Regulator best practices

The following summary has been prepared for use by the B.C. Government to support the assessment of Foreign Qualifications Recognition processes of B.C. regulatory bodies against best practices in other Canadian jurisdictions.

These best practices can be used to assist regulatory bodies to improve their Foreign Qualification Recognition practices, thereby improving assessment outcomes for internationally trained workers. Qualifications recognition processes vary considerably between occupations and a successful practice in one occupation may not be relevant to another.

Information and Transparency

Assess and upgrade communications materials (i.e., website and written documentation)

  • Does the regulatory body provide information on:
    • requirements for qualifications assessment, including language requirements (if any)?
    • what documents are required for the assessment process (including acceptable alternatives and whether documents must be original, official or certified)?
    • all assessment steps to achieve certification, licensing or registration?
    • all fees associated with credential assessment, including those charged by third parties?
    • available sources of funding to assist with qualifications recognition costs?
    • normal timeline to assess credentials (from submission of complete application to initial decision)?
    • normal timeline for certification?
    • practice of this occupation in Canada?
  • Is this information clearly labelled, organized and easy to navigate? Can all necessary information for qualifications recognition can be accessed in a single location?
  • Has information been reviewed by plain language specialists and/or internationally trained applicants for ease of understanding?

Online Self-Assessment Tools

Support the development of online self-assessment tools

  • Is a self-assessment tool provided that will predict likelihood of certification success and potential alternate career paths?
  • Is information available on the Essential Skills expected in the workplace for the occupation? Is there an occupation specific Essential Skills self-assessment tool? Are connections to Essential Skill upgrading supports provided?

Pre-arrival Assessment    

Support the development of pre-arrival assessment processes

  • Potential immigrants are able to complete most of the steps for certification before they arrive in Canada.
  • Applications and supporting documents can be submitted online and by mail.

Communication with Applicants

Support the development of applicant tracking systems and online applications.

  • Are applicants kept informed of their progress through the assessment process? Do they receive timely notification of any delays? Is there an online application integrated into an applicant tracking system?

Support the development of outreach and mentorship programs.

  • Conduct outreach to potential applicants through immigrant serving organizations.
  • Develop a mentorship program to assist applicants with the registration process and transitions into professional practice.

Skills Upgrading    

Explore needs and opportunities for skills upgrading.

  • Are there common gaps in the competency of internationally trained workers? Are resources available to address these gaps?

Improve Assessment Tools and Processes

Support development or revision of assessment tools.

  • Are language standards relevant to occupational requirements? Is work needed to optimize language-testing methodologies?
  • Does the assessment process include an option for competency-based assessments?
  • Are supports in place to help prepare candidates for competency-based exams and skills testing?
  • Is cultural diversity training in place for staff and volunteers involved in assessment and registration decisions?
  • Have examination materials been evaluated to identify culturally specific information or language?

Internal Reviews

Support the completion of regulatory body focused reviews to improve foreign qualification recognition processes.

  • Has a review been conducted of decision-making timelines and processes, including what areas of certification, licensing or registration internationally trained applicants are struggling with, in order to streamline assessment steps?
  • Are any supports needed to enable annual reporting on assessment outcomes and timelines?
  • Has a review been conducted of Canadian work experience requirements to ensure that they are relevant and necessary?

Work with Other Jurisdictions

Support cross-jurisdictional partnerships to improve foreign qualifications recognition outcomes.

  • Are partnerships in place with other jurisdictions to share information on credential assessment outcomes for international institutions?
  • Are national standards being developed that improve labour mobility within an occupation?
  • Is work underway to develop additional bilateral or multilateral Mutual Recognition Agreements?


Canadian Network of National Associations of Regulators (2010). Focus on Qualification Assessment and Recognition, Conference 2010.

MOSAIC BC (March 2006). Solutions for Access: Improving Access to Licensure to Licensure for ITPs.

Office of the Fairness Commission (March 2010). Clearing the Path: Recommendations for Action in Ontario’s Professional Licensing System. Government of Ontario.

Saskatchewan Canada Immigration. A Regulator’s Guide to Improving Qualification Recognition Practices: Credential Assessment. Government of Saskatchewan.