Working in Regulated Professions

1. What is the difference between a profession and a trade?
To understand the Canadian job market you have to know that word "occupation", usually used generally, includes such concepts as profession and trade. People get a bit puzzled when they are asked to tell the difference between a profession and trade, because the differences between them are subtle and often blurred. While reading the following questions and answers about regulated professions and trades, please keep in mind that:
•The professional, who is also referred to as a "white-collar worker”, is a person who typically is required to have academic skills, usually uses more mind than hands in his or her work and has a college or university education.
•The trade worker, who is referred to as a "blue-collar worker”, is a person who performs mostly physical labour which typically requires manual or mechanical skills and special training that can be acquired through Apprenticeship or trade schools.

2. What do regulated professions look like?
Regulated professions in Canada are generally those which are related to public health, safety, law, etc. Each Canadian province sets a list of professions that require licences; these lists are similar, but not identical. In Ontario, a list of regulated professions can be found on the website Find your profession Here are some examples of regulated professions: Architect, Engineer, Physician, Dentist, and Pharmacist.

3. How can I find out if my profession is regulated in Canada?
To find out whether your profession is regulated in Canada, go to the website Learn about qualifications recognition, and at the bottom of the page in the box "Occupation name or NOC code”, type the name of your profession, and in the box "Provinces and territories of Canada” choose your province or territory. Then click search and under the "Regulation” column, you will see "Yes” if it is regulated. If not, the column will remain blank.

4. What is a regulatory body?
Professional licences to operate regulated professions in Canada are issued by organizations called regulatory bodies. Once you find that your profession is regulated in Canada, you have to find your regulatory body. It can be done by the same website At the bottom of the page in the box "Occupation name or NOC code” type the name of your profession and click search. Then click the name of your profession and you will get such options as
1.Confirm your occupation.
2.Confirm the occupational regulations.
3.Learn about credential assessment and recognition.
4.Contact the regulatory authority.
5.Contact professional associations.
6.Get information on the labour market and employment search.
After finding your own regulatory body, establish written or personal contacts, ask your regulatory body to send you the instructions for licensing, and get answers to questions you may have.

5. What can be found on a regulatory body website?
The best place to become acquainted with a regulatory body is opening its website, which describes the procedure of how to obtain the licence, specifies how to become a member of this organization and what benefits its members have. Usually, there is a calendar of events: meetings, seminars and conferences. You can learn a lot about your profession in Canada and will be able to make the right professional connections. Also there are the names and addresses of schools where you can take additional courses to improve your skills. By subscribing to the newsletter, you will regularly receive the latest news related to your profession. Usually, regulatory body websites have a section intended for internationally educated professionals. It often describes where and how you should get your credentials assessed and how you can apply for courses to prepare for the licence exam.

6. What is the procedure for obtaining a professional licence?
Each regulatory body, which is responsible for issuing licences or certificates for working in Canada, has its own licensing procedure. Typically, the licensing procedure involves three steps.
First step
Examination of your documents on education with the exception of graduates from Canadian institutions. If your education is insufficient, you will be asked to take additional courses at a college or university, and if you are a trade worker, you will be asked to enter the apprenticeship program - a program of training in the workplace, where you will receive additional training.
Second step
Verifying your experience in the declared profession, both abroad and in Canada.
Third step
Licensing examination. Licensing may carry a considerable cost, from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
So, before you begin this long, complex and expensive process, please read carefully about the fees associated with each step. If your financial situation does not allow you to cover the necessary expenses, find out the possibility of obtaining financial assistance or loans.

7. How can I confirm my education?
In some cases, the institution that you graduated from will have to submit a complete list of courses you have taken and practical work carried out, including the contents of the courses and the number of hours. Some regulatory bodies require that your educational documents be sent directly from the issuing organizations. Perhaps you will find out that, for one reason or another, the regulatory body cannot prove the legitimacy of some of your documents; in this case find out which documents can be substituted.
Send your documents to the regulatory body using the correct address, along with a cheque to pay for their assessment. If the documents reveal during the review of your education that you lack any courses, (which happens quite often), find out where and how you can take these courses, what the duration of them is and which examinations you have to pass.

8. How can I confirm my work experience?
You will also be required to provide proof of your work experience. This proof should include the name of the organizations where you have worked, their addresses and phone numbers and names of the officials issuing the documents. Also, documents have to have the title of your position, a description of duties performed by you, and the duration of your work experience. Your work experience in the chosen profession should meet the requirements of the regulatory body.
You will be required to submit documents about your work experience in Canada. Therefore, immediately take actions to find employment in a suitable position for your profession, where you can get documentation confirming your experience in Canada. Ask your regulatory body for advice on how to find a placement and what requirements it must meet. Find out all the rules to get experience in Canada so that this work will be considered sufficient for licensing. To find a workplace, get help from the regulatory body, your personal connections, and Canadian job banks.
To obtain a licence you will also need to submit a reference from certified professionals.
On website Canadian Work Experience Requirements you will find how much Canadian experience you need to apply for licence.

9. How can I prepare for a licensing exam?
Find out how many and what exams you need to pass to obtain a licence. Often, the amount and type of exams required depends on your situation. For example, you may be released from the professional exam if you have a recognized PhD degree. Also, if you have documents proving a score from TOEFL or IELTS exams, you may be exempt from the language examination. If you were taking courses conducted in English in your foreign educational institution, your language skills will be considered sufficient without examination.
Purchase or borrow in the library textbooks needed to pass the exams; ask to see samples of exams or questions that have been used previously. It is possible that such data is on the website of your regulatory body. Ask whether you can bring a dictionary to the exam, what the duration of the test is and when it will be possible to know the results. Many regulatory bodies operate fee-paying courses to prepare for the exams. In the case of a failed examination, you can apply for the exam again after some time.