Find out if your occupation is regulated or non-regulated
In Canada, about 20% of professions and trades are “regulated,” which means the recognition of your qualifications will be determined by the appropriate provincial or territorial regulatory authority. To work in a regulated profession or trade and use a reserved title, you must obtain a licence to practise or a certificate of qualification. For example, nurses, doctors, engineers, teachers, accountants and electricians are generally regulated professions—even if you’re an experienced nurse where you live, you can’t just show up in Canada and start applying for nursing jobs because you won’t have the right certification from a Canadian nursing regulatory body.
Different provinces/territories have different rules in places and different regulatory bodies as well. An occupation regulated in one province/territory isn’t necessarily regulated in another province.
The links below will help you determine if your occupation is regulated in your province/territory:
- Ontario: regulated professions
- British-Colombia: foreign qualifications recognition
- Alberta: regulated trades and regulated occupations
- Manitoba: regulated professions and trades
- Saskatchewan: regulated occupations and licensing requirements
- New Brunswick: designated occupations and regulated occupation regulatory authority (PDF)
- Prince Edward Island: designated trades
- Nova Scotia: designated trades
- Yukon: regulated professions
- Northwest Territories: no list available but you can use the Directory of Occupational Profiles to determine whether or not your occupation is regulated.
The Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC) offers information about qualifications recognition and a useful Directory of Occupational Profiles.
If your occupation is regulated and if you don’t have the proper certificate, licence or registration, it will be difficult to find work in your field. Keep in mind that it’s also illegal to use a reserved title—for instance, even if you’re a trained engineer in your country, you can’t use the title “professional engineer” or “engineer,” without a Canadian licence.
Registering with the appropriate regulatory body is always an option but the assessment process can be long and expensive, so it may not be worth it for WHV holders. Other strategies include taking a more junior role or exploring other work opportunities in Canada, among other options.