Equivalency of Qualifications-Canada

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An early step that you should take during your relocation planning process is to establish whether or not your UK qualifications will be recognized in the Canadian province to which you intend to move.

Details are available at Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials.

Your qualifications may be accepted as they are, or you may be required to take some exams before you can practice in your field in Canada.


In many cases, four-year British university degrees are recognized in Canada.

Three-year degrees from the UK enjoy varying levels of acceptance. A Canadian employer often is satisfied with a three-year degree, but a Canadian university may not accept it as a basis for entering a master's degree program.

If you have a three-year degree, the best thing to do in most cases would be to do nothing. In other words, state on your resume that you have a Bachelor of Whatever Degree, and leave it at that.

If you're dealing with private industry, your degree, in and of itself, usually doesn't matter that much. It's unlikely that a prospective employer would even ask you how long it took you to obtain your degree. A degree is used as a kind of filter in sorting incoming resumes.

It's what you've done since you obtained the degree that matters. In other words, while a certain level of education might be considered a minimum requirement for a given job, the prospective employer mostly wants to know whether or not you can solve his/her problems. Consequently he/she really cares about your experience and accomplishments in your previous jobs.

If you want to work in a specific profession in Canada and if that profession is regulated by a union-like professional organization, you will need to find out the particular requirements of that organization. If the information you need is not in this article, you might try the Occupations-Canada section of the BE Wiki. It includes articles on several occupations, and those articles describe the requirements for working in the relevant occupations.

Vocational training

Many of the UK's non-degree educational programs, such as NVQ, are not recognized in much of Canada. However this varies from province to province and from occupation to occupation.


  • Many U.K. engineers have degrees accredited for Chartered Engineer (CEng) purposes by the Engineering Council U.K. (EC-UK). Such degrees will be accepted under the Washington Accord by Canadian provincial engineering associations as fulfilling the academic requirements to become a Canadian Professional Engineer (PEng). There will likely still be additional work experience and other requirements to become a fully qualified Canadian PEng.
  • Similarly, qualifications accredited by EC-UK for Incorporated Engineer (IEng) purposes will be accepted in Canada under the Sydney Accord and Engineering Technician qualifications under the Dublin Accord.
  • The CEng and IEng designations themselves are not directly portable to Canada, although you should check with your specific institute as to whether they have any mutual recognition agreements that go beyond the Washington/Sydney Accords. Some institutes that aware CEng in the U.K. (such as the British Computer Society) have no direct counterpart in Canada.
  • The Ontario Professional Engineers institute has instituted a program to allow overseas professional engineers gain provisional membership more quickly.
  • Far from all Engineering jobs require PEng status, although for senior or engineering management positions it is often a mandatory requirement. Requirement for PEng status vary by field too, PEng is often required in Civil positions, but has less of a cache in Manufacturing for example.


  • English, Scottish and Irish Chartered Accountants can often obtain mutual recognition from the relevant provincial Chartered Accountant institute in Canada. This is not automatic and in particular, Chartered Accountants who have trained outside public accounting may not be able to become a Canadian CA through mutual recognition. It is also necessary to sit an exam that is only offered once a year, the Chartered Accountants Reciprocity Exam (CARE).
  • United Kingdom Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) can obtain the Canadian Canadian Certified General Accountant (CGA) designation through mutual recognition, in place since early 2007, although as of late 2007 the province of Quebec is not included. It is necessary to hold a university degree (any subject) to take advantage of this, unless admitted to ACCA before 1 August 1998. It is also necessary to sit for a short course in Canadian tax and law.
  • Chartered Management Accountants (CIMA) and Chartered Public Finance Accountants (CIPFA) may be able to obtain the Canadian Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation by mutual recognition, after obtaining 2 years managerial level work experience in Canada. It is also necessary to hold a university degree (any subject) and pass university level courses in Canadian tax and law.

Out of province qualifications

  • Canadian professional qualifications are generally administered at province/territory level
  • In most cases, it is necessary to have your professional designation from the same province in which you are working.
  • However, this is not always the case. In some instances, you may simply want to have a Canadian professional qualification and it may not matter from which province it emanates.
  • Bear in mind that you would likely not be allowed to use the professional title or designatory letters in any official way (eg on business cards) if you have an out-of-province qualification.
  • Many provincial professional associations impose a residence requirement for applicants. In other words, it is usually necessary to live or work in that province or territory. However, this is not always the case.
  • If you plan to apply to a professional institute in a province as a non-resident, firstly check its website to see if non-residents may apply. You should verify this information by reading the charter and by-laws of the institute, as website information (and telephone advice) is often inaccurate or wrong.

Moving from one province to another

  • If you have a professional qualification in one Canadian province, and intend to work in a different province, you should not assume it will automatically be transferable.
  • If the qualification is transferable, you should not resign from the institute in your first province until you have been formally notified that the new provincial institute as accepted you
  • You normally are not obliged to resign from the institute of your former province if you don't want to. You may want to check if they have a concessional subscription rate for members who are also members of another Canadian provincial institute.

Professions in Quebec

  • In general, in order to become a member of a professional institute (ordre) in Quebec, it is necessary to have competency in the French language.
  • Standards vary by profession, although fluency is rarely required.
  • The French language exam is generally administered by the Quebec government. Those educated in Quebec high schools or CEGEP for a certain period of time are generally exempt.


An experienced tradesperson (electrician, plumber, mechanic, etc.) can take a challenge exam in the relevant Canadian province and become certified in that province. The best certification process to go through is Red Seal, because it is recognized across Canada.

If you want to study the electrical, plumbing or woodworking codes for Canada, you can order the relevant publications from the Canadian Standards Association or from Order Line.

There is a lot more information in the Wiki article called Skilled Trades.


There are some differences in British terminology and Canadian terminology. One difference that springs to mind is the interpretation of engineer. In Canada only a degreed engineer is referred to as an engineer. People who received their engineering qualifications at technical colleges are referred to as engineering technologists or engineering technicians. The one exception to this is a train driver. The Canadian term for train driver is engineer.

Other job hunting articles

  • This is only one of a series of BE Wiki articles about job hunting in Canada.
  • To find links to the other articles in the series, please go to Job Hunting in Canada.