Professions and Trades in Ontario

You may need to have a licence, certificate or apprenticeship before you can work in your profession or trade in Ontario.  You can learn more about the types of regulatory and licensing bodies and where you can find services in your area.

Regulatory and Licensing Bodies

Regulatory bodies control access to certain professions and trades. You will not be allowed to practice in a regulated profession or a trade with mandatory certification unless you have the required licence, certificate or apprenticeship. Find more information about which professions are regulated and which trades require certification in this Settlement.Org article about professions and trades in Ontario.

The licensing process can be long and slow. You may have to pay for credential assessment, certification and examinations. Start the process as soon as you can, even before you arrive in Ontario, if possible. It may be easier and less expensive for you to gather the required documents before you come to Canada.

You should also check the website of the regulatory and licensing body for your profession to find out more about the licensing process.

Some community and government agencies can help internationally-trained individuals navigate the licensing process. For example, contact HealthForceOntario if your profession is in healthcare and Global Experience Ontario for all other regulated professions.

Unregulated professions and trades have no legal requirements regarding who is allowed to practice. Even if your profession or trade is unregulated, you may still wish to get additional certifications or join a professional association or labour union for your occupation.

For example, some employers and unions may ask you to have a voluntary Certificate of Qualification. Even though you are not required to have this type of certificate, it can boost your employment prospects if you do.

Get Your Credentials Assessed

You may need to find out if the qualifications you already have are accepted in Ontario. If you have a degree or diploma from a university or college, take the original document to an international credentials assessment service. These services determine what the Ontario or Canadian equivalency is for your education and training.

Many regulatory bodies do their own credentials assessment and may not accept a general assessment from an outside organization. Before you spend money and time in credentials assessment, make sure that it is necessary for your work, licensing, or further education and training.

If your documents are not in English or French you will likely need to have them translated before any service will accept and assess them. Ask the regulatory body which type of translation is required. You may be asked to use a translator who has been accredited by the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario (ATIO) If your training is in a technical or highly specialized field, you may need to find a translator with specialized knowledge. The cost of these services will vary.


In some trades, you must be certified or work as an apprentice before you can practice on your own.

Apprentices receive on-the-job training for a specific number of hours, practice their skills in the workplace, and take courses in theory at a college. You may also need to pass an English-language test before you can take courses.

If you have enough work experience to meet Ontario standards, you may be able to take an exam and receive a Certificate of Qualification that states you have passed the provincial qualification exam that assesses your knowledge of your skilled trade.

Apprenticeship Offices can help you get your qualifications and experience recognized or enter an apprenticeship program. While the Ministry oversees apprenticeship in Ontario, it will not find you a placement. It is your responsibility to find an employer willing to train you.

Red Seal Trades is a Canada-wide certification program that allows you to practice your trade anywhere in Canada.

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