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Province of British Columbia
NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
2023PREM0063-001750
Nov. 9, 2023
Office of the Premier
Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills
New act streamlines credential recognition for internationally trained professionals

VICTORIA – British Columbians will soon benefit from internationally trained professionals having an easier path to working in their chosen careers and filling crucial skills shortages as the International Credentials Recognition Act received royal assent on Nov. 8, 2023.

“Skilled professionals from around the world move to B.C. hoping to put their skills to good use, but instead face huge obstacles and an often-confusing process to get their credentials recognized,” said Premier David Eby. “With the skills shortage we have in this province, we cannot afford to leave anyone on the sidelines. That’s why we’re taking action to close the gaps in the system so people can get to work faster, fill in-demand jobs and provide much-needed services to people in B.C.”

The act will increase fairness, efficiency, transparency and accountability in the credential recognition process. It will require 18 regulatory bodies to remove barriers in 29 professions and make it easier and quicker for qualified professionals to seek credential recognition, regardless of where they were trained. The professions include engineers, social workers, veterinarians, paramedics, early childhood educators, teachers, biologists, land surveyors, architects and more.

“We know we need more people working to fill one million job openings expected over the next decade,” said Andrew Mercier, Minister of State for Workforce Development. “With the International Credentials Recognition Act, we’re making the process fairer and more transparent, so all qualified professionals can work in their chosen fields.”

The Province will appoint a superintendent responsible for promoting fair credential recognition, monitoring regulatory authority performance and enforcing compliance with the new legislation.

The act will eliminate the catch-22 of requiring Canadian work experience prior to being accredited in Canada. Further, it will remove redundant language-testing and give government the authority to set caps on processing times.

Regulatory bodies play an essential role in ensuring that qualified professionals, no matter where they were trained, can work in their chosen field. The superintendent will work closely with regulatory bodies to transition them to their new responsibilities under the act, before it is scheduled to come into effect in summer 2024.

Quick Facts:

  • The International Credentials Recognition Act reflects feedback received through public engagement and consultation with regulatory bodies.
  • This act builds on the work being done by the Ministry of Health to create new pathways for health-care workers coming to Canada.

Learn More:

To learn more about international credential recognition, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/post-secondary-education/international-credentials

For information on how legislation affects British Columbians, visit: https://workingforyou.gov.bc.ca/legislation

Three backgrounders follow.

 
Contacts:
 
Jimmy Smith
Deputy Communications Director
Office of the Premier
jimmy.smith@gov.bc.ca
 
Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills
Media Relations
604 209-7629
 
Province of British Columbia
BACKGROUNDER 1
For Immediate Release
2023PREM0063-001750
Nov. 9, 2023
Office of the Premier
Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills
How the act improves credential recognition for internationally trained professionals

The International Credentials Recognition Act will require 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
 
Contacts:
 
Jimmy Smith
Deputy Communications Director
Office of the Premier
jimmy.smith@gov.bc.ca
 
Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills
Media Relations
604 209-7629
 
Province of British Columbia
BACKGROUNDER 2
For Immediate Release
2023PREM0063-001750
Nov. 9, 2023
Office of the Premier
Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills
How the act improves credential recognition for internationally educated health professionals

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:
    • further expansion of seats in the Practice Ready Assessment 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.A.-certified class of licensure (through the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC) enables eligible U.S.-trained physicians with certification in emergency medicine, internal medicine or pediatrics to practise medicine in B.C.; and
    • the introduction of associate physicians, a new class of registration that provides a route for international medical graduates (IMGs) not eligible for other classes of registration with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC to work under the direction and supervision of an attending physician within team-based care settings.
    • IMGs are registered through the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC.
  • Removing roadblocks that internationally educated nurses (IENs) used to face, including:
    • developing a more efficient pathway that simultaneously assesses IENs for health-care assistant, licensed practical nurse and registered nurse designations;
    • directly covering application and assessment fees with Nursing Community Assessment Service and BC College of Nurses and Midwives, providing bursaries for English-language competency testing and education with more than $9 million; and
    • creating new nurse-navigator positions to help IENs navigate the assessment and licensing process.
    • IENs are registered through the BC Colleges of Nurses and Midwives.
  • Developing Health Care Access Program (HCAP) to train, recruit and employ up to 3,000 entry-level health-care workers each year.
    • This program provides a path for eligible applicants, including internationally educated nurses who have not had their qualifications recognized and individuals with no health-sector experience, to get hired and receive paid employer- sponsored health-care assistant training as part of their employment.
  • Bursaries to help internationally educated allied health professionals join B.C.'s workforce.

Progress made to date:

  • 591 new international medical graduates registered;
  • 520 new internationally educated nurses registered;
  • 1,160 health care support workers hired into the Health Career Access Program since April 1, 2023; and
  • over 6700 health care support workers have been recruited to the Health Career Access Program since September 2021.
 
Contacts:
 
Jimmy Smith
Deputy Communications Director
Office of the Premier
jimmy.smith@gov.bc.ca
 
Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills
Media Relations
604 209-7629
 
Province of British Columbia
BACKGROUNDER 3
For Immediate Release
2023PREM0063-001750
Nov. 9, 2023
Office of the Premier
Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills
What people are saying about international credential recognition

Zahra Sobhaniyeh, secretary, board of directors, Iranian Engineers of BC Association –

“Improving the transparency and fairness of credential recognition and fast-tracking the evaluation process are vital promises of the international credential recognition legislation. Our aspiration is that this legislation lays a solid groundwork, enabling professional regulatory and service organizations, as well as other relevant stakeholders, to work together and effectively improve the experience of internationally trained professionals including engineers and architects in B.C.”

Bridgitte Anderson, CEO and president, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade –

“The passing of this legislation a few weeks after being introduced is a clear indication of how important it is for British Columbia to harness the skills of newcomers and ensure they can realize their full potential. With record-breaking population growth as a backdrop, guaranteeing that businesses have a more streamlined and transparent process for recognizing international credentials is paramount to building a future where every British Columbian can thrive.”

Olga Stachova, CEO, MOSAIC BC

“The immigrant communities in B.C. applaud the passing of legislation aimed at removing barriers internationally trained professionals experience in accessing careers in their professions and streamlining the path to fully realizing the incredible potential and skills newcomers bring to this province. This step will have a significant positive impact not only on the quality of lives and futures of newcomers, but on the B.C. economy and society at large.”

Dennis Salonoy, intern architect, Architectural Institute of B.C.

“Being an internationally trained professional, it is very important for me that this legislation be passed and enacted because it will lessen the burden of my everyday struggles in life. The B.C. government’s goal of credential recognition to be more transparent, efficient and fair for internationally trained professionals like me is a testament of dedication, compassion and commitment to B.C. residents. I will be more than happy and elated to see more professionals joining the B.C. workforce in the future to contribute to building a better British Columbia and a nation.”

Queenie Choo, CEO, S.U.C.C.E.S.S.

“For years, newcomers have told us how foreign-credential recognition barriers prevent them from fully integrating into their new home. Requirements for Canadian work experience have been preventing people with professional skills from contributing to our society for too long. We are very encouraged and excited that this new legislation will help maximize the diverse talents of immigrants here in B.C. We’re looking forward to closing the skills-shortage gap in our province, improving the fairness and timeliness of the process, and supporting growth in our economy.”

Heidi Yang, CEO, Engineers and Geoscientists BC

“As regulators, we have a duty to the public to ensure only qualified individuals have a license to practise professionally, but we must also ensure our requirements are applied equally and consistently to all applicants. Engineers and Geoscientists BC has a strong track record of improving our admissions processes to be more flexible and accessible to international applicants. We are pleased to see many of these processes reflected in this legislation.”

 
Contacts:
 
Jimmy Smith
Deputy Communications Director
Office of the Premier
jimmy.smith@gov.bc.ca
 
Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills
Media Relations
604 209-7629
 
Connect with the Province of B.C. at: news.gov.bc.ca/connect