

For pre-arrivals and newcomers who wish to practice their profession in Manitoba, here are five suggested steps to prepare yourself:

Step 1: Find out if your occupation is regulated

Most jobs in Canada are non-regulated, but when an occupation has a direct effect on public health and safety, it is regulated. This means practitioners are required to have licences or certifications to work in these professions and trades. Each occupation has a regulatory body that conducts its own credential assessment as a stage toward the licencing, registration or certification process.

Below are regulated professions with links to each respective professional organization’s website. You can also find these links at immigratemanitoba.ca’s Regulated Professions and Trades page. On this page, some regulated professions have fact sheets that can direct you to tools and resources pertaining to the registration process in Manitoba.

If you want to conduct additional research on your profession and career prospects in Canada, go to the job bank, click on your location, type in your job title and postal code, then click on the tabs for Wages, Outlook, and Education and Job Requirements.

Trades, which are in high demand, are regulated in Manitoba. There are over 55 designated trades in Manitoba. Only nine trades have compulsory certification:

Other trades require you to be a journeyman or a holder of trade papers. Go to each link to know more about certification of trades. To know more about skilled trades in Canada, go to Red Seal Trades. You can also go to Manitoba Jobs and Economy (Experienced Tradespersons),or at the Manitoba Trades site.

Non-regulated professions
For non-regulated professions, recognition is normally at the discretion of the employer. It is important to know their specific requirements first before you spend time and money on an assessment (which may not be required).

Step 2: Identify the requirements

If your job is regulated, you can find out the requirements and the procedure for the recognition of your credentials from the website of your professional organization. These usually include academic credentials from an educational institution and professional qualifications from a professional regulatory authority. It is crucial to find out the type of documents required, the assessment process these must undergo, and which agency should do it. It will also be good to note the amount of time required for the assessment. In some cases, it can begin before you come to Canada. This is why pre-arrival seminars can be of great value. If you are still in your home country, it would be a good idea to register with Settlement Pre-Arrival Online (SOPA). It is a program that delivers free pre-arrival services for job readiness and retention.

Step 3: Know about Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs)

If your profession’s regulatory body or professional association in your home country has an MRA with a regulatory body or professional association in Canada (or if you have worked in a signatory country or region), this could facilitate the recognition of your professional qualifications. You can check the Directory of Occupational Profiles to find out.

Step 4: Get financial assistance

The Canadian government offers financial assistance to immigrants to help them complete the required assessment process. In Manitoba, SEED Winnipeg provides aid to eligible newcomers. You can also check with your professional association or organization to know more about financial aid for assessments. Read Planning on going back to school? Here are resources to back you up for more links to supports.

Step 5: After your credential assessment

After you get your assessment, you will know whether you need to upgrade your education to work in your profession, consider applying for a different job in your field or undertake a career shift. In any case, there are many educational and training opportunities in Canada for immigrants; you just have to decide on the best path to take. You can explore your options at Service Canada Training and Career site or at the Job Bank.

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Community Resources

Read Registration, certification and licensing? What do they mean?

The Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials has a step-by-step guide on qualifications recognition.

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