B.C. introduces International Credentials Recognition Act

Act will affect 29 professions including legal

B.C. introduces International Credentials Recognition Act

British Columbia has introduced legislation that would make it easier for internationally trained professionals to work in the province.

Bill 38 – the International Credentials Recognition Act – will help regulatory bodies improve the credential recognition process for these professionals.

“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.”

Manitoba and Ontario have also all previously announced programs to ease the credentialing process for internationally trained professionals.

Bill 38 seeks to establish an office of the superintendent of international credential recognition under the Ministry of Labour. The following will be eligible for the superintendent seat: 

  • a person that the minister designates as the superintendent
  • one or more persons that the minister designates as deputy superintendents
  • other employees required to carry out the functions of the office of the superintendent.

The superintendent will primarily be responsible for the following:

  1. the oversight of systemic or general procedural matters relating to international credential assessment processes of regulatory authorities
  2. promoting fair, efficient and transparent international credential assessment processes
  3. administering this Act and exercising the powers and performing the duties of the superintendent under this Act
  4. advising the minister on matters relating to the responsibilities set out in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c).

Job seekers from outside Canada have shown far greater interest in coming to work in the country, according to a previous Indeed report. Overall, in the third quarter of 2023, 14% of clicks on Canadian job postings on Indeed were made by job seekers from abroad, more than double their six per cent share in mid-2019.

Coverage of International Credentials Recognition Act

B.C.’s International Credentials Recognition Act applies to the following regulatory authorities:

Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC

BC Institute of Agrologists

Director of the Early Childhood Educator Registry

Architectural Institute of BC

BC Registered Music Teachers’ Association

Emergency Medical Assistants Licensing Board

Association of BC Forest Professionals

BC Society of Landscape Architects  

Law Society of BC

Association of BC Land Surveyors

College of Applied Biologists

Organization of Chartered Professional Accountants of BC

Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC

College of Veterinarians of BC

Society of Notaries Public of BC

BC College of Social Workers

Director of teacher certification (and BC Teachers’ Council)

Superintendent of Real Estate (and BC Financial Services Authority)


It will affect 29 different professions in the following sectors:

  • Education and social work
  • Biology and environmental sciences
  • Engineering and architecture
  • Health and legal professions
  • Financial and real estate

The B.C. government expects the legislation to receive Royal Assent in November. By winter or spring of 2024, B.C. will establish Office of the Superintendent and develop regulations to support implementation, and engage with regulatory authorities on transition to new responsibilities.

The provincial government expects the full implementation of Bill 38 by the summer of next year.

Ottawa announced late in May the category-based selection under Express Entry. This year, the federal government is focusing the category-based selection invitations on candidates who have work experience in fields that include agriculture and agri-food.

‘Critical’ development for economic growth

A number of stakeholders welcomed the new legislation from B.C.

“Foreign credential recognition is critical for inclusive economic growth,” said Paul Holden, president & CEO of the Burnaby Board of Trade. “For too long, communities like Burnaby have been filled with talented professionals who have been unable to fulfill their potential because of a time-consuming, expensive and confusing credentialing process. After many years of working on this, we’re very happy to see this move by the Province.”

David Lee, director of employment, language, and social enterprise at MOSAIC – a registered charity helping immigrant, refugee, migrant and mainstream communities in B.C. – told CBC News that he was hopeful about the new legislation. 

MOSAIC often sees internationally trained skilled workers forced to return to their home countries due to struggles getting their foreign credentials recognized in Canada, he said, according to the report.

Meanwhile, Sobhana Jaya-Madhavan, adjunct and visiting professor at the Simon Fraser University, said via LinkedIn: “Recognizing foreign credentials is a critical step for immigrants to utilize their knowledge, skills and abilities to make a difference in Canada and have a positive immigrant experience.

“While it has taken decades for change to happen, the international foreign credentials initiative will be life changing for many and help us build a stronger BC economy.”

Recently, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)’s visa office in Manila launched CAN Work Philippines, which will streamline work permit processing for eligible  Canadian employers looking to hire workers from the Philippines.

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