As a newcomer to Ontario, you may have many questions.
How professions are regulated in Ontario
• What is required to enter many professions
• How your academic credentials will be assessed
• How career maps and bridging training programs can help you
• How Ontario is helping newcomers succeed
Most professions in Ontario are self-regulated. That means the professions themselves set their own standards and register members of the profession. Some professions are regulated by law. Doctors and lawyers are two examples of these ‘regulated professions’. Other professions, known as ‘unregulated’ or ‘voluntary’ professions are not regulated by law, but may have voluntary professional bodies.
In Ontario, the most common method of regulating a profession is through legislation. This legislation establishes a professional body to govern the profession. These professional bodies are often called ‘colleges’. For example, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario governs the medical profession. These regulatory bodies protect the public by:
• Setting standards of practice
• Setting the requirements for entering the profession
• Assessing the qualifications of those who want to enter the profession
• Registering qualified members of the profession
• Disciplining members, including the right to remove the right to practice the profession
Regulated professions usually require:
• Several years of university or college study
• Practical experience under the supervision of a licensed worker in the profession
• The successful completion of a licensing examination
Helping newcomers succeed
The Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration is implementing the Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act 2006, which is designed to help newcomers enter Ontario’s regulated professions. Through the Act, Global Experience Ontario (GEO), an Access Centre for Internationally Trained Individuals, has been created. GEO provides information, referrals and other important support to newcomers entering the regulated professions.
Entering the regulated professions
Each regulatory body sets its own requirements to enter the profession. These requirements often include:
• Minimum educational qualifications
• Language ability
• Professional or supervised experience
• Successful completion of an examination
Using professional titles
In some professions, it is illegal to practice the profession, or use the title of the profession, without being registered with a regulatory body. In other professions, there are no restrictions on who can practice the profession, but the professional title may not be used unless the individual is registered with the regulatory body. Some professions, such as engineering and architecture, do allow individuals to work without a license, as long as a licensed practitioner is responsible for the work.
Entering unregulated professions
Some professions are not regulated by law, but may have voluntary professional bodies. Many of these professional bodies offer certification courses, and registration. Registration is often valued within the profession, and is important to finding employment in the field.
Having your academic credentials assessed
Every profession has its own educational requirements. A number of different organizations can assess your schooling and ensure that it meets Ontario’s standards. Many international academic qualifications are assessed in Ontario by World Education Services Canada (WES). You can visit WES at: www.wes.org/ca. However, each regulatory body decides how to assess the qualifications of applicants. It is important to check first with the regulatory body, to see which assessment services are recognized.
Using career maps
Career maps have been developed, to provide step-by-step information on entering a wide variety of occupations. Career maps can help you understand:
• Qualifications required to enter the profession
• Examinations which may be required
• The costs of examination and registration
• The work opportunities that exist in the profession
Bridge training: how it can help
Many newcomers to Ontario are highly skilled, and have postsecondary training or education. Bridge training programs have been developed by the government to help these individuals move more quickly into more than 100 trades and professions. Bridge training programs can help you to:
• Assess your skills
• Upgrade your skills and training
• Get work experience in Ontario
• Move into your profession without re-learning what you have already learned
These programs have helped to identify and eliminate many barriers for newcomers, and get into trades and professions more quickly. Usually, you will be charged a fee for these programs.