Evaluation of the Foreign Credential Recognition Program

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List of figures
List of tables
List of acronyms and abbreviations
CWE:
Canadian Work Experience
ESDC:
Employment and Social Development Canada
FCRP:
Foreign Credential Recognition Program
FLMM:
Forum of Labour Market Ministers

Introduction

This report presents the findings of the evaluation of the Foreign Credential Recognition Program, administered by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). The Foreign Credential Recognition Program, referred to as the “Program”, is aimed at improving the processes of credential recognition for internationally trained individuals.

A previous evaluation of the program was undertaken in 2015. The current evaluation is in accordance with the 2016 Treasury Board Policy on Results and in fulfillment of the Financial Administration Act requirements. The evaluation focusses on the contribution of the supports provided in the improvement of foreign credential recognition processes, including direct individual support components. The evaluation covers a period from April 2014 to March 2019 inclusive.

An observation made is that there is a lack of data on the labour market outcomes of internationally trained individuals in Canada. This is an impediment to measure the impact of the program on the employment outcomes of internationally trained individuals in Canada. The program could explore ways to facilitate data collection with internal and external stakeholders.

The evaluation questions were approved at the November 2018 Performance Measurement and Evaluation Committee and can be found in Annex A.

Seven lines of evidence were used to answer the evaluation questions*:

  • document and project file review
  • literature review
  • key informant interviews
  • expert panels on foreign credential recognition
  • a web analytics study
  • a pop-up survey
  • occupational and provincial case studies

* Note:

A description of each line of evidence including the limitations can be found in Annex B.

Key evaluation results summary

Key Findings

  1. There have been improvements in the areas of fairness, consistency, timeliness and transparency of foreign credential recognition processes. However, it is difficult to determine the extent to which these improvements could be attributed to ESDC’s leadership and coordination, given that the program operates in a multi-jurisdiction regime and the lack of data
  2. Early results of the Canadian Work Experience Pilot Projects indicate contribution towards the acquisition of Canadian experience and job search skills among participants. Work placements and coaching supports were reported to be especially useful by participants. In addition, the Foreign Credential Recognition Loans Projects are a successful initiative, with early results from the pilot indicating low default rates and positive employment outcomes
  3. The Foreign Credential Recognition Loans Projects are a successful initiative, with early results from this pilot indicating low default rates and positive employment outcomes. In addition, results from this pilot indicate that two-thirds of recipients would have taken more time to complete their credential plan in the absence of the loans projects
  4. Many internationally trained individuals continue to face multiple barriers as they attempt to work in positions that are commensurate with their qualifications. The extent to which the program has contributed to attenuate those barriers is unclear

Observation: The lack of data on labour market outcomes of internationally trained individuals is an impediment to measure the impact of the program on their employment outcomes.

Recommendations

Note:

The main findings of this evaluation have to be seen in light of some limitations (see Annex B). It was clear throughout the different lines of evidence that many factors that drive the successes and challenges of the foreign credential recognition system are beyond the program’s influence.

Background

Context

The Government of Canada is committed to the attraction, selection and integration of skilled immigrants into the Canadian economy and society. By 2036, the share of immigrants in Canada’s population would stand between 24.5% and 30.0%, according to Statistics Canada. These would be the highest proportions since 1871*.

Since 2002, the federal government has shifted its immigration policy away from specific labour market shortages to focus on the country’s overall human capital needs and the recruitment of highly skilled, well-educated immigrants. In order to fully benefit from this immigration policy, the government needs to leverage the skills of immigrants by facilitating their integration into the labour market. However, foreign credential recognition processes can be lengthy and cumbersome to go through before immigrants can fully participate in the Canadian labour market.

The 2001 to 2016 data** of employment growth of university degree holders indicates that a larger proportion of recent immigrants are integrating in the Canadian labour market in jobs requiring lower skill levels than their education credential as compared to Canadian-born with the same educational credentials.

Overall, university-educated immigrants accounted for 71% of the growth in low- and medium-skilled employment, but only 29% of the growth in high-skilled employment. The source country of immigrants, official language ability and years since immigration are key factors that influence the trend of the labour market outcomes of immigrants.

Employment growth among university degree holders, by skill level (2001 to 2016)*

Internationally Trained Individuals

Immigrants have a high level of education, with generally higher educational levels among those from high income countries with large inflows. However, even when education obtained abroad is relevant in the receiving country, immigrants often require additional skills such as language**.

The following characteristics were the most predominant amongst the internationally trained newcomers who have been in Canada for less than 10 years. This was based on a survey of 6,400 newcomers conducted by World Education Services in 2019. This survey comprised of individuals who applied for educational credential assessments between 2013 and 2015.

Immigration Program*

Note:

6.5% of newcomers were from other programs such as the Quebec Skilled worker program.

Demographic Characteristics*

Education and Experience*

Note that the survey did not collect data on French language proficiency of internationally trained individuals.

Top countries of origin*

The program

The program was introduced in 2003 with a primary objective to help internationally trained individuals integrate into the Canadian labour market. It also contributes to the Government of Canada's commitment to the attraction, selection and integration of skilled immigrants into the Canadian economy and society.

The program provides federal leadership and promotes national coordination amongst key stakeholders to align goals and improvements in accordance with the principles of the 2009 Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications. The framework also identifies targeted occupations.

Principles of the framework

In 2009, the Federal, Provincial, and Territorial governments developed a vision to work collectively and individually to ensure that the regulatory authorities have credential recognition processes in place that adhere to the principles of transparency, consistency, timeliness, and fairness.

The program is a contribution program that provides funding to the provinces and territories, regulatory bodies and organizations to support foreign credential recognition processes in Canada. Funding is provided to simplify and harmonize foreign credential recognition processes, which indirectly support internationally trained individuals. The program also funds direct employment support through the loans and support services and the Canadian Work Experience to internationally trained individuals. The program’s annual budget since 2017 is about $21 million.

Main activities of the program

Main Findings

Main Finding #1

The program operates in a multi-jurisdiction regime, limiting its ability to contribute to systemic changes.

The program’s ability to create systemic changes is limited since the provinces and territories have jurisdiction over credentialing for most regulated professions.* Most groups consulted noted that:

  • this creates tension between the program’s mandate to create systemic changes given that it lacks the levers to do so, and
  • the program is expected to collaborate with other jurisdictions

Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s Settlement Program complements the foreign credential recognition process by providing employment related supports and pre-arrival supports for all newcomers.

It was found that a complex federal system with decentralized authority results in:

  • fragmentation of resources
  • duplication of services
  • multiple players with unclear roles

ESDC’s leadership role has been declining or transitioning away from supporting system-wide interventions, according to some key informants.

A misalignment between Canada's immigration system and the foreign credential recognitions processes for regulated professions has been highlighted as an issue among several internationally trained nurses and engineer interviewees.**

The introduction of direct employment supports, namely, the Canadian Work Experience and Foreign Credential Recognition Loans, were an appropriate means to exercise federal leadership as highlighted by the expert panel and the literature review.

The international research argues for a strong federal role in the field of foreign credential recognition.

Australia has developed a nation-wide recognition system. Their approach includes:

  • the development of more flexible foreign credential pathways
  • federal leadership and funding as fundamental in catalyzing and sustaining foreign credential recognition reform, and
  • parliamentary oversight as critical to ensuring improvements in demonstrable outcomes
  • * The context of immigration policy has changed in recent years with the expanding Express Entry program, involving a closer link to employment.
  • ** See Annex C – Program Description.

Main Finding #2

There is a continuous need for the program to exercise federal leadership, coordination and information sharing.

The need for the program to exercise a leadership role around foreign credential recognition was recognized. However, the role of the program could be better explained according to many stakeholders:

  • ESDC efforts to coordinate stakeholders’ activities and share information, particularly through its role on the Forum of Labour Market Ministers’ Mobility and Qualification Recognition Working Group, was acknowledged by many key informants as important
  • confusion was noted about the different roles played by ESDC overall and the program. Some were wrongly assuming that the program was involved in the Forum of Labour Market Ministers’ Mobility and Qualification Recognition Working Group
  • key informant interviewees from the federal government indicated that the role was clear

The program helped coordinate activities aimed at harmonizing and simplifying foreign credential recognition processes. However, areas for improvement include:

  • greater transparency around the implementation of the framework and alignment with funding priorities
  • more in-person opportunities for stakeholders to share their insights; and
  • more pro-active sharing of information about activities undertaken by the federal government

Information sharing among the different actors in Foreign Credential Recognition is beneficial and should continually be improved upon by addressing changing needs through:

  • greater engagement with stakeholders, such as Fairness Commissioners* and the Mobility and Qualification Recognition Working Group
  • better liaison with other organizations about their foreign credential recognition-oriented public websites; and
  • improvement of access to Foreign Credential Recognition web portal launched in May 2019

*Note:

The Fairness Commissioners are located in Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec, and Nova Scotia. They assess the registration practices of certain regulated professions and trades to ensure they are transparent, objective, impartial and fair for anyone applying to practice in his or her profession. The Fairness Commissioner Reports and data on registration practices are available bi-annually.

Main Finding #3

Improvements in the areas of transparency, consistency, timeliness and fairness of foreign credential recognition processes have been observed. However, these improvements could not be attributed to the program given the lack of data and the vast number of stakeholders.

The program is focusing its activities along the four principles of the 2009 Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications:

  • transparency
  • consistency
  • timeliness
  • fairness

The framework sets out a guideline for jurisdictions to work collectively and individually to apply the principles, establish service standards, and support the labour market needs of immigrants across Canada.

  • There is still debate among stakeholders and experts about the definitions of the principles, their relative importance and the progress made
  • The approach of the framework was found to be outdated, as highlighted by the literature review
  • The usefulness of the principles could be improved by updating and prioritizing these principles and developing indicators of success according to experts
  • Fairness and timeliness should be seen as the paramount among the four principles according to some experts

Canada recently ratified the Lisbon Recognition Convention (2018), a legally binding document that emphasizes the principles of fairness and timeliness, which are two of the principles included in the framework. This demonstrates Canada’s commitment to global recognition and mobility.

Transparency

Transparency: The requirements to apply to an occupation, the methods and criteria for assessment of qualifications are fully described, easy to understand, and widely accessible.

There has been improvement in the transparency of foreign credential recognition processes. The program contributed to this improvement through leadership and coordination (such as the program-funded websites, harmonization projects, etc.). However, concerns about transparency still exist due to the following reasons:

  • there is passive sharing of information on websites
  • decision-making processes are not always shared
  • information available can be unclear and confusing
  • about 14.4% of internationally trained individuals surveyed indicated that they did not know whether or not their profession was regulated in Canada*
  • there have been steps taken to improve transparency of foreign credential recognition process in Canada (such as Manitoba)
Office of the Manitoba Fairness Commissioner

Office of the Manitoba Fairness Commissioner reviewed all Manitoba regulators to improve the transparency, objectivity, impartiality, and fairness of foreign credential recognition. Among other outcomes, this resulted in regulators committing to:

  • streamlining and rationalizing document requirements
  • ensuring proper assessment preparation supports and implementing the assessment of work experience

Case studies indicated that Engineers Canada has established a “single-source website”. However, the requirements of the profession has not been harmonized across provinces, which raises the issue about its pertinence. Information on success rates during their licensing processes is limited. **

There is a lack of transparency at the National Nursing Assessment Service about:

  • the basis on which the credential are assessed
  • how comparability is determined
  • the reasons why education and credential are deemed as not comparable**

Consistency

Consistency: The criteria and assessment methods are mutually acceptable in each province and territory so that the results of the assessment processes are recognized.

Improvements in the consistency of the foreign credential recognition processes have been noted. The program’s support for cross-country projects that streamline application and assessment contributed to the improvements.

  • There remains a strong argument in favour of the goal of consistency of professional regulation across Canada based on international evidence
    • European literature suggests that cross-border recognition of professional credentials does lead to greater mobility of immigrants
    • Evidence from the United States indicates that States with more stringent licensure requirements receive fewer migrant physicians. It is estimated that over a third of all States could reduce their physician shortages by at least 10% within 5 years just by equalizing migrant and native licensure requirements
  • Despite progress, concerns were raised about that lack of consistency in certain areas
  • Moreover, consistency among foreign credential recognition processes is not always a desirable outcome and should be adaptable to the local context

Nursing foreign credential assessment

The harmonization of 4 out of the 10 steps* for requalification of internationally educated nurses through the National Nursing Assessment Service was viewed as ensuring greater consistency in the assessment of academic credentials and authentication of documents. Despite these efforts, inconsistency still exists within the last six steps of the application process:

  • assessment
  • remediation of gaps to meet jurisdictional requirements
  • eligibility to write an exam
  • temporary registration for safe practice
  • national/provincial examination
  • full registration for licensing

These steps are still managed by the regulatory bodies.

  • * Please see Appendix D for a list of all 10 steps.

Case studies indicated that Engineering requirements are not harmonized nationally, even with the introduction of the Competency Based Assessment tool.

Many internationally educated nurses felt that the process of foreign credential recognition was duplicative or contradictory, despite harmonization of some of the steps for requalification through the National Nursing Assessment Service. Some felt that two applicants with the same credentials may receive different assessment results from the same organization. Some reported that they were given different information by different parties along their foreign credential recognition journey.

Timeliness

Timeliness: The assessment and recognition of foreign qualifications, as well as the communication of assessment decisions are carried out promptly and efficiently.

There have been improvements in the timeliness of foreign credential recognition processes. These have often (but not always) been attributed to the program’s leadership and coordination, according to most key informants. They also indicated that:

  • pre-arrival supports*, tools, and information, and harmonized and standardized approaches to foreign credential recognition are the key drivers of improved timeliness
  • the ‘one year to decision’ benchmark for timeliness is too slow, and the foreign credential recognition processes are still too long. Effort is needed to make these processes timelier
  • the issue of timeliness is critical as delays in licensing internationally trained put them at a risk of becoming deskilled and underemployed as seen in the literature review
  • data from the fairness commissioners reports for the four provinces (Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Quebec) highlight the need for improvements around timeliness
  • early results from the Foreign Credential Recognition Loans pilot indicate that these loan projects have accelerated the foreign credential recognition process for a majority of the participants. Two-thirds of recipients would have taken more time to complete their credential plan

According to the Office of Manitoba Fairness Commissioner:

  • 40% of registered applicants to regulated professions in the 2015 to 2017 period had passed through the licensure process within a year
  • the averages varied considerably by specific regulators
  • the top 8 regulators in Manitoba, with the largest number of applicants, received 2,683 applications between 2015 to 2017, but only 348 (13%) completed the licensure process and were successfully registered during that period

Case studies indicated that no stakeholder was able to confirm the average length of time it takes for a foreign engineer to be credentialed, even though timeliness was established as a goal.

Stakeholders could not conclude that National Nursing Assessment Service had accelerated the foreign credential recognition process for the nursing profession. In addition, many internationally educated nurses perceived that the National Nursing Assessment prolongs the foreign credential recognition process.

Note:

This includes pre-arrival supports funded by the program

Fairness

Fairness: The criteria used for determining recognition of qualifications are objective, reasonable and do not exhibit bias.

There have been improvements in fairness of foreign credential recognition processes. The contribution of the program toward this improvement could not be clearly established. The lack of fairness remains an issue for foreign credential recognition according to several key informants.

  • The program contributed to the elimination of certain barriers that make foreign credential recognition inequitable (not treating individuals as the same), according to several key informants
  • The role and contribution of the Fairness Commissioners in Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec, and Nova Scotia is crucial, particularly about progress in the foreign credential recognition system and the reduction in barriers for skilled immigrants, according to experts
  • There has been progress made in elimination of bias in credential assessment and professional recognition processes. For example, a nursing regulator in Alberta developed internal administrative data about the characteristics of internationally educated nurse applicants and their pathways to licensing, which led to the development of new registration policies

Office of the Fairness Commissioners Annual Report 2017 to 2018

In Ontario, the number of professions found to be in compliance with fair-access legislation * has increased from 6% to 50% between 2011 to 2012 and 2016 to 2018. In 2018, 61% of the regulated professions were in compliance with the fair-access legislation. *The fair-access legislation states that the regulatory body must provide registration practices that are transparent, objective, impartial and fair.

Case studies demonstrated that internationally educated engineers who came through the express entry to Ontario were required to have their educational qualifications assessed twice (once by World Education Services during the immigration process and then by Professional Engineers Ontario during the licensure process), and perceived this process as unfair.

Many internationally educated nurses felt that the foreign credential recognition process was not fair both at the National Nursing Assessment level and at the provincial level. Assessments at the national level are conducted without proper understanding of the variations between nursing programs, thus underestimating candidates’ experiences.

Main Finding #4

Many internationally trained individuals continue to face multiple barriers as they attempt to work in jobs that are commensurate with their qualifications. The extent to which the program has helped to attenuate those barriers is unclear.

The common barriers to employment and foreign credential among internationally trained individuals were (based on evidence from key informants, experts, and the literature):

  • long and complex processes to receive accreditation
  • lack of a canadian-obtained educational credential
  • lack of professional connections
  • financial barriers
  • language skills and inconsistent language expectations for foreign credential recognition
  • employers’ attitudes result in not accepting qualifications and experience
  • lack of co-ordination between canada’s immigration system and foreign credential recognition processes and
  • access to sufficient, relevant and quality information and pre-arrival supports
  • the lack of licensure in Canada, resume or cover writing skills, and a lack of demand for skills were some other barriers that were identified (World Education Services, 2019)

Women and racialized groups or visible minorities face additional barriers to their foreign credential recognition and labour market entry.

Traditional gender expectations, and the absence of social networks are detrimental to the labour market integration of professional women.

Single women with children face unique challenges once they arrive in Canada (such as balancing family responsibilities while looking for a job or completing their foreign credentialing process) Newcomers with a post-secondary educational degree who are Arab, West Asian or Black experience significantly higher unemployment rates, especially if they are women.

Figure 1: Top barriers to employment among internationally trained individuals, 2019
A horizontal bar graph showing the percentage of internationally-trained individuals facing a number of barriers to securing employment within Canada.
  • Source: World Education Services, 2019
Figure 1: Text version
Barries %
Low demand for a majority of skills 14.8
Resume or cover writing skills 15.1
Lack of licensure in Canada 17.9
International education is not recognized 25.2
Employers do not accept my qualifications and experience 30
Lack of professional connections 48.5

Note:

Respondents could cite more than one barrier at the time of the survey. For this reason, the sum of the proportions exceed 100%.

There has been some progress towards addressing these barriers faced by internationally trained individuals, particularly around long and complex processes, lack of Canadian educational credential, financial barriers, and the lack of recognition foreign qualifications and experience by employers.

The program is having a positive impact with regards to helping address barriers faced by internationally trained individuals. Since 2017, the program has begun offering direct employment supports to skilled newcomers including tailored supports services for newcomer women to help them integrate into the Canadian labour market. The Foreign Credential Recognition Loans Projects is a successful model that mitigate the adverse effects of expensive and lengthy foreign credential accreditation process.

  • Women represented a majority of the recipients of the foreign credential recognition loans based on the results of the pilot

The Canadian Work Experience Pilot Projects** were found to help foster improvements in the foreign credential recognition process and labour market integration of immigrant professionals by providing:

  • work experience
  • soft skills regarding workplace norms, and
  • networks through job placements and service providers and mentoring

This led to better employment outcomes for internationally trained individuals, including obtaining licensure and employment in their chosen or alternative professions.

An important caveat to these findings is that the evaluation was not designed to collect evidence regarding how the program has addressed these specific barriers. Due to the number of players working towards those outcomes, and the difficulty in determining the contribution of each stakeholder, the attribution of improvements against the identified barriers to the program is unclear.

  • * Note: More information on the barriers, key issues and the program impacts can be found in Annex F.
  • ** Note: More information on the Canadian Work Experience Pilot Projects can be found in Annex E.

Main Finding #5

Early results of the Canadian Work Experience Pilot Projects indicate contribution towards the acquisition of Canadian experience and job search skills among participants. Work placements and coaching supports were reported to be especially useful.

A lack of Canadian work experience is a barrier to economic integration, even more so among women, racialized groups, or visible minorities, as highlighted by the literature review and the expert panel.

  • For instance, higher employment rates among individuals who have had prior experience working or studying in Canada were observed (World Education Services, 2019).

The Canadian Work Experience Pilot Projects (see Annex E) is designed to contribute to positive employment outcomes by addressing the lack of Canadian work experience. Early results indicate achievement of some outcomes with no gender differences across different groups.

Canadian work experience pilot description

Key features of the projects delivered included:

  • training (4 of the 6 sites)
  • work placements (5 of 6 sites)
  • employer engagement (5 of 6 sites)
  • wage subsidies (5 of 6 sites)
  • one-on-one support (5 of 6 sites)
  • mentoring (2 of the 5 sites)

Overall, there was more interest from internationally trained individuals than sites could serve.

Profile of participants in the pilot (n=1300) from Aug 2017 to May 2019

  • 71% had Graduate degree or higher
  • 66% were unemployed prior to entering the program
  • 75% of participants were in Canada for less than one year

Pre-migration occupation:

  • natural and applied sciences (35%)
  • business and finance (17%)

Early results from the Canadian Work Experience Pilot Projects indicates

  • Work placements and coaching supports were cited as the most useful components of the project
  • Gaining Canadian experience and job search skills were seen by participants as the most significant outcomes of the project
  • 73% of participants were satisfied with the project
  • 72% of participants who obtained a work placement were still employed at the end of the work placement
  • Source: Social Research & Demonstration Corporation 2019

Main Finding #6

Employer engagement through wage subsidies have proven to be beneficial, particularly in reducing the recruitment risk of hiring newcomers who do not have Canadian work experience in their fields.

Employers place greater emphasis on Canadian work experience as opposed to international work experience and almost as much emphasis on Canadian educational credentials, according to the experts and literature review.

  • Internationally trained individuals face barriers based on employer’s risk aversion and attitudes
  • Engaging employers with regards to offering work placements remains a challenge, according to most informants
  • A lack of understanding of foreign credentials could create barriers for internationally trained individuals in accessing professional rather than survival jobs
    • 57% of employers reported having success in understanding resumes of immigrants and assessing credentials gained outside of Canada (Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council, 2018)

The Canadian Work Experience Pilot Projects has effectively connected employers to internationally trained individuals and helped to address misperceptions through outreach and relationship building by:

  • presenting a business case of the program for employers
  • encouraging employers to have additional candidates, and
  • highlighting the value and availability of human resources support to small- and medium-sized businesses as well as the benefits and available talent pool through the pilot

Wage subsidies were instrumental in engaging employers across small- and medium-sized businesses.

In particular, the subsidies were instrumental in providing the necessary resources to reduce the recruitment risk of hiring internationally trained individuals in their occupations during their work placements.

Main Finding #7

The Foreign Credential Recognition Loans Projects were viewed as an appropriate approach to address financial barriers of internationally trained individuals.

The high costs of the licensing process were highlighted as a key issue in the literature review. The process can be costly due to:

  • application fees
  • obtaining documentation from their home country
  • having materials translated

The total costs for licensure is often not clear or does not include additional expenses (such as training costs, bridging, language, childcare).

The Foreign Credential Recognition Loans Pilot was launched in 2012 to help internationally trained individuals gain their credential recognition by helping offset costs of this process.

  • Based on this pilot, Budget 2017 introduced and implemented the Foreign Credential Recognition Loans Projects*

The Foreign Credential Recognition Loans Projects* is a successful model, according to the experts consulted.

Loans were identified as effective in mitigating the adverse effects of expensive and lengthy foreign credential accreditation process.

Results from the Foreign Credential Recognition Loans Pilot

Between 2012 and 2014, 1,500 loans were approved and $9M were disbursed.

  • Interest rates ranged between prime plus 1 to 2%, with repayment options that varied considerably (such as some tied to employment status)
  • A majority of repayment models during the pilot specified a repayment period between 2 and 3 years and included a continuum of supports
  • Loan amounts ($6k on average) were sufficient for individuals with lower credentialing costs

However, the total estimated cost of credentialing differed across occupations.

The process was more costly for health professionals and professionals in business and finance. Over two-thirds of individuals in both these groups of professionals claimed costs of over $10,000.

*Note that the results were from an evaluation of the pilot commissioned to Social Research Demonstration Corporation in 2014. The Foreign Credential Loans pilot has moved to a full program status since Budget 2017.

  • Source: Social Research Demonstration Corporation 2014

Main Finding #8

The Foreign Credential Recognition Loans Projects has been successful, with early results from the pilot indicating low default rates and positive employment outcomes.

There were low delinquency * and default rates (combined rate of less than 2%) which could indicate the achievement of outcomes at minimum cost. However, many loans had yet to enter their repayment period.

The services provided by the Foreign Credential Loans Projects were deemed useful by clients.

  • Information about the loans process (55%), credentialing activities, credentialing assessment (15%) and financial workshops (20%) were cited as the most useful services by clients

Internationally trained individuals, who participated in the Foreign Credential Loans Projects, entered the labour market sooner, and subsequently, earned skills-commensurate wages earlier, paid more taxes and depended less on government transfers than those who did not participate. In particular:

  • 25.9% of individuals who received loans found employment in their intended occupation or in a related occupation
  • increase in employment rates a year later was observed across all occupations, albeit at different rates, ranging from 36% in business and finance occupations to 76% in nursing
  • they also reported an increase in their social well-being

Lessons Learned

  • Program promotion, outreach, and maintaining partnerships required continuous efforts
  • Follow-ups with participants was an integral part of the process
  • Wrap around employment services (such as counselling, job search support, resume support and employer networking) over and above the loan were important to help with the credentialing process
  • Changes in the model may be essential for sustainability

Suggestions

  • Increased advertising to a wider audience
  • More flexibility in terms of repayment and uses of the loan
  • Longer amortization and repayment periods
  • Increased availability of the supports provided and a smoother application process

*Note:

Delinquency rate is defined as a missing payment without any prior arrangements.

Main Finding #9

There is mixed and limited evidence about the effectiveness of web portals in providing occupation-specific information on foreign credential recognition processes to prospective newcomers.

There is a need for greater clarity of information provided on the ESDC web portal, according to experts.

The proliferation of separate web portals as well as numerous sources of information could overwhelm newcomers even prior to their arrival in Canada.

Early results on the usage patterns of the recently launched Foreign Credential Recognition web portal indicate that:

  • the number of sessions on the program’s web portal has increased by 31% between may 2019 to October 2019 (from 1,914 to 2,499 sessions respectively) in addition, the total number of users* witnessed a smaller increase of 20% over the same period (from 1,825 to 2,181)
  • most (9 out of 10) users were first-time users

Foreign Credential Recognition Web portal

Launched in May 2019, the Foreign Credential Recognition web portal located within ESDC’s Job Bank website, provides prospective job seekers and newcomers with information specific to their occupation/field prior to their arrival in Canada, including:

  • whether their job is regulated in Canada and the regulatory body
  • time and financial cost for credential recognition
  • types of available jobs, and
  • wage and/or salary information
Figure 2: Usage patterns on the Foreign Credential Recognition web portal, from May 2019 to October 2019
A double-line graph displays the number of web sessions and the number of unique users of the Foreign Credential Recognition web portal from May to October of 2019.
  • Source: Foreign Credential Recognition web portal, Job Bank
Figure 2: Text version
Month Sessions Users
May 2019 1914 1825
June 2019 1380 1291
July 2019 1870 1781
August 2019 2048 1825
September 2019 1870 1870
October 2019 2449 2181

*Note:

Users are defined as the number of unique visitors on who visit a specific webpage. Sessions are defined as the total number of visits on the site, and includes both new and repeat visits. The total number of users was 10,729.

Figure 3: Number of users of the Foreign Credential Recognition web portal by country, from May 2019 to October 2019 (n=10,729)
A horizontal bar graph shows the countries with the largest number of users of the Foreign Credential Recognition web portal from May to October of 2019.
  • Source: Foreign Credential Recognition web portal, Job Bank
Figure 3: Text version
Country Users
United Kingdom 223
Brazil 267
Mexico 312
United States 312
Phillipines 356
Nigeria 401
France 445
India 1,068
Other countries 3,605
Canada 3,740
  • The web portal is designed to provide information to prospective newcomers before they arrive in Canada
  • However, early results indicate that users in Canada (35%), India (10%), and France (4%) primarily access it

The vast majority (75%) of users land on this site via referrals on other websites. These websites included the Government of Canada website (Canada.ca), the Immigration and Settlement New Brunswick, the Vancouver Public Library main page, and Job Bank. Only 13% accessed the Web portal through job search engines (organic search) such as the Work BC Job Bank for Newcomers.

A relatively small number (8%) accessed the web content on the Web portal through direct visits or social media.

Figure 4: Channels used to reach the Foreign Credential Recognition web portal, from May 2019 to October 2019 (n=10,729)
A pie chart shows the percentage of clients who reached the Foreign Credential Recognition web portal through various channels from May to October of 2019.
  • Source: Foreign Credential Recognition web portal, Job Bank.
Figure 4: Text version
Referral 8058
Organic search 1,425
Direct 890
Social Media 356

Conclusion

The program’s current approach to support the improvement of foreign credential recognition processes in Canada is functioning and appropriate.

  • The program is effective in applying its current approach of refocusing on the direct employment support for newcomers. At the same time, there is a need to improve the program’s leadership and coordination role in order to improve the process of standardization and harmonization of foreign credential processes
  • The program has helped mitigate some of the barriers faced through funded projects and direct supports. However, internationally trained individuals still face barriers, particularly around long and complex processes, lack of Canadian educational credential, financial barriers, and the lack of recognition foreign qualifications and experience by employers
  • Some specific groups such as newcomers from developing countries, women and racialized groups or visible minorities face additional barriers to their foreign credential recognition and entry in the labour market. Therefore, it is important for the program to continue supporting these groups of internationally trained individuals to assist their integration into the Canadian labour market
  • The preliminary results indicate that the Canadian work experience and the foreign credential recognition loans pilot projects, benefited internationally trained individuals, including increasing their financial and social wellbeing, introducing employers to the value of hiring foreign trained professionals and allowing internationally trained individuals to find employment related to their expertise
  • The program could enhance its leadership role in promoting the principle of fairness, consistency, transparency and timeliness by collaborating with offices of the fairness commissioners in selected provinces
  • The program should take advantage of the uniqueness of the available data to measure the long-term employment outcomes for internationally trained newcomers

Observation

  • The lack of data on labour market outcomes of internationally trained individuals is an impediment to measure the impact of the program on their employment outcomes

Recommendations

  • Continue to play a targeted leadership and coordination role to advance the recognition of foreign credentials across Canada, by supporting and influencing multilateral collaboration among provinces and territories, regulatory bodies, national associations, and other stakeholders
  • Explore how to build the Canadian work experience pilot and foreign credential recognition loans projects to better support internationally trained individuals
  • Build on efforts to mitigate barriers that internationally trained individuals face as they attempt to work in positions related to their field of study

Management response and action plan

Recommendation #1

Continue to play a targeted leadership and coordination role to advance the recognition of foreign credentials across Canada, by supporting and influencing multilateral collaboration among provinces and territories, regulatory bodies, national associations, and other stakeholders.

Management response and action plan

Management agrees with the recommendation.

Actions planned

1.1 Support the development of FLMM’s Strategic Plan for 2020 to 2023 by exploring collaborative strategies to expedite labour market integration of skilled newcomers.

Anticipated completion date

This action is ongoing. The Strategic Plan is expected to be approved in June 2020.

Recommendation #2

Explore how to build on the Canadian Work Experience Pilot and Foreign Credential Recognition Loans Projects to better support internationally trained individuals.

Management response and action plan

Management agrees with the recommendation.

Actions planned

2.1 Build on results from the Canadian Work Experience (CWE) Pilot and advance innovative projects from the 2019 to 2020 FCRP call for concepts related to providing valuable work experience to skilled newcomers.

2.2 Continue to explore best options in the approach and the delivery of future loans projects (such as, call for proposals, etc). FCR Loans projects are a permanent feature of the program since 2017. Current loans projects were approved in 2017 to 2018.

Anticipated completion date

This action is ongoing. CWE final report will be provided to ESDC in spring 2020. New innovative projects are expected to be funded in the second half of 2020.

This action is ongoing. Current FCR loans are available until 2022 to 2023. New loans projects will be in place in 2022 to 2023.

Recommendation #3

Build on efforts to mitigate barriers that internationally trained individuals face as they attempt to work in positions related to their field of study.

Management response and action plan

Management agrees with the recommendation.

Actions planned

3.1 Provide funding to regulatory bodies and other stakeholders for projects aimed at mitigating barriers faced by skilled newcomers (such as, simplify and harmonize FCR processes, etc).

Anticipated completion date

Continue to support ongoing projects and new innovative projects that stem from the 2019 to 2020 call for concepts, aimed to reduce systemic barriers. Funding to new approved projects will start in 2020 to 2021.

Annexes

Annex A: Evaluation questions

  1. How and to what extent has the suite of initiatives under the program contributed to the reduction of barriers faced by internationally trained individuals trying to enter the labour market at a level commensurate with their skills?
  2. Has the introduction of direct employment supports for skilled newcomers been effectively designed and implemented and what are the intended/unintended impacts of the strategy so far?
  3. How has the program’s federal leadership and coordination role contributed to making foreign credential recognition systems in Canada more timely, consistent, fair and transparent?
  4. How have program interventions contributed to the development of timely, consistent, fair and transparent foreign credential recognition systems in specific provinces/territories and in specific occupations?

Annex B: Lines of evidence and limitations

Occupational and provincial case studies

The case studies were conducted to gather in-depth information on two targeted priority occupations that have received funding under the program - engineering and nursing in Nova Scotia and Ontario. The case studies informed several evaluation questions for this evaluation, but they were particularly aimed to address question around how program interventions have contributed to the development of timely, consistent, fair and transparent foreign credential recognition systems in specific provinces/territories and in specific occupations.

Limitations: The case study offers an in-depth exploration of the nursing and engineering occupations and deeper analysis within the provincial contexts, but the findings cannot be extrapolated to tell the full story of all funded occupations in all provinces. Note that making generalizations is not the purpose of these case studies, however. The purpose of the case studies is to reveal insights into how change may be occurring and why by way of spotlighting relationships between process and outcomes.

Key informant interviews (n=40)

Key informant interviews were conducted with representatives of different government and non-government organizations. The qualitative data from these interviews provided insight about program design and implementation, outcomes and effectiveness, as well as ESDC’s/the program’s leadership and coordination role in credential recognition.

Limitations: It should be noted that the responses from interviewees represent their own perspectives and may not be representative of all stakeholders. In addition, not all interviewees were able to answer all interview questions. For example, some interviewees had limited knowledge of the program, so they spoke more generally about foreign credential recognition issues. Furthermore, some perspectives were not directly captured through the key informant interviews (such as, newcomers, unfunded applicants).

Literature review

The review covers literature published from 2014 to 2019. It includes scholarly journal articles, books, grey literature, and government reports. These sources were used to provide insight into the process, effects and costs of recognition/ non-recognition of foreign credentials, the phenomenon of employment mismatches, and the experiences of economic integration among immigrants in order to address the evaluation questions.

Document and project file review

This review was conducted in order to develop an understanding of the Foreign Credential Recognition Program and its various components. In addition, the review helped provide insight into the barriers to foreign credential recognition, the impact of direct employment supports, and the impacts of the program’s federal leadership role. The review covered 22 documents, including results of consultations, briefing materials, internal research, presentations, and other program documents. Furthermore, the review also covered an analysis of funded projects under the program from 2014 to 2019.

Web analytics and pop up survey

The web analytics study collected data on the internet channel including usage patterns, ease of access of information pertaining to foreign credential recognition, and visitor characteristics. The pop-up survey examined the demographic profile of visitors to foreign credential recognition web portal, the level of accessibility to type of information they are seeking, and their motivations for using the site.

Limitations: Due to availability of the web content and information on Government of Canada webpages and the web portal on ESDC’s Job bank website solely through the means of 2 different tools, distinct software had to be utilized for the analysis. The differences in the tools to gather the analytics and the data collection periods for both the components of the web content limit comparisons over time.

Expert panels

Two Expert Panels were held, hosted by ESDC as part of the Foreign Credential Recognition Program Evaluation. Several subject matter experts on foreign credential recognition were brought together from academia, the non-governmental sector and the federal government. The focus of the panels and their discussions was the effectiveness of the program’s direct employment supports to individuals and of its role in leading a collaborative approach to foreign credential recognition improvements at the systems level.

Limitations: The discussion among experts was focused mostly on regulated occupations, and for that reason, some topics may not apply to non-regulated occupations in Canada. In addition, the panel discussion was largely based on the experiences of professionals with very little focus given to the skilled trades.

Annex C: Program description

Table 1: FCRP main areas of activities

For accessibility reasons, the information is presented in text format. Consult the PDF version for the table.

Simplification and harmonization of credential recognition processes

Program objective

To develop systemic capacity, resources, and tools to improve FCR processes and labour mobility by coordinating efforts and information sharing at the national level.

Delivery

Building strong partnerships between provinces and regulatory organizations to implement a common approach to the foreign credential recognition processes.

Funding (2014 to 2019)

$43,855,098*

Funded activities

The harmonization of standards, development of a national platform such as websites for assessment and application, and testing of new approaches for licensing.

Loans and support services to help navigate the processes

Program objective

To help manage costs associated with foreign credential recognition, such as language and credential assessment, and exam fees in order to facilitate and accelerate their credentials and /or competency assessment and recognition.

Delivery

Providing loans and support services to navigate the processes of foreign credential recognition.

Funding (2014 to 2019)

$5,051,454

Funded activities

Language and credential assessment, loans, exam fees, career guidance and interventions.

Canadian work experience

Program objective

To help skilled newcomers gain a first Canadian work experience in their professions.

Delivery

A range of common components — training, work placements, employer engagement, wage subsidies, one-on-one support and mentoring.

Funding (2014 to 2019)

$2,606,625

Funded Activities

Professional sessions, skills training workshops, mentorship services and occupation-specific language training as well as cultural diversity training.

*Note:

This category includes Employer Engagement/Alternative Career and Other project. The program provides federal leadership and promotes national coordination amongst key stakeholders to align goals for foreign credential recognition processes and improvements in accordance with the principles of the 2009 Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications.

The Federal government is playing a leadership role, largely through the Forum of Labour Market Ministers (FLMM) and the Mobility and Qualifications Recognition Working Group. ESDC provides funding to provinces and territories, and regulatory bodies to simplify and harmonize foreign credential recognition processes.

In addition, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s

Settlement Program complements the Foreign Credential Recognition process by providing employment related supports and pre-arrival supports.

Figure 5: Program description
A flow chart visualizes the government entities constituting the Foreign Credential Recognition program. Text description follows.
Figure 5: Text version

The image is a flow chart illustrating the structure of the Foreign Credential Recognition Program. The chart presents 2 columns of boxes connected by arrows and lines to illustrate relationship. Both columns of boxes are bracketed within the title, ‘Foreign Credential Recognition.’

The first column of boxes shows the levels of government involved in the Forum of Labour Market Ministers (FLMM). In the middle of the column is a box representing the FLMM and noting that the Forum is where Mobility and Qualification Recognition occurs. Above and below the FLMM box, there are two additional boxes connected to the FLMM box by double arrows representing the Federal and Provincial governments, respectively.

The second column of boxes shows the individual branches within the Federal and Provincial governments specifically involved in the FLMM. The boxes are connected to their respective government with a line containing a ‘+’ sign.

Connected to the Federal Government box, the second column contains 2 boxes: The first represents Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada, and the second box represents ESDC (Grants and Contributions), which includes direct support measures from ESDC.

Connected to the Provincial Government box, the second column contains 2 boxes: The first represents Fairness Commissioners (Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec, and Nova Scotia), and the second box represents Regulators (Implementation of obligations on behalf of Governments).

Annex D: Case study

Nurses in Nova Scotia and Ontario

One of the most important FCRP investment has been supporting the introduction of the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS)*. Since the last foreign credential recognition program evaluation, the National Nursing Assessment Service has been fully implemented.

  • Internationally educated nurses however still struggle to get comprehensive and clear information on what the foreign credential recognition process entails for nursing. Gathering the documentation to meet national requirements can represent a significant challenge, and not all candidates know or are able to begin the process pre-arrival and sufficiently in advance. Many internationally educated nurses interviewed perceive the assessment process as costly, redundant, ineffective and lacking transparency
  • The cost of the foreign credential recognition process for nurses remains an important barrier, which underlines the importance of loan programs and the need for other support mechanisms. The language requirement issue also represents a significant obstacle for some candidates, along with the access to bridging programs
  • Many internationally educated nurses reported hitting multiple roadblocks, such as difficulties securing documents, and correcting administrative errors and miscommunications

The introduction of the National Nursing Assessment Service has not improved the timeliness of the foreign credential recognition process. The case study indicates that employment outcomes are still less favourable for internationally educated nurses than for Canadian-trained nurses.

Nova Scotia

In 2018, 8.4% of newly licensed registered nurses and 8.5% of newly licensed practitioner nurses in Nova Scotia were internationally educated nurses. Several internationally trained nurses interviewed had chosen Nova Scotia because they felt the province offered greater job opportunities than other provinces. However, some internationally trained nurses selected through the provincial nominee program were disappointed to discover a lack of alignment between the immigration and foreign credential recognition processes. Many internationally educated registered nurses face very long waiting lists to join the bridging program at the Registered Nurses Nursing Professional Development Center.

Ontario

In 2018, 15,457 internationally educated nurses worked in Ontario (43% of all internationally educated nurses in Canada). A little over 11% of all nurses are internationally educated nurses in Ontario. Some select Ontario because candidates do not have to meet a language requirement until they reach the second stage of their application. The bridging training landscape in the province is complex and it can be difficult for internationally educated nurses to determine how to fill their competency gaps. In Ontario, the Office of the Fairness Commissioner oversees the regulated practices. However, it does not have the power to monitor third-party assessment agencies like the National Nursing Assessment Service.

*Steps to requalification:

  1. registration with NNAS
  2. NNAS receives all required documents
  3. NNAS determines validity/authenticity of documents
  4. NNAS assesses files for comparability to Canadian standards for entry to practice, defines gaps
  5. an advisory report through NNAS web portal and formal application to regulatory body/pays fees
  6. assessment/remediation of any gaps to meet jurisdictional eligibility requirement
  7. eligibility to write an exam issued by regulatory body
  8. temporary registration granted when internationally educated nurse meets requirements for safe practice
  9. national/provincial examination
  10. full registration awarded

Engineers in Nova Scotia and Ontario

In 2018, there were 7,825 newly licenced engineers in Canada, of which 2,196 (28%) were internationally educated engineers.

  • Engineering requirements continue to not be harmonized nationally. It is widely acknowledged that learning about the different engineering licensure processes in each province is confusing to internationally educated engineers
  • Barriers to having one’s engineering credentials recognized include the time and cost involved in the licensure process. Of note is the difficulty in obtaining the one-year Canadian work experience, especially as this work must be overseen by a professional engineer (s) (of which there is a shortage) in order to fulfill this requirement
  • More information is now available online and pre-arrival. However, some engineers still arrive in Canada without wholly understanding the regulated professions

The introduction of the Communications Skills course for Engineers was considered a breakthrough in reducing barriers.

Nova Scotia

There were 4,575 practicing engineers in Nova Scotia in 2017. In the same year, the total number of newly licensed engineers* in the province was 138. Of this group of newly licensed engineers, 27 (19.6%) were internationally trained engineers.

Nova Scotia is expected to need approximately 91 engineers between 2020 and 2025, mostly due to needing to replace engineers who will be retiring.

Nova Scotia works closely in collaboration with the Review Office and the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia to ensure that their process is well communicated to internationally educated engineers. Engineers Nova Scotia is not using the whole Online Competency-Based Assessment tool developed by Engineers Canada and funded by the program, but is said to be using parts of it.

Ontario

It is estimated that Ontario will need 4,192 engineers between 2020 and 2025 due to retirements as well as expansion. In 2018, there were 83,718 licensed engineers in Ontario, 23,444 or 28% of which were internationally trained engineers. In the same year, the number of newly licensed engineers in Ontario was 2,351 of which 808 or 34% were internationally trained engineers.

Professional Engineers Ontario is not using the Competency Based Tool developed by Engineers Canada. Interviewees mentioned difficulties in obtaining Canadian Work Experience, especially given the current requirements, such as being supervised by a professional engineer. In Ontario, the Fairness Commissioner oversees the regulated practices of Professional Engineers Ontario; it does not, however, have the ability to compel certain data from Professional Engineers Ontario such as success rates among internationally educated engineers.

Annex E: Canadian Work Experience (CWE) pilot projects

Pilot projects delivered by 6 organizations to facilitate newcomers’ first Canadian work experience in their field.

  • 1,300 participants
  • Testing new approaches to assist highly skilled newcomers obtain their first Canadian professional work experience
  • These interventions were found to give participating newcomers their first Canadian work experience and soft skills regarding workplace norms

Key features

Training

  • Built on employment readiness foundation
  • Customized to suit highly skilled newcomers searching for a first Canadian work experience in their fields
  • Content, duration and delivery format varied across the sites

Work placement

  • Paid work placements for participants with employers in the pilot models’ targeted sectors
  • First Canadian work experience
  • Length of the placement varied from 3 to 6 months

Employer engagement

  • Recruitments of employer to participate in the pilot through networking, word of mouth, cold calls, newsletter, invitation to speaker sessions
  • Providing human resources support (for smaller organizations)

Wage subsidies

  • To employers that hired their participants for a work placement
  • The structure of the subsidies varied; lump-sum payments and subsidized hourly wage provided approximately half of the participants

Type of support

  • Personalized relationships with participants after training completion
  • Support them in their job search
  • Follow-up to ensure workplace challenges are addressed proactively

Mentoring

  • To provide advice and shared experience in the participant’s field
  • To provide support in adjusting and integrating into the workplace

Other components

  • Online certification skills to find alternate career path
  • Job club for participants to exchange on experience
  • Source: Social Research Demonstration Corporation 2019.

Note:

The data were collected up to and including May 31, 2019 and only data from program participants were included.

Annex F: Multiple barriers faced by internationally trained individuals and impact of interventions

Table 2: Barriers faced by internationally trained individuals

For accessibility reasons, the information is presented in text format. Consult the PDF version for the table.

Barrier 1

Long and complex processes to receive accreditation and recognition of their professional skills.

Issues

The longer the process, the longer the elapsed time since the internationally trained individual has worked in their field (losing technical skills, knowledge, “safe practice” criteria).

Complexity exacerbates the length of time it takes and serves as a barrier to internationally trained individual‘s ability to know what to do to apply and move through the process.

Being able to start the process before arriving in Canada can help to shorten the time to licensure. As well, usually easier and less expensive to start the process in home country due to ready access to documentation.

Impact

Moderate program impact in some occupations.

The Foreign Credential Recognition Loans Projects was found to accelerate the foreign credential recognition process in some occupations, typically those in the health sector.

The Program has supported projects that aim to provide more pre-arrival supports and being able to start the process earlier. For instance, nurses can begin their National Nursing Assessment Service application while abroad – however not all will know or be able to start the process early.


Barrier 2

Lack of a Canadian-obtained educational credential

Issues

An individual’s country of degree completion was associated with the likelihood of obtaining commensurate employment. (World Education Services, 2019).

The literature review confirmed that the perceived quality of education and relevance to Canadian practice varies by institutions within and between countries.

Impact

Low program impact.

The Program has funded projects to develop competency-based assessments as opposed to a credential-based assessment.

The engineering occupation, for example, has adopted this approach, but not in all jurisdictions.


Barrier 3

Lack of professional connections

Issues

Both the document review and the interviews identified that lack of professional connections held by internationally trained individuals to be a barrier. 49% of immigrants identified the lack of professional connections as barrier to employment (World Education Services, 2019).

Impact

Moderate program impact.

The Canada Work Experience pilot has helped participants establish networks through job placements, mentoring and networking events held service providers.


Barrier 4

Financial barriers

Issues

The process can be costly due to factors such as application fees, obtaining documentation from their home country having materials translated.

The total costs for licensure is often not clear or does not include possible full costs (for example bridging, language, child care). Costs associated with credential assessment vary widely by occupation.

Impact

High program impact.

The Foreign Credential Recognition Loans Projects delivered a loan program to help newcomers gain recognition for foreign credentials. Between 2012 and 2014, 1,500 loans were approved and $9M were disbursed.

Loan amounts ($6K on average) were sufficient for individuals with lower credentialing costs. The Pilot has since moved to full program status.


Barrier 5

Language skills and inconsistent language expectations for foreign credential recognition.

Issues

Meeting language requirements for re-credentialing can be an obstacle for many internationally trained individuals.

Many licensing tests are in English or French, making it a challenge for internationally trained individuals for whom this is not their first language.

Language testing requirements can be an unnecessary barrier for some internationally trained individuals who completed their training in English or French*.

There is no single minimum level requirement. Language requirements are rarely occupation-specific and do not always predict an internationally trained individual’s capacity to function professionally in English/French.

Impact

Low to moderate program impact (in some occupations). The Program does not fund anything related to language training and translation of information.

Anecdotal evidence that some funded projects supported language – related foreign credential recognition activities (for example national language proficiency standards language tests).


Barrier 6

Employers’ attitudes result in not accepting qualifications and experience

Issues

Employers generally have a preference for Canadian work experience and qualifications and English/French language proficiency. These preferences can be due to employer’s risk aversion, overt or unconscious biases or due to the employer’s lack of knowledge around foreign credentials.

Many employers have a lack of knowledge/appreciation of what newcomers can bring to their organization.

Impact

Moderate program impact in targeted sites.

The Canadian Work Experience has effectively connected employers to newcomers and has helped to address misperceptions about internationally trained individuals. However, persistent challenges still exist with regards to engaging employers and influencing employer attitudes.


Barrier 7

Lack of coordination between Canada’s immigration system and Foreign Credential Recognition processes.

Issues

Internationally trained individuals do not know or understand that they will have to prove the validity of their credentials after arrival in Canada if they wish to work in certain occupations, even though these credentials were accepted during the immigration process.

Impact

Low program impact.

There has been no discernable noted progress towards integrating or coordinating the assessment of credentials for immigration with the assessment of credentials for licensure or employment.

The lack of connection between immigration and foreign credential recognition processes causes an unnecessary duplication of effort.


Barrier 8

Access to sufficient, relevant and quality information and pre-arrival supports*

Issues

Information gaps around requirement to have credential assessed, the requirements and processes for licensure in certain occupations, the associated costs with obtaining licensure and employment prospects. Skilled immigrants do not carry-out detailed pre-arrival research on professional regulations in their field and often rely on personal contacts for professional and licensure information.

Impact

Low program impact.

The Foreign Credential Recognition Program has funded some projects that aim to provide pre-arrival supports, such as online tools and information.

It is not clear which organization is responsible for coordinating all the information related to foreign credential recognition across programs and jurisdictions.

Note:

This includes pre-arrival supports funded by the program.

Annex G: Foreign Credential Recognition Program logic model

Figure 6: Foreign Credential Recognition Program Logic Model
A flow chart illustrating the FCRP logical framework for going from program inputs, to activities, to outputs, and finally to immediate, intermediate, and ultimate outcomes. Text description follows.
Figure 6: Text version

The image is a flowchart made up of boxes stacked in rows with connecting arrows to illustrate a causal chain moving from program inputs to the ultimate outcomes.

The bottom row of boxes shows the program Inputs. The 3 boxes represent FTEs, financial resources, and Other resources (P/T counterparts). The ‘Other resources’ box is dotted, indicating that it is not input by the FCRP itself. Together, these 3 inputs connect by arrows to Activities 1.1 and 1.2.

The Activities row, just above Inputs, contains 2 boxes containing program activities. The first box, 1.1, states that a program activity is to ‘Provide Financial Support to Stakeholders.’ The second, 1.2, states the activity, ‘Provide Federal Leadership.’ Together, these boxes connect by causal arrows to Outputs 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4 and 2.5.

The Outputs row, just above Activities, contains 5 boxes containing program outputs. The first box, 2.1, presents the program output, ‘FCR loans and support services’ and connects by causal arrow to Immediate Outcome 3.1. The second box, 2.2, presents ‘Employment assistance measures for ITIs’ and connects by causal arrow to Immediate Outcomes 3.2, 3.3, and 3.4. The third box, 2.3, presents ‘FCR tools, processes and other resources’ and connects by causal arrow to Immediate Outcome 3.3. The fourth box, 2.4, presents ‘Information products,’ and connects by causal arrow to Immediate Outcomes 3.4 and 3.5 together with Output 2.5. The fifth box, 2.5, presents ‘National coordination and outreach,’ and connects by causal arrow to Immediate Outcomes 3.4 and 3.5 together with Output 2.4.

The Immediate Outcomes row, just above Outputs, contains 5 boxes containing the predicted immediate outcomes of the program. The first box, 3.1, lists the outcome, ‘ITIs have their credentials assessed/recognized and access to FCR services,’ and connects by causal arrow to Intermediate Outcome 4.1. The second box, 3.2, lists, ‘ITIs access employment assistance measures,’ and connects by causal arrow to Intermediate Outcome 4.1. The third box, 3.3, lists, ‘ITIs access FCR tools, processes and other resources,’ and connects by causal arrow to Intermediate Outcome 4.2. The fourth box, 3.4, lists, ‘Transfer of knowledge,’ and connects by causal arrow to Intermediate Outcomes 4.2 and 4.3 together with Immediate Outcome 3.5. The fifth box, 3.5, lists, ‘Support the advancement of shared national commitments,’ and connects by causal arrow to Intermediate Outcomes 4.2 and 4.3 together with Immediate Outcome 3.4.

The Intermediate Outcomes row, just above Immediate Outcomes, contains 3 boxes containing the predicted intermediate outcomes resulting from the immediate outcomes of the program. The Intermediate Outcomes row is the first row located above the Line of Accountability, above which the FCR Program cannot claim full accountability for outcomes. The first box, 4.1, lists the intermediate outcome, ‘Participating ITIs have better employment outcomes,’ and connects by causal arrow to Ultimate Outcome 5.1. The second box, 4.2, lists, ‘Fair, transparent, consistent and timely FCR system,’ and connects by causal arrow to Ultimate Outcome 5.1. The third box, 4.3, lists, ‘Measures that restrict or impair labour mobility are reduced,’ and connects by causal arrow to Ultimate Outcome 5.2.

The top row, just above Intermediate Outcomes, shows the predicted Ultimate Outcomes of the program and contains 2 boxes. The first box, 5.1, lists the Ultimate Outcome, ‘Enhance Labour Market Outcomes of Internationally Trained Individuals (ITIs).’ The second box, 5.2, lists, ‘Canada’s labour force is mobile.’

Above the flow chart, the ESDC strategic outcome to which the program contributes is listed. It reads, ‘A skilled, adaptable and inclusive labour force and an efficient labour market.’

Note:

The above logic model is not the most recent version provided in the ADM approved Performance Information Profile. However, the above version of the logic was provided as this corresponds to the Evaluation period from April 2014 to March 2019.

Annex H: Foreign Credential Recognition Program conceptual framework

Figure 7: Foreign Credential Recognition Program conceptual framework
A flow chart illustrates the direct and broader impacts that the FCR Program is expected to have, leading to net benefits to society. Text description follows.
Figure 7: Text version

The image is a flowchart consisting of 4 columns of boxes connected by arrows to indicate logical sequence and causality.

Moving from top to bottom in the first column shows the direct sequencing of impacts from the program. The first box and starting point for the flowchart simply reads, ‘Participation in FCRP initiatives,’ and connects by causal arrow to the second box below it. The second box reads, ‘Credential Recognition,’ and connects by causal arrow to the third box below it. The third box represents the impacts of credential recognition, listing 3 effects:

  • easier labour market entry and increased employability
  • increased labour market participation, greater lifetime earnings
  • improved self esteem, stronger sense of belonging, and less stress

This third box then connects by causal arrow to all 3 boxes in the second column.

The second column contains three boxes not connected to one another by causal arrow. Instead, all 3 boxes are connected to the only box in the third column by causal arrows.

The first box in the second column, titled ‘Labour Market Impacts,’ lists the program’s effect on the labour market. The box shows that there is expected to be increased:

  • utilization of immigrants’ skills and education
  • global competitiveness
  • ability to attract highly skilled immigrants to Canada

The second box in the second column, titled ‘Socio-Economic Impacts,’ lists the program’s effect on Canada’s socio-economic status. The box shows that there is expected to be increased:

  • standard of living for immigrants

There is also expected to be reduced:

  • inequality between immigrants and Canadian-born
  • poverty, unemployment, and crime
  • bias/discrimination on behalf of employers

The third box in the second column, titled ‘Socio-Cultural Impacts,’ lists the program’s effect on the socio-cultural sphere. The box shows that there is expected to be increased:

  • multiculturalism
  • prosperity for immigrant communities
  • visibility of immigrant contributions

The third column contains a single column that shows how the 3 types of impacts in the second column lead to broader impacts in society. The box, titled ‘Broader Impacts,’ shows that the program is expected to result in increased:

  • tax revenue
  • integration and retention of immigrants
  • public support for government directives involving increasing number of immigrants

The program is also expected to result in reduced:

  • spending on EI, social assistance, and other labour market programming

Finally, the box connects by causal arrow to the only box in the fourth column. The fourth column contains only one box simply containing the words, ‘Net Benefits’ to indicate that the program’s impacts are expected to have a net beneficial effect on Canadian society.

Annex I: Bibliography

List of technical reports

Cathexis Consulting (2019), “Evaluation of the Foreign Credential Recognition Program Key Informant Interview Technical Report”, prepared for ESDC. Available upon request.

ESDC (2019a), “Document and File Review Evaluation of the Foreign Credential Recognition Program - Technical Study in support of the Evaluation of the Foreign Credential Recognition Program”. Available upon request.

ESDC (2019b), “Foreign Credential Recognition Program Evaluation Expert Panels Technical Report”. Available upon request.

ESDC (2019c), “Web Analytics Study in Support of the Evaluation of the Foreign Credential Recognition Program”. Available upon request.

Goss Gilroy Inc. (2020), “Case Studies for the Evaluation of the Foreign Credential Recognition Program (FCRP)”, prepared for ESDC. Available upon request.

Kelly, Philip (2019), “Foreign Credential Recognition Evaluation 2019 Literature Review”, prepared for ESDC. Available upon request.

Other sources

Grant, M (2016). Brain Gain 2015: The State of Canada’s Learning Recognition System. Ottawa: The Conference Board of Canada. Available at: https://www.conferenceboard.ca/e-library/abstract.aspx?did=7607

Hou, Feng; Picot, Garnett (2019). Skill Utilization and Earnings of STEM-educated Immigrants in Canada: Differences by Degree Level and Field of Study. Statistics Canada. Catalogue no. 11F0019M, no. 435

Hou, Feng; Schimmele, Christoph (2019). Recent Trends in Over-education by Immigration Status. Statistics Canada. Catalogue no. 11F0019M, no. 436

Fairness Commissioner, Ontario (2018). Office of the Fairness Commissioner Annual Report, 2017-18. Available at: http://www.fairnesscommissioner.ca/files_docs/content/pdf/en/OFC_Annual_Report_2017-2018.pdf

Office of the Manitoba Fairness Commissioner. (2017). The Fair Registration Practices in Regulated Professions Act: A Report on its Implementation and Effectiveness, January 2015 - December 2017. Retrieved from www.manitobafairnesscommissioner.ca/wp-content/uploads/OMFC_Report_Minister_2017-web.pdf

Morissette, R. (2017). Barriers to Labour Mobility in Canada: Survey-based Evidence. Statistics Canada, Economic Insights, no. 076, November 2017. Catalogue no. 11-626-X. Available at https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/11-626-x/11-626-x2017076-eng.htm

Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (2014). “FCR Loans Pilot Project: Year 2, Implementation and Outcome Report”

Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (2019). “Evaluation of the Canadian Work Experience Pilot”

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