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Foreign Credentials in Canada

Published On: March 5, 2014

Foreign credential recognition is one of the main labour difficulties faced by newcomers to Canada.

Some credentials obtained outside of Canada may not be recognized as equivalent to Canadian credentials. This is often because of contextual differences between countries, particularly in regulated occupations.

For some jobs, mostly regulated occupations, newcomers will need to have their foreign credentials assessed.

There are two types of occupations in Canada:

  • Non-Regulated: If you wish to work in non-regulated occupations, employers will be interested in learning about your education and work experience. This information can be summarized in a resume. In addition, employers may be interested in the Canadian equivalency to your educational credentials that were obtained outside of Canada. The non-regulated job market is an excellent place to begin your career in Canada.
  • Regulated: Credential assessment and recognition is usually completed by a regulatory body.


Holding credentials which are not recognized within Canada can be very disappointing. Many times, it is not financially feasible for newcomers to go back to school for upwards of four years in order to get credentials recognized. It can also be disheartening to go back to school to, essentially, re-do your degree/diploma.

Furthermore, the time and the financial burden of returning to school forces many new immigrants to turn to part-time, low paying work outside of their specializations.

Some regulated industries affected the most include, Law, Medicine, Engineering, and Accounting.

However, relocating to a different country shouldn’t mean that you have to give up your dream career or spend extra money and time re-learning your specialization.

While there are no “quick-fixes”, there are solutions which can help alleviate the burdens of returning to school.

After working as a lawyer for 11 years, Susana Santa Maria immigrated to Canada with her family but was no longer able to continue her career as a lawyer. “To continue to practice law I would have to go back to school and complete an undergraduate degree. In Mexico I had been a lawyer for so long that I was not prepared for that.”

Not wanting to abandon the career she had worked so hard for, Santa Maria looked for programs that would allow her to continue working in her chosen field, “In Mexico I specialized in immigration, so when I found the Immigration Consultant Diploma program at Ashton College I knew it was right for me.”

Ashton College offers flexible programs both in-class and online. For Santa Maria, this meant she was still able to work full time and continue to raise her three year old son while attending classes in the evening. “The program was incredibly organized and in six months Ashton gave me the tools and knowledge I needed to start my career as an Immigration Consultant.”

Ashton College believes that everyone is entitled to their dream career and we are here to help you with the skills necessary to become successful. For more information on the programs available at Ashton College, visit our Course Directory page.




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