In Canada, some professions and trades (such as in healthcare, engineering or electricians) are regulated, while others (such as computer programming or technicians) are non-regulated.

In a regulated profession, you must have a license or certificate for that profession and be registered with the proper regulatory body in order to work and use a specific job title associated with that career. A license, certificate or professional registration are not required in non-regulated professions to work in that field; however, employers may require have their own requirements.

The path to working in regulated or non-regulated professions are different. Knowing about whether your job is regulated or non-regulated will help you connect to career resources so you can be better prepared for your job search.

To find out if your occupation is regulated or non-regulated, visit:

Non-regulated professions

A non-regulated profession is an occupation that has no requirement for a licence, certificate or registration with a regulatory body to work in that profession. Most occupations in Canada are non-regulated. For some non-regulated occupations, certification or registration with a professional governing body is available on a voluntary basis.

Applicants for non-regulated occupations must demonstrate to potential employers that they possess the experience, education and training required for the job. Even for non-regulated occupations, employers may require job applicants to be registered, licensed or certified with a relevant professional association.

To learn more about working in a non-regulated profession:

  • Study the requirements for a variety of job descriptions in your non-regulated profession
  • Research professional and industry associations and certifications required by employers
  • Join a relevant professional immigrant network to network and learn from the experiences of other newcomers in your profession, industry or cultural group

If your work background is in a regulated profession and you intend to complete training, licensing or registration requirements before working in that profession, you may consider working in an non-regulated alternative profession.

Regulated professions

A regulated profession or trade is one that is controlled by government law, usually provincial and territorial but sometimes federal, and administered by a professional organization or a regulatory body. These professions – including physicians, nurses and lawyers, as well as skilled trades, like plumbers and electricians – not only require educational credential assessment, but also licensing, certification or registration with an appropriate regulatory body in order to practise that occupation and use a specific job title.

A regulatory body has authority to:

  • Set requirements, like technical examinations, and standards of practice to assess a worker's qualifications and credentials
  • Certify, register or licence qualified applicants
  • Regulate those working in that occupation

 Find out if your profession or trade is regulated:

It can take time to obtain the right to work in a regulated profession or trade if you were trained outside of Canada. Consider working in an unregulated but related job in your field as your complete your licensing requirements. This can provide a way to earn income, work in your field, gain Canadian experience and build a professional network.

An Immigrant Access Fund loan can help if you are struggling to pay for the costs that are associated with completing the licensing or training you need to work in your field in Canada.

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