Call for Service Proposals: Foreign Educational Credential Assessment by Professional Bodies for Immigration Purposes – Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Why is Citizenship and Immigration Canada issuing this Call for Service Proposals?

The Call for Service Proposals (CSP) is being issued in order to select and designate additional assessment organizations to help better manage the increasing demand for Education Credential Assessments (ECA) services for immigration purposes.

ECAs are performed by multi-purpose credential assessment organizations and professional bodies that have been designated by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. As a result of a previous CSP, which took place in August 2012, two professional bodies, the Medical Council of Canada and the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada, were designated to authenticate and assess the foreign educational credentials of a Canadian regulated profession. We would now like to expand this list, and are therefore launching a new CSP to invite submissions from other professional bodies with expertise in foreign credential assessment to conduct ECAs for immigration purposes.

An ECA is mandatory for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, as well as for several pilot immigration programs. While optional, an ECA may also be obtained for the Federal Skilled Trades Program and the Canadian Experience Class to increase an Express Entry applicant’s Comprehensive Ranking System score.

With an ECA, applicants are provided with a better sense of how their education fits into the Canadian labour market and allows them to make more informed choices about immigration and Canadian career paths. ECAs conducted by designated professional bodies are also recognized as a step in the licensure process for their profession.

Q2. Which organizations are eligible to apply?

This Call for Service Proposals is designed to solicit proposals from professional bodies with the experience and capacity to assess and authenticate foreign educational credentials from a broad range of countries and assess their equivalency to a Canadian educational credential required to practice in the regulated occupation for which the professional body is recognized.  The professional body and its assessment must be recognized by the provincial or territorial regulatory authorities governing the practice of the specific occupation in at least seven provinces or territories.

Q3. What is the deadline for the submission of proposals?

This CSP will remain open-ended to allow professional bodies to apply when they are ready and able to provide ECA services that meet CIC requirements.

Q4. How will organizations be chosen to be designated to provide Educational Credential Assessments?

Prior to undergoing a review by the Evaluation Committee, the proposals will be screened by an internal CIC review committee, using established eligibility criteria. This initial screening will ensure that only qualified applicant organizations which meet the definition of an educational assessment organization outlined in the CSP, and possess the essential experience and capacity required to authenticate and assess foreign educational credentials to a Canadian educational credential required to practice in a regulated occupation,  will undergo a more in-depth evaluation by the Evaluation Committee.

Eligible proposals will be evaluated by an Evaluation Committee. The findings of the Evaluation Committee will then be used to inform the Minister’s selection of assessment organizations to enter into a Service Agreement.

Successful applicant(s) will receive a notice of selection for entry into a Service Agreement.

Q5. What is a Service Agreement and how long will it be in effect?

Applicant(s) evaluated as meeting CIC’s Call for Service Proposals requirements for designation must be prepared to enter into a Service Agreement with Canada, as set forth in Appendix 4 of the CSP.

The purpose of the Service Agreement is to authorize the organization to provide services to persons in need of an ECA, in order to meet the requirements of an immigration program. The Service Agreement sets out the terms and conditions by which CIC and the organization agree to abide.

The Service Agreement between an organization and CIC will have a term of three years. The Service Agreement will grant CIC the irrevocable option to extend the term by two periods of up to two years each, under the same terms and conditions.

Following proposal evaluation and selection of the successful organization, a Service Agreement will be entered into by such organization and the Minister.

Q6. When and how will I hear if my organization will be selected for entry into a Service Agreement?

CIC will send a letter to the Applicant confirming receipt of the proposal application no later than 10 business days after the receipt of the proposal.

It is CIC’s goal to send a written letter to the Applicant indicating the results of the evaluation of its proposal application within 2 months of receipt of the proposal.

Q7. What happens after the organization is informed it has been recommended for entry into a Service Agreement?

Organizations that are evaluated as meeting CIC’s requirements for designation as a result of the CSP process will be asked to sign the Service Agreement, a sample of which can be found in CIC’s Call for Service Proposals.  

Q8. How does the Educational Credential Assessment work?

An Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) is currently mandatory for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, as well as for several pilot immigration programs. Applicants are required to either have a Canadian educational credential or submit an equivalency assessment of their foreign educational credentials issued by an assessment organization designated by CIC before they apply for immigration. While optional, an ECA may also be obtained for the Federal Skilled Trades Program and the Canadian Experience Class to increase an Express Entry applicant’s Comprehensive Ranking System score.

Foreign educational credentials are authenticated by designated organizations and assessed to determine their equivalency to a completed Canadian educational credential. In the case of ECAs conducted by a designated professional body, an ECA is also recognized as a step in the licensure process for their profession. However, an ECA does not mean that an applicant will automatically find employment in Canada commensurate with their skills or education, nordoes it guarantee that they will become licensed to practice in a regulated occupation. It simply supports an application for immigration by verifying the equivalency of an individual’s foreign educationalcredential to a completed Canadian credential. It helps manage newcomers’ expectations regarding their educational credential equivalency in Canada and allows them to make an informed choice about immigration and potential career paths in Canada. Further, it can assist Canadian employers to determine if a newcomer has the academic training required for the job.

Additional steps must be taken to be licensed to work in a regulated profession. Provincial Regulatory Authorities determine an applicant’s readiness for licensure by assessing and recognizing “qualifications” which may include an assessment of education, experience/competencies and language proficiency in addition to other requirements.

Q9. Will an applicant be considered for selection if it does not currently meet the parameter, set out in Selection Criterion 5, that information be managed, accessible only from within Canada, and that all databases containing information and physical records are located in Canada?

CIC prefers that applicants’ ensure that information is managed, accessible from within Canada and that all databases containing information and physical (paper) records are located in Canada. Should an organization’s infrastructure not meet this parameter, the applicant must provide a statement to this effect in the proposal. CIC will consider the organization’s protocols, relevant administrative measures and solutions on the protection of privacy and preservation of personal information and records in order to satisfy Canadian legislation on privacy, data management and protection of personal information.

Q10. According to the Call for Service Proposals, Educational Credential Assessment reports must show “that the foreign educational credential is equivalent to a Canadian educational credential that is required to practice the occupation in Canada.” How does this apply to regulated professions for which there is no specific credential that can be assessed in isolation of other qualifications to establish equivalency to a Canadian credential required to practice in Canada?

In cases where there is no single or specific educational credential that can be assessed in isolation of other qualifications, a professional body may identify multiple Canadian degree equivalencies that are either acceptable to practice the occupation in Canada or acceptable to continue on in the licensure process for the occupation in Canada.

In such cases, the professional body’s Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) reports would show that the foreign educational credential is equivalent to one of the Canadian educational credentials that are either acceptable to practice the occupation in Canada or acceptable to continue on in the licensure process for the occupation in Canada.

The professional body may also indicate in their ECA reports where along the licensing continuum the credential falls, although including this latter piece of information is not a requirement for CIC.

Q11. How can I get answers to other questions?

All enquiries or issues concerning this CSP should be submitted to credentials@cic.gc.ca.

To ensure consistency and quality of information provided to any prospective applicants, CIC will post queries and replies in a technical FAQ document without revealing the sources of the enquiries.

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