Province of BC strengthens supports for international credential recognition

posted on October 13, 2023

People with international credentials will be better supported to get their professional credentials recognized in BC and start working sooner in their field.

“We know that many internationally trained professionals are struggling to have their credentials recognized in their chosen profession,” said Andrew Mercier, Minister of State for Workforce Development. “This is about fairness and making sure that people who have the skills and expertise can access supports and services provided through their local non-profit and immigrant service organizations.”

The Government of BC is providing $1.5 million to the Association of Service Providers for Employability and Career Training (ASPECT) for new grants to organizations that help internationally trained professionals get through the credential recognition process.

“This investment will provide critical support to newcomers going through the credential recognition process to use their skills and knowledge in in-demand jobs and help reach their fullest potential,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills. “In addressing the workforce challenges through this investment and our StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan, our government is making education and training more accessible for people who call BC home.”

The Province held a series of public surveys and discussions aimed at identifying clearer and faster pathways for skilled people who have immigrated to Canada. The resulting public report will be released in summer 2023 and will guide the international credential recognition legislation aimed at reducing barriers and supporting more internationally trained professionals.

“We are delighted by this provincial investment to enhance international credential recognition in British Columbia. Employment service organizations are connected to internationally trained newcomers and their communities,” said Janet Morris-Reade, CEO, ASPECT. “They can facilitate removing barriers for newcomers to navigate connecting to their chosen profession more quickly than without support. This vital funding will enable more newcomers to gain access to credential recognition and workplace success.”

BC is expecting one million job openings over the next decade, 387,000 of which are expected to be filled by newcomers to the province. Investing in credential recognition for internationally trained professionals aligns with the StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan. The action plan is supported by a provincial investment of $480 million over three years.

This funding will complement other provincial programs and services for newcomers, which helps newcomers find employment in their field, including the new DIVERSEcity Foreign Credential Navigation Program.

Learn more about the announcement here.

Quick facts about foreign credential recognition in BC

Many immigrants arrive in BC with valuable education, experience and skills. Internationally trained professionals need to have their qualifications recognized by a professional regulatory authority to work in their chosen profession. The process of having education, skills and work experience from outside Canada assessed against Canadian standards is often referred to as foreign credential recognition.

Professional regulatory authorities serve an important role in BC for health, safety and consumer protection. In BC, more than 50 regulatory authorities are responsible for assessing and recognizing professional qualifications for approximately 235 regulated occupations.

In 2022, more than 150,000 people immigrated to BC.

Over the next decade, 387,000 newcomers are expected to enter the BC workforce, filling 38% of the one million job openings expected by 2033.

Almost all these jobs will require occupation specific training or post-secondary education, including:

    • bachelor, graduate or first professional degree – 36%;
    • diploma or certificate – 29%;
    • apprenticeship – 12%; and
    • high school or occupation specific – 20%.