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.

High school

New people looking to immigrate often get confused that they only get points for graduating 'high school' despite attending a 'College' for A levels. Whether you did A levels at a school with a 6th form, or at a separate 6th form college, they are only secondary education, so you won't get the extra 68 points for a "two year program at a college".


Canadian degrees take 4 years instead of 3. A UK Bachelors degree would normally be considered equivalent to a "4 year Canadian degree" for all purposes. If you need it for immigration purposes, you will need to have this assessed by an organization such as WES, who will determine 'Equivalent to a 4 year Canadian degree'. If you are looking at further degrees in Canada, your initial degree may be accepted with just the transcript, or the university may themselves require it to be professionally converted 'course by course', which would mean the evaluating body generating you a north American style GPA (typically rated out of 4, where 4.0 is the highest, like a 1st).

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. 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.


If you have a LLB from the UK, you may be able to write the NCA exams to have it treated equivalent to a Canadian JD. If you have already worked as a lawyer, you may, depending on your provincial law society rules, be able to avoid or reduce the articling term (on-the-job training). See: Lawyers-Canada excluding Quebec

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.) must apply to challenge the requirements and to possibly take an exam in the relevant Canadian province and become certified in that Province. Red Seal certification is an Endorsement on your PROVINCIAL Certification Red Seal, it's NOT a stand alone certification.

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.