Working in a Regulated Occupation in Canada

Published on: March 29th, 2017
Last updated: July 20th, 2022

Regulated occupations are controlled by provincial and territorial law and governed by a regulatory body or apprenticeship authority. If you work in a regulated occupation, you’ll need to get accredited to practice here when you immigrate. Do you know if your occupation is regulated in Canada?

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About 20% of all occupations in Canada are regulated. It can seem confusing to many newcomers with years of experience in their field that they’re not able to practice when they arrive in Canada. Especially since it’s often those years of experience and credentials that made them eligible to apply to immigrate in the first place.

If you’re planning to immigrate to Canada, it’s a good idea to check if the profession you intend to work in is regulated in the province you intend to live in. If it is, there may be steps you can take to begin the accreditation process right away.

What is a regulated occupation in Canada?

Regulated occupations in Canada are occupations that are governed by a regulatory body or apprenticeship office. If your occupation is regulated, you must have a certificate, license, or registration to legally practice in Canada.

Each province and territory are responsible for regulating occupations. Since the accreditation requirements may be different between provinces, you should know which province you will settle in before starting the licensing or certification process.

Some occupations in Canada, like healthcare professions, are regulated to protect public health and safety. Other occupations, like law or accounting, are regulated to make sure that people working in these jobs are qualified.

Non-regulated occupations in Canada

Occupations that are not regulated in Canada, like IT or tech occupations, do not require licensing to legally practice in Canada.

Some non-regulated occupations may have voluntary certification, licensing, or registration. While this requirement isn’t required to legally practice in Canada, some employers may ask for this as a requirement.

What is required to become regulated in my occupation?

The process of becoming regulated in Canada will depend on the province that you intend to work in. Most regulatory bodies require an Education Credential Assessment (ECA) report, demonstrating your foreign credential’s Canadian equivalent. Some regular bodies may require proof of your work experience in the industry and language proficiency. Certain occupations will also require foreign-trained workers to complete an examination demonstrating their knowledge in the field.

Depending on your occupation, you may need to go through both federal and provincial processes. For example, foreign-trained physicians must pass licensing exams and complete training to receive a Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada (LMCC). After receiving the LMCC, they must then become licensed in the province that they intend to practice in.

Occupational regulators by province

Each province has its own regulatory bodies that govern certain occupations. Below you will find a list of resources to learn more about the regulatory bodies and occupations in each province.

British Columbia – B.C. Occupational Regulators

B.C.’s Occupational Regulators page provides a list of provincial regulatory bodies, sorted by sector.

Alberta – Alis – Certificates in Alberta

Alberta’s career, learning, and employment information website, Alis, provides up-to-date information on all certification and registration requirements for Alberta occupations.

Saskatchewan – Saskatchewan Regulatory Bodies

Saskatchewan provides a list of regulatory bodies in the province by occupation. The province of Saskatchewan also has a Regulated Occupations and Licensing Requirements page, which provides more information on the process of becoming regulated in your role.

Manitoba – Regulated Professions and Trades

Manitoba provides a list of the most common regulated professions and trades professions with compulsory certifications in the province. Manitoba also has a page dedicated to answering frequently asked questions on regulated professions and trades.

Ontario – Resources related to your profession, trade, or sector

The Ontario government hosts a page dedicated to helping foreign-trained workers continue working in their profession or trade in Ontario. Here you will find a list of regulatory bodies and organizations that govern professions or trades in the province.

Quebec – Regulated Professions and Trades

Quebec’s webpage provides information on regulated professions and trades in the province.

New Brunswick – Certified Occupations

New Brunswick’s Certified Occupations page provides a list of certified occupations and the corresponding regulatory bodies.

Nova Scotia – Recognizing Credentials

Nova Scotia’s Recognizing Credentials page provides a preliminary guide to transferring your foreign credentials when moving to Nova Scotia. The government of Nova Scotia hosts a separate webpage for Regulatory Bodies in the province.

Prince Edward Island – Foreign Qualification Recognition

Prince Edward Island’s Foreign Qualification Recognition file provides information on the process of transferring your foreign qualifications to work in PEI. The PDF also provides a list of the regulatory authorities responsible for overseeing each regulated occupation the province.

Support for newcomers

Once in Canada as a permanent resident, there are a lot of newcomer support services that will be able to guide you through the process of becoming accredited in your profession. That process can be as simple as submitting your foreign credentials to the regulatory authority for evaluation, or as complicated as having to take courses to earn Canadian credentials.

Interested in learning more about how you can immigrate to Canada? Complete our free online assessment today!

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