BC removing barriers for internationally trained professionals (flickr.com)

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Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills

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604 209-7629


Regulations streamlining international credential recognition

The International Credentials Recognition Act will come into effect on July 1, 2024. The act will streamline the process for internationally trained professionals in 29 occupations to get their credentials recognized with 18 regulatory bodies.

Regulations under the act will remove barriers to credential recognition by:

  • removing unnecessary Canadian work experience requirements.
    • The removal of Canadian work experience requirements for regulators who require it will come into effect on July 1, 2025.
    • The ministry is working with regulatory authorities to understand current approaches and identify any existing Canadian work experience requirements that would be prohibited under the new regulations.

Additionally, the regulations:

  • bring the act into force for July 1, 2024.
  • set out rules for when the superintendent of international credential recognition may grant an exemption to a regulator who has a valid reason for requiring Canadian work experience.
  • set the maximum administrative penalty at $100,000.

The regulations build on the requirements in the act, including:

  • prohibiting the need for applicants to provide new English-language test results if they have already submitted valid results.
  • requiring regulators to charge similar fees to international and domestic applicants.
  • increasing efficiency by ensuring applicants receive the information they need to get professional certification quickly and without unnecessary delay.
    • To shorten wait times, the Province will require that determinations are made in a reasonable period of time.
  • ensuring transparency by bringing in new requirements for regulators to publish all information about their credential assessment processes online.
  • requiring accountability through new reporting requirements and enforcement authorities.
  • establishing a new superintendent responsible for promoting fair credential recognition, monitoring regulatory authority performance and enforcing compliance with the new legislation.
What people are saying about the International Credential Recognition Act

Shelly D’Mello, CEO, Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria –

“B.C. is leading the way in removing barriers for talented and skilled internationally experienced professionals. This legislation is a quadruple win: immigrants will have better opportunities to utilize their skills, employers will fill vacant positions and address labour shortages, regulatory bodies can enhance the quality and effectiveness of their sectors and, ultimately, the province's economy and communities will thrive and prosper.”

Queenie Choo, CEO, S.U.C.C.E.S.S. –

“The International Credentials Recognition Act eliminates many obstacles for newcomers, enabling them to fully integrate to their desired workforce. This act also recognizes their work experience and professional skills that are optimized in a just, efficient and transparent manner. We are delighted to witness the positive impact of this act that touches many newcomers’ journeys in Canada.”

Neelam Sahota, CEO, DIVERSECity –

“It is time to do a re-set of how we envision an inclusive and prosperous economy that benefits everyone. The International Credentials Recognition Act is an important milestone for our province as it seeks to further eliminate barriers in various past models through thoughtful consultations and provides a renewed optimism that when we work collectively together, we can indeed forge a path forward for the betterment of all British Columbians.”

Olga Stachova, CEO, MOSAIC BC –

“The immigrant communities in B.C. are eagerly awaiting the International Credential Recognition Act coming into effect in July. Creating a more transparent, efficient and fair credential recognition process will allow B.C. to better benefit from the rich skill set and global experience newcomers bring, and will significantly improve the quality of lives and the sense of belonging experienced by immigrant professionals.”

Patrick MacKenzie, CEO, Immigrant Employment Council of B.C. (IEC-BC) –

“Employers have struggled for decades to recognize the skills and credentials immigrants bring to British Columbia. The International Credentials Recognition Act is an important step in helping B.C. businesses fill critical needs in their workplaces, while immigrants who choose our province can grow our communities and economy through full and meaningful employment. We at IEC-BC encourage all employers to focus on candidates’ skills, abilities, and potential, not just credentials. When the right talent can be hired for the right job, we all win.”

Improving credential recognition for internationally trained professionals

The International Credentials Recognition Act requires 18 regulators overseeing 29 professions to streamline processes for internationally trained applicants. The 29 occupations are:

  • registered music teacher
  • professional engineer
  • professional teaching certificate holder
  • land surveyor
  • early childhood educator
  • landscape architect
  • early childhood educator assistant
  • applied science technologist
  • conditional teaching certificate holder
  • certified technician
  • social worker
  • veterinarian
  • registered clinical social worker
  • lawyer
  • professional biologist
  • architect
  • applied biology technician
  • notary public
  • registered biology technologist
  • emergency medical assistant, including paramedics
  • professional geoscientist
  • chartered professional accountant
  • registered professional forester
  • associate real estate broker
  • registered forest technologist
  • managing real estate broker
  • professional agrologist
  • real estate representative
  • technical agrologist
Actions taken to improve credential recognition

The International Credentials Recognition Act complements and builds on government’s ongoing work to create pathways for doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals educated outside of Canada to be able to get to work more quickly.

This work includes:

  • Expanding pathways for internationally trained physicians to enter B.C.’s workforce, including: 
    • A further expansion of seats in the Practice Ready program, which helps internationally educated doctors get to work more quickly in B.C. The program will triple from 32 seats to 96 seats by March 2024.
    • The introduction of a new U.S.-certified class of licensure through the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC to enable eligible U.S.-trained physicians to practice pediatric medicine, internal medicine or emergency medicine in B.C.
    • The introduction of associate physicians, a new class of registration that provides a route for international medical graduates (IMG) not eligible for licensure as independent medical practitioners, to work under the direction and supervision of an attending physician within team-based care settings.
    • Funding Health Match BC, a free health-professional recruitment service that has helped IMGs and Canadian-trained physicians relocate and practice in B.C.
  • The Ministry of Health has partnered with B.C. College of Nurses and Midwives and others to streamline registration processes. Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) can now:
    • use a variety of different services for curriculum review (reducing wait times by up to two years);
    • complete the new triple-track competency assessment and be assessed for registration as a health-care assistant (HCA), licensed practical nurse (LPN) and registered nurse (RN) at the same time (eliminating the need for consecutive assessments); and
    • sign a return of service (ROS) to access a zero-cost registration pathway and navigation support provided by Health Match BC. 
  • With funding through B.C.’s Health Human Resources (HHR) Strategy, internationally educated (IE) allied health professionals can sign an ROS to access bursaries to offset the costs associated with licensing exams, education and registration in B.C.

Progress made to date:

  • Additions to B.C.’s physician workforce include:
    • 1,031 international medical graduates have registered with the College of Physicians and Surgeons, including 700 in 2023 and 331 as of March 2024.
    • 34 associate physicians have been hired by Health Authorities and Providence Health Care, and 35 offers are pending licensure (last updated April 8, 2024).
  • 12,054 IENs have entered the streamlined registration pathway as of May 31, 2024, which includes:
    • 1,107 IENs have registered with the BC College of Nurses and Midwives.
    • 1,297 IENs have been referred to additional education for which they can access bursaries funded through the HHR Strategy.
    • 198 IENs have registered as health-care assistants with BC’s Care Aide and Community Health Worker Registry.
  • 373 IE allied health professionals have signed ROS agreements for work in B.C.’s public sector as of May 31, 2024, including:
    • 216 IE physiotherapists;
    • 132 IE medical laboratory technologists; and
    • 25 IE occupational therapists.

Media Contacts

Ministry of Health

Media Relations
250 952-1887