Saskatchewan has the best Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) system in Canada, claims Immigration Minister Jeremy Harrison.
The province is paying up to $6,000 for any healthcare worker to get his or her educational credential upskilled or remediated and be able to work in their field, he said.
“This is by far the most aggressive credential recognition regime that exists anywhere in Canada,” said Harrison during a career fair. “It’s been copied by other jurisdictions – which is good – but this is something that is unique to Saskatchewan right now.”
Immigration to Saskatchewan is booming, with the number of new permanent residents in the province last year spiking 97.6 per cent to a record-breaking 21,635, reveals the latest data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
With its leading-edge educational credential system, Saskatchewan is helping foreign nationals who immigrate to the province get recognized for their international training and land jobs more quickly than in other parts of the country.
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“There are guaranteed time frames. You will get an answer if you make an application to a regulator, by law, within 20 days if you’re within Canada, 50 days from without,” said the provincial immigration minister.
“You will, if the answer is negative, have a very clear reason as to why and you will have a very clear remediation path: ‘Here’s the course you need to take to have that credential recognized.’”
ECAs are used to ensure a foreign national’s degree or diploma is valid and equal to a Canadian one and can be used as part of an application to immigrate to Canada under the Express Entry system’s Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program for permanent residency.
But ECAs can also be important for foreign nationals after they arrive in Canada, helping them demonstrate to employers they have the education to get jobs in their fields and prove to licensing bodies they are qualified to practice their professions.
“In most cases, you only need an assessment for your highest level of education,” states the IRCC on its website. “For example, if you have a master’s degree, you only need an assessment for that degree. You don’t need one for your bachelor’s degree.”
Canada’s immigration department requires that all ECAs be conducted by a designated organization or a professional body which then produces a report confirming the international education is equal to that in Canada. Processing times and costs vary by organization and professional body.
There are five designated organizations:
- Comparative Education Service – University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies
- International Credential Assessment Service of Canada
- World Education Services
- International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS)
- International Credential Evaluation Service – British Columbia Institute of Technology
Regulated Professions Have Their Own Designated Organizations For ECAs
Those who plan to work for big employers or in regulated occupations may need to have their ECAs done by specific, designated organizations.
Specialists and family physicians must get their ECA reports for their primary medical diplomas from the Medical Council of Canada if they plan to work as:
- specialists in clinical and laboratory medicine – National Occupational Classification 2021 (NOC) code 31100;
- specialists in surgery – NOC code 31101, or;
- general practitioners or family physicians – NOC code 31102.
The Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada, the professional body for pharmacists in Canada, must do the ECA of anyone planning to work as a pharmacist (NOC code 31120).
Saskatchewan’s surge in immigration comes as Ottawa is increasingly turning to immigration to resolve labour shortages in Canada.
In its 2023-2025 Immigration Levels Plan, Ottawa has set the target for 2023 at 465,000 new permanent residents. The country is to welcome 485,000 new permanent residents in 2024 and another 500,000 in 2025.
That’s a total of 1.45 million immigrants to Canada over the coming three years.
When foreign nationals apply for immigration to Canada under the Express Entry system, their profiles are ranked against each other according to a points-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).
The highest-ranked candidates will be considered for an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence. Those receiving an ITA must quickly submit a full application and pay processing fees, within a delay of 60-days.
Canada’s Network Of PNPs
Through a network of Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP), almost all of Canada’s ten provinces and three territories can also nominate skilled worker candidates for admission to Canada when they have the specific skills required by local economies. Successful candidates who receive a provincial or territorial nomination can then apply for Canadian permanent residence through federal immigration authorities.
The Global Talent Stream (GTS), a part of the TFWP, can under normal processing situations lead to the granting of Canadian work permits and processing of visa applications within two weeks.