You Have Skills— Now What?

Many people who move to Canada are eager to work in the professions they’ve been trained for. If you are among these new Canadians, you may have discovered that having your credentials recognized is not so easy.

There are many organizations that can assist you in assessing your qualifications. At Skills Connect, we work with several of these to determine your education and experience.

Your profession may be regulated by an industry-based governing body. For example, all trades and apprenticeships are regulated by the Industry Training Authority (ITA) and each health profession has its own regulatory body. Your employment counselor can refer you to organizations that will evaluate your credentials in British Columbia.

Many certification processes require references from past employers that include the job performed and the hours worked. Sometimes these hours will form the equivalent of apprenticeship or fulltime employment hours in Canada.

Transcripts of your grades are also required for certain professions, such as engineering or health care. You may need to contact your college or university to ask for a copy of your transcripts.

Work with your employment counselor to determine what you need.

To get an idea of what assessment services are available, check out the following websites:

British Columbia Internationally Trained Professionals Network
Provides help with establishing, training, credential assessment and professional practice in Canada.

Canadian Association of Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)
General information on prior learning assessment.

Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials
Acts as a referral service to support the recognition and portability of Canadian and international educational and occupational qualifications.

International Credential Evaluation Services (BCIT)
Educational qualifications assessment. Basic assessment: $125/credential; Comprehensive: $225.

World Education Services (International Academic Credential Evaluation)
Document by document: $115 (flat fee); Course by course = $200 (flat fee).

Campus Canada
Provides prior learning assessments, gives credit for past learning towards Canadian education and offers on-line learning.

Industry Training Authority (ITA)
Credential exams and industry training for trades and apprenticeship credits. Will provide assessment for $120 to determine if applicant can directly challenge the exams.

Industry Training Authority (ITA) – Apprenticeship Schools, Programs and Courses
Accredited trades training programs and facilities.

Red Seal
Trades credential exams to work across Canada.

Business Council of British Columbia
Download the report: Foreign Credential Recognition for Skilled Immigrants to British Columbia: Looking Beneath, Above and Beyond.

TOWES (Test of Workplace Essential Skills) – Bow Valley College
Accurately measures the three essential skills needed for safe and productive employment: Reading Text, Document Use and Numeracy. Also includes a chart of the essential skills required for different jobs.

TOWES (Douglas College)
TOWES testing and training for $60/use.

Skill Plan – Measure Up
TOWES testing and training.

The ESPORT Project
Another resource for testing Essential Skills.

HRSDC Essential Skills Homepage
Essential skills resources (includes authentic workplace documents and much more).

The National Occupation Classification
Occupational descriptions.

Canadian Language Benchmarks
English language testing.

Recognition for Learning
Prior Learning Assessment resource.

Society of Internationally Trained Engineers (SITE BC)
An independent non-profit society that represents internationally trained engineers.

Transferable Trade Skills
Assess your transferable skills in trades.

“Skills Connect has been very instrumental in providing assistance in advancing my technical training and in networking with professionals in my field. This organization has helped me get up-to-date information on the job market and continues to make effective representation on my behalf in my pursuit of gaining employment in my field of electrical engineering. Skills Connect continues to be an invaluable resource in my transition into the Canadian job market at a professional level and I am thankful for their high level of professionalism and commitment to their clients.”
                                — Skills Connect Program Participant – S.B.