Canada's Economic Action Plan

Canada's Economic Action Plan

January 19, 2011 14:00 ET

Government of Canada Helping Foreign-Trained Occupational Therapists Get Jobs

Canada's Economic Action Plan helps new Canadians get work in their professions

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Jan. 19, 2011) - The Government of Canada is helping internationally trained occupational therapists find jobs in their field. The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, made the announcement today.

"We recognize the importance of helping foreign-trained health care professionals get jobs doing what they were trained to do," said Minister Finley. "Through Canada's Economic Action Plan, we are working with partners to develop a common approach to improving foreign credential recognition. Projects like this one will help new Canadians put their knowledge and skills to work sooner in communities across Canada."

The College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia is receiving support from the Foreign Credential Recognition Program to create a national assessment process for occupational therapists trained outside of Canada. Occupational therapists help individuals maintain, restore or increase their ability to care for themselves, as well as engage in work, school or leisure activities. Through the project, the College will develop a competency evaluation tool, a national certification exam and language standards for the profession. The College will also work with the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists to ensure ongoing national cooperation among regulators in the field.

Under the Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications, the Government of Canada is working with the provinces and territories and other partners, such as regulatory bodies, to address barriers to foreign credential recognition. 

In 2010, the focus was on establishing service standards for foreign-trained professionals in eight priority occupations, including nurses and occupational therapists, to enable them to have their qualifications assessed within one year, anywhere in Canada. This year, the focus will shift to streamlining foreign qualification recognition for six more target occupations, including physicians and dentists.

The occupational therapists project, which is receiving over $2 million from the Government of Canada, is an example of how the Framework is bringing meaningful change to the way that newcomers' qualifications are assessed and recognized in Canada.

To learn more about Canada's Economic Action Plan, visit

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.


With the Economic Action Plan's $50-million investment, the Government is:

  • developing the principles that will guide the process of foreign credential recognition;

  • establishing standards for the timely handling of requests;

  • identifying key occupations that will be the priority for developing recognition standards; and

  • helping people who want to come to Canada understand what they need to know before they arrive.

Under the Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications, recognition of foreign credentials and experience is being streamlined for key occupations.

The following are the first set of target occupations in the Framework:

  • architects

  • engineers

  • financial auditors and accountants

  • medical laboratory technologists

  • occupational therapists

  • pharmacists

  • physiotherapists

  • registered nurses

The next set of target occupations in the Framework are the following:

  • dentists

  • engineering technicians

  • licensed practical nurses

  • medical radiation technologists

  • physicians

  • teachers (K-12)

Under the Framework, internationally trained professionals who submit an application to be licensed or registered to work in certain fields, along with all fees and relevant documents to process the application, will be advised within one year how their credentials compare to Canadian standards. They may also be advised of additional requirements or be directed to alternative occupations that would benefit from their skills and experience.

The Foreign Credential Recognition Program aims to improve the integration of internationally trained workers into the workforce. The Program provides funding to and works with the provinces and territories and with stakeholders, including regulatory bodies, post-secondary institutions, sector councils and employers, to implement projects that facilitate the assessment and recognition of qualifications acquired in other countries.

The Foreign Credentials Referral Office (FCRO) was established in May 2007 to help internationally trained workers receive the information, path-finding and referral services, in Canada and overseas, to have their credentials assessed quickly so they can find work faster in the fields for which they have been trained. The FCRO works with federal, provincial and territorial partners, as well as foreign credential assessment and recognition bodies, to strengthen foreign credential recognition processes across the country. Internet services for internationally trained workers can be found on the FCRO website at

The College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia sets practice and ethical conduct standards for occupational therapy in British Columbia, and registers occupational therapists who meet established education and practice standards.

The Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists provides national leadership to actively develop and promote the occupational therapy profession in Canada and internationally.

Contact Information

  • Office of Minister Finley
    Michelle Bakos
    Press Secretary
    Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
    Media Relations Office