Coming to Canada

Thinking of coming to live and work in Canada? This section of the website has information and links you may find useful for immigrating, settling and working here.

Immigrating to Canada

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Before you can come to Canada to work, you must first apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

IRCC offers a number of programs for those wishing to enter and work legally in Canada.  You can find more information on their website. 

IRCC has an electronic method of application called Express Entry for the following federal programs: Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, Canadian Experience Class.  For more information on Express Entry, and to see if you could be eligible under one of these programs, check HERE.

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Working in a Regulated Profession

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Approximately 20% of the occupations in Canada are regulated, which means that you must get a license before you can legally work in these professions. In Canada, occupations are regulated by each province and territory, not by the federal Government of Canada. The federal government is responsible for immigration, which is a completely separate process from getting a professional license. It is illegal to work in regulated occupations or to use certain protected job titles (such as “physician”) without a licence from the proper provincial or territorial regulator. You may get points toward immigration because of your profession, but that does not guarantee that you can get a license to work in that profession in Canada.   

To find out if you are eligible for a license in your occupation, contact the regulator for the province or territory where you are planning to live. The provincial regulator will assess your education and work experience, and decide if you meet the requirements to be licensed. If you do not meet the licensure requirements, the regulator will tell you how to upgrade your education or work experience.

You can find a list of Alberta regulators and professions that require a license to practice HERE.  You will find more information in the Attaining Your License of Considering Your Options section of this website.

Before You Leave Home

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If you are planning to pursue licensure and/or work in a regulated profession in Canada, it is important to contact your provincial regulator before you leave your home country. Please note, that the immigration and licensing processes are separate; being accepted to immigrate to Canada does not automatically mean that you have a license to practice in your profession. 

Before you leave home, review and consider the recommendations listed below.

Pre-Arrival Services:

  • You can access “pre-arrival” services before you leave home. These services are offered online or in-person for people who have been approved to immigrate to Canada. You can access most pre-arrival services if:
    • You have received a Confirmation of Permanent Residence letter (COPR), or have been contacted by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) with a positive decision on the eligibility of your application, and
    • You currently live outside of Canada.
  • Pre-Arrival services are offered by the Government of Canada free of charge and can help you to:
    • Prepare for your move to Canada
    • Connect with employers to find a job
    • Connect with free services after you arrive in Canada
    • Learn about housing, education, health, economic trends, job requirements, occupational demands, foreign credential assessment and licensing processes, workplace culture, and job search techniques
  • A list of pre-arrival services is available on the IRCC website.

Documentation:

  • Check with your educational institution(s) and former employer(s) that they are willing to send certificates, transcripts and professional references directly to institutions in Canada. Canadian credential assessors, regulators and other organizations often require documents to be sent directly for application, assessment and/or licensing purposes.
  • Gather both originals and notarized copies of all your academic records and transcripts from high school and post-secondary education. These will need to be translated into English (by a certified translator) if they are written in another language. Some organizations, especially in the provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick, will also accept documents written in French. If in doubt, check with the relevant organization first. In addition, translation requirements vary depending on the purpose and/or institution; make sure to check the requirements prior translation.

Language:

  • You will need to be able to communicate well in English (or French) to be successful in the workforce. It is a good idea to start practising or take lessons before you arrive in Canada.

Costs:

  • Be prepared for a number of fees and costs associated with immigrating to Canada and finding work (credential assessments, translation of documents, registration/licensure exams, educational courses, language tests, etc.).

Click here to download a checklist that will help you prepare for your move, settlement and employment in Alberta.

Settlement Services

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Immigrant serving agencies, also known as settlement agencies (like Bredin Centre for Career Advancement), provide help and advice to newcomers. They offer a wide range of services including:

  • Helping with interpretation and translation of documents
  • Assistance with filling out forms and applications
  • Arranging English as a second language (ESL) classes for you and your family
  • Career advice and help finding a job or training programs
  • Information about other community services, schools for your children, and health care for you and your family

In most cases, these services are offered free of charge. Many settlement agencies have staff who can speak languages other than English and French. If you go to a settlement agency and they do not have the service or language you need, they will help you find another agency that does. IRCC offers a list of newcomer services in each province and territory including Alberta (see: HERE).

Financial Assistance

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A low-interest loan of up to $15,000 CAD may be available to you through Servus Bredin Microloans to help you pay for licensure exams. Additional information and eligibility criteria are provided HERE

To apply for a Servus-Bredin microloan, please contact the Bredin Centre for Career Advancement at www.bredin.ca or phone them toll-free at 1.877.273.3461.

Clients of the BredinWorks for Internationally Educated Professionals program in Edmonton may be eligible for support in paying expenses related to foreign credential recognition. These costs may include:

  • Qualification assessment
  • Licensure fees
  • Books and course materials
  • Professional association fees
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