Finding work with foreign qualifications in Canada  

By: Elie Ngoy 

Published on: April 06 2023

Photo: John McArthur (Unsplash) 

One of the significant hurdles newcomers face in Canada is the recognition of their foreign qualifications. Canada is a highly industrialised country with a strong and fruitful economy that offers ample opportunities for newcomers and Canadians to live the middle-class dream. However, newcomers find getting a job in Canada with foreign qualifications and foreign credentials impossible due to the many requirements.  

The Government of Canada and the various provinces have worked hard to make this a manageable issue so that newcomers to Canada have the opportunity to thrive in this new competitive environment. These efforts include:  

  • The facilitation of direct employment for newcomers 
  • Service awareness and accessibility 
  • Newcomer entrepreneurship support initiatives 
  • Official language training 
  • Welcoming communities 
  • Facilitation of participation in community groups and organisations  
  • Settlement and integration service provider 

One of these example efforts can be found in Alberta. The government has introduced a foreign qualification recognition program, which assists newcomers with obtaining licenses to work in strictly regulated workplaces and occupations. As a newcomer, to work in most jobs in Alberta, you will need to be licensed by a provincial Professional Regulatory Organization (PRO).  

Newcomers are then assessed on several criteria, which include:  

  • Work history  
  • Education  
  • Profienciny in English  

This program will inform you on whether you have gaps in your qualifications that need to be addressed or examinations you need to take in order to be fully licensed.  

The government of Canada has also provided newcomers with a Foreign Credential Recognition in Canada Tool, which offers individuals who are new to Canada information on job requirements such as: 

  • Whether your job is regulated or unregulated  
  • Information on the relevant regulatory body 
  • Alternative careers as you await acceptance of your foreign credentials  
  • Jobs available for hire  
  • Salary information 
Photo: Scott Blake (Unsplash) 

You will also be pleased to find English as a Second Language (ESL) programs in abundance in many Canadian cities. These subsidised programs result from generous contributions from government agencies at all levels and are created to assist newcomers settling in Canada. Many jobs in Canada will also require that you pass a formal English assessment to qualify for their advertised roles.  

Online tools such as the Ottawa ESL schools have been set up to provide information on the ESL community within Ottawa. This can be an excellent resource for newcomers and will direct you to the necessary programs.  

Canada is a land of great opportunities; it is the same land that allowed Michaelle Jean, a Haitian-born immigrant, to become Canada’s 27th Governor General of Canada. Your foreign qualifications can still work in this country, and the government of Canada has provided much support alongside its provincial partners. There are thousands of tools available to facilitate your transition into Canada.  

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