International experts find Canadian certification challenging
A new study out of Queen’s University indicates that internationally educated professionals (IEPs) find professional licensing and certification in English in Ontario to be challenging to navigate. This eventually impacts whether these professionals continue to practice in Canada.
“None of my research participants have English as a first language,” says education professor Liying Cheng. “They have to navigate through a difficult testing process and some of them succeed and some fail. Now, because of this, we have highly trained people who are not able to do highly trained jobs.”
Dr. Cheng conducted face-to-face interviews with a number of IEPs including doctors, nurses, school teachers and engineers. She determined their main reason for pursuing certification in their respective profession was to become contributing citizens in Canada. She also found many never reach these goals.
“Non-recognition of international credentials and challenges in satisfying licensing and certification testing requirements have been identified as one of the largest barriers to successful integration into the workforce,” says Dr. Cheng, a director of the Assessment and Evaluation Group at Queen’s.
Dr. Cheng proposes next steps for government professional organizations to help IEPs coming to Canada, including strengthening cooperation among certification test stakeholders, increasing transparency in the process, reaching newcomers before they arrive in Canada, recognizing and valuing international credentials and providing mentorship for IEPs in relevant professional fields.
Dr. Cheng’s research will be presented at the Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Settlement conference in Toronto at the beginning of March.