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Canadian Work Experience

Most applicants to Ontario's regulated professions must provide evidence of relevant work experience before they can get licences. This experience can take various forms:

  • practical training
  • internship
  • practicums
  • bridging programs
  • mentorship
  • residency
  • “active engagement” in the profession

Internationally trained applicants are often frustrated by this experience requirement.

Thirty-eight regulated professions (in 35 separate regulatory bodies) licensed people in 2011, and 26 of those professions require work experience. Of those 26, 15 require Canadian experience, including 6 that specifically require Ontario experience. For more information, see the table below.

In 2011, 62,452 people applied to the regulated professions. Of those, 15,062 applied to professions that require Canadian experience, including 4,698 who applied to professions that require experience in Ontario.

The Office of the Fairness Commissioner believes that regulators requiring Canadian experience should explain why it is necessary and relevant. In other words, what precise competencies and skills are needed to practise the profession in Ontario, and why must they be obtained here?

Most regulators have promised to clarify what is needed, but not to lighten their requirements.

The OFC is discussing this issue with regulatory bodies and with the Government of Ontario, which is responsible for regulations about the professions.

Calling on employers, regulatory bodies to remove the “Canadian experience” barrier, July 2014


(left to right): Hon. Jean Augustine, Ontario Fairness Commissioner; Claude Balthazard, Vice-President Regulatory Affairs, Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA); RatnaOmidvar, President, Maytree; Debbie Douglas, Executive Director, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants; Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall, OHRC; Dr. Izumi Sakamoto, Principal Investigator, “Beyond Canadian Experience Project,” University of Toronto; Cherie Robertson, Senior Policy Analyst, OHRC; Elizabeth Reynolds, Manager, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, KPMG; Errol Mendes, Commissioner, OHRC.

Canadian Work Experience Requirements

The following table shows whether a profession has work experience requirements, and describes those requirements.

ProfessionIs Canadian work experience required?
ArchitectsYes: 940 hours in Ontario.
Audiologists and Speech-Language PathologistsYes: 6-month mentorship in Ontario.
Chartered AccountantsNo.
Dental HygienistsNo.
Dental SurgeonsNo.
Dental TechnologistsNo.
DietitiansYes: Most internationally educated applicants are asked to complete a Canadian Practical Training experience. Completing Ryerson University’s Internationally Educated Dietitians Pre-registration Program satisfies this requirement.
Early Childhood EducatorsNo.
Engineering Technicians and TechnologistsYes: 1 year of work experience in Canada. Applicants may work for a Canadian company abroad, or may work on projects, while in another country, that are destined for Canada and are consistent with Canadian codes, standards and practices.
EngineersYes: 12 months of work experience anywhere in the world under the supervision of a Canadian professional engineer, while employed by a company whose head office is in Canada.
ForestersYes: 18 months of relevant Ontario (or equivalent) work experience. Up to 6 months of international experience can be credited to this requirement, depending on the type of experience. For example, experience involving cooler, boreal-forest ecosystems is most relevant.
General AccountantsYes: 12 months of work experience in Canada.
GeoscientistsYes: 12 months of work experience in Canada. This experience includes experience in another country if the applicant was subject to Canadian professional standards in carrying out the work and did so on behalf of a company incorporated in Canada.
Land SurveyorsYes: Most internationally educated applicants must article for 18 months with an Ontario land surveyor or land-information professional. Relevant experience may reduce or replace this requirement.
Management AccountantsNo.
Massage TherapistsNo.
Medical Laboratory TechnologistsNo.
Medical Radiation TechnologistsNo.
MidwivesYes: All internationally trained midwives must complete a bridging program in Canada.
Occupational TherapistsNo.
OptometristsYes: All internationally trained applicants must complete a bridging program in Canada.
PharmacistsYes: All applicants must complete a period of structured practical training in Canada.
Pharmacy TechniciansYes: 12 weeks of structured practical training in Canada.
Physicians and SurgeonsYes: All international medical graduates must complete 1 year of post-graduate training (residency) in Ontario, unless they are eligible for one of the alternative pathways to registration.
PsychologistsYes: All candidates must complete 1500 hours (approximately 1 year) of supervised practice in Ontario.
Respiratory TherapistsNo.
Social Workers No.
Social Service WorkersNo.

April 2013​

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