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UNDERSTANDING FOREIGN CREDENTIAL RECOGNITION

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Q: What is Foreign Credential Recognition (FCR)?

Q: Why is FCR an important issue for Canadians and Canadian businesses?

Q: What is the FCR program?

Q: What is the difference between FCR in regulated and unregulated professions?

Q: Where can I find assistance with FCR?

Q: What is the Ontario Government doing to address FCR?

Q: Where can I find more information on FCR?
 


 

Q: What is Foreign Credential Recognition (FCR)?

A: Foreign Credential Recognition is the process of verifying that the education and job experience obtained in another country are equal to the standards established for Canadian workers.

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Q: Why is FCR an important issue for Canadians and Canadian businesses?

A: Canada's economy and labour market are rapidly changing and it has been recognized that having a skilled workforce is vital to Canada's future economic stability and growth. A shift is occurring towards a knowledge-based job market and an increasing proportion of positions will require higher levels of education and/or training. Moreover, much of Canada's workforce is of the baby boomer generation and expected to retire in the coming years. These trends, combined with declining Canadian birth rates, are projected to result in an under-supply of qualified workers in various sectors. According to RBC, in the next 20 years, Canada will need at least 2.75 million more labour force participants, over and above Statistics Canada's long-term population projection, to sustain the workforce.

Recognizing credentials from abroad will play a large role in Canada's ability to produce the number of skilled labour force participants that it will require in the coming years. This will involve recognizing the skills and maximizing the potential of internationally educated and trained individuals. Internationally educated and trained individuals could include immigrants, temporary foreign workers, and Canadian-born individuals educated and trained abroad.

Because of Canada's high rate of immigration and high proportion of skilled immigrants living within its borders, non-recognition of foreign credentials presents an especially significant issue for the country's economy. The Conference Board of Canada estimates that the underutilization of immigrant skills is costing the Canadian economy $3.42 billion to $4.97 billion annually. By recognizing prior learning and credentials, and allowing immigrants and other foreign trained individuals to utilize their education and training to its fullest potential, the opportunity exists to address projected skills shortages, as well as benefit local businesses in their search for talent and skilled immigrants in their search for jobs.

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Q: What is the FCR program?

A: The Foreign Credential Recognition (FCR) Program is an important element of the federal government's Internationally Trained Workers Initiative, through which 14 federal departments collaborate on addressing barriers that internationally educated and trained individuals face in finding employment in Canada. By working with provincial and territorial governments, sector councils, licencing and regulatory bodies, employers, educational institutions, immigrant settlement agencies and other groups who play a role in FCR, the federal government is working to improve FCR processes across the country. The program aims to ensure that FCR throughout Canada is:

Fair: Individuals wishing to have their credentials assessed will be treated equitably
Accessible: Individuals wishing to have their credentials assessed will have access to appropriate services
Coherent: There will be processes to assess and recognize credentials in all jurisdictions throughout Canada. This means that once an individual's credentials are recognized in one province, they will be recognized across Canada
Transparent: Individuals will understand how to have their credentials assessed and recognized before they arrive in Canada and, if they do not meet the requirements, they will know what to do
Rigorous: High standards for competence and preserving quality service and public safety will be maintained

To find out more about the FCR program, click here

The FCR program is connected to Canada's Workplace Skills Strategy (WSS), which aims to help Canadians be the best trained, most highly skilled workers in the world; to build a labour market that is flexible; and to be efficient and respond to the needs of employers to make Canadian workplaces more productive and innovative. Towards these objectives the WSS works with businesses, sector councils, unions, provinces and territories, and individual employees.

To find out more about Canada's Workplace Skills Strategy visit here

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Q: What is the difference between FCR in regulated and unregulated professions?

A: For regulated occupations, qualification recognition is mostly under provincial jurisdiction, where regulatory bodies govern regulated professions. Although each regulatory body has its own set of requirements, common to all is the responsibility and obligation to protect the public and uphold professional standards of practice. Regulatory bodies have the authority to:

- set entry and training requirements
- set standards of practice
- assess qualifications and credentials
- register qualified applicants, and
- discipline members

Regulatory bodies are different from professional associations in that the occupations governed by regulatory bodies are controlled by law. In order to work in regulated professions or use particular regulated job titles, it is a legal requirement to be registered with the appropriate body and/or possess a licence or certificate from the appropriate body. In order to understand the specific requirements for various professions, it is recommended that employers and job seekers consult with the appropriate regulatory bodies. To find a list of regulatory bodies in Ontario, click here

For non-regulated occupations, specific licensure is not required. While some non-regulated positions may require little in the way of formal education and/or training, others may require considerable education and/or training, such as various types of post-secondary education. Non-regulated occupations comprise approximately 85% of the Canadian labour market.

Through the FCR program, the Canadian government is helping to enable foreign credential recognition in non-regulated occupations. With assistance from the FCR Program, sector councils have played a critical role in this movement by pioneering new approaches to recognize international qualifications.

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Q: Where can I find assistance with FCR?

A:
Credential Assessment Services

As an employer, you can ask ITPs to provide assessments of their credentials with their job applications.

NOTE: For employers of regulated professions, it is a legal requirement for employees to be registered with the appropriate regulatory body and/or possess a license or certification from the appropriate body. In order to understand the specific requirements for various professions, it is recommended that employers and job seekers consult with the appropriate regulatory bodies. To find a list of regulatory bodies in Ontario, click here.

Employers can also help internationally trained applicants with the process by referring them to Welcome Centre Immigrant Services centres

www.cicic.ca is a central source for information regarding FCR services and organizations across Canada

To find a listing of services by province and territory, click here

In Ontario

Comparative Education Service (CES)
School of Continuing Studies
University of Toronto
158 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2V8 Canada
Tel.: +1 416 978-2400
Fax: +1 416 978-7022
Email: learn@utoronto.ca
Web site: http://learn.utoronto.ca/ces.htm

International Credential Assessment Service of Canada (ICAS)
Ontario AgriCentre
100 Stone Road West, Suite 102
Guelph, Ontario N1G 5L3 Canada
Tel: +1 519 763-7282
Toll-free: +1 800 321-6021
Fax: +1 519 763-6964
Email: info@icascanada.ca
Fees and Services
Web site: http://www.icascanada.ca/

World Education Services-Canada (WES)
2 Carlton Street, Suite 1400
Toronto, Ontario M5B 1J3 Canada
Tel.: +1 416 972-0070
Fax: +1 416 972-9004
Toll-free: +1 866 343-0070 (from outside the 416 area code)
Email: inquiryca@wes.org
Web site: http://www.wes.org/ca/


Competency Assessment Tools

Because specific regulatory body licensure is not required for unregulated occupations in Ontario, employers of such positions have greater jurisdiction over recognizing foreign credentials. Yet, employers often find understanding foreign education and work experience challenging. Employers may have difficulty determining whether individuals trained abroad have the specific skills required to do particular jobs.

Competency assessment tools can assist employers with understanding foreign education and work experience. Such tools can help employers and job seekers discover whether international credentials translate into particular required on-the-job skills. Competency assessment tools can also help employers in regulated occupations assess soft-skills apart from credentials necessary for licensure.

To learn more about competency-based assessment, click here.


Sector Councils

Sector councils provide various tools and resources to assist employers with assessing the skills of both potential and current employees.

To learn more about how sector councils can assist your business, click here.

 

Q: What is the Ontario Government doing to address FCR?

A: Bill 124, the Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act (FARPA), 2006, was enacted to ensure internationally trained professionals (ITPs) fair, objective, transparent, and impartial processes when applying for registration and licencing in regulated professions. While this legislation applies to all applicants, it was created specifically to provide more equitable access to ITPs. Created in 2007, The Office of the Fairness Commissioner, was appointed to oversee licencing in 40 regulatory bodies for Ontario to ensure that these bodies adhere to the legislation.

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Q: Where can I find more information on FCR?

A: Other Resources:

Foreign Credentials Referral Office 

Citizenship and Immigration Canada 

Working in Canada 

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada 

Temporary Foreign Worker Fact Sheets can be found by clicking here.
 

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