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International Credential Recognition Fund

Funded by the Province of BC, Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills
Administered by ASPECT - Association of Service Providers for Employability and Career Training


The intention of the International Credential Recognition Fund (ICRF) is to find ways to improve the international credential recognition process by disbursing grants to employment service providers (ESPs) delivering community-based social services in British Columbia.

A guiding principle of this fund is that employment service organizations are connected to internationally trained newcomers and their communities. They can facilitate removing barriers for newcomers to navigate connecting to their chosen profession more quickly than without support.

The Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills made possible a one-time contribution of $1,500,000 to establish this fund to provide grants to immigrant-serving organizations and their service partners for projects that support internationally trained professionals undergoing, or preparing for, their credential recognition process.

Funded Project Profile

Remote communities of BC are facing the influx of refugees and displaced individuals (in less than a year, Archway processed more than 200 refugees who arrived on charter flights). Among them are doctors, teachers, IT specialists, tradespeople, etc. who are eager to enter the Canadian labour market and work in their occupations. However, the majority of them face barriers when it comes to credential recognition, such as financial barriers, lack of documentation from the home country, and difficulty navigating the process.

Archway is introducing a new program to internationally trained newcomers residing in the Fraser Valley who are not employed in their profession to prepare for their credential recognition process by completing the Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) with World Education Services (WES) via a regular assessment route, as well as WES Gateway Program.

WES Gateway Program assesses the educational credentials of applicants who have limited proof of academic achievements due to ongoing armed conflict or environmental disaster. The program provides for an exemption from the requirement of having the education documents submitted to WES directly by educational institutions. As a result of the program, participants obtain a high-quality credential evaluation report that can be accepted and recognized by employers, higher education institutions, and regulatory bodies.

Archway will act as a designated partner organization in the Fraser Valley and will support newcomers in the WES application process by providing funding, offering translation services, review and preparation of documents, and submission of applications to WES through a partner portal.

The project will create a reliable, rigorous, and replicable model to assess international credentials even when verifiable education documents are not available. Therefore, it will effectively address the purpose and need of removing barriers for newcomers who have international credentials to navigate the credential assessment and recognition process and connect them to their chosen professions.

Grant Awards

Grant awards are made of $50,000, $75,000, and $100,000, and were selected based on a set of priorities and guidelines. The following organizations were awarded funds:

  • Archway Community Services
  • DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society
  • Douglas College
  • ICA of Greater Victoria
  • ISS of BC
  • Kelowna Community Resources
  • Kootenay Career Development Society
  • Kootenay Employment Services Society
  • Langley Community Services Society
  • M.O.S.A.I.C. - Multi-Lingual Orientation Service Association for Immigrant Communities
  • NEXUS BC Community Resource Centre
  • North Island Employment Foundations Society
  • OPTIONS Community Services Society
  • Outlines for Life Society
  • Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society
  • S.U.C.C.E.S.S.
  • YWCA Metro Vancouver

Funding Priorities & Assessment Criteria

In addition to the goals listed in the Overview section above, the following is a list of funding priorities and assessment criteria used in evaluating project proposals: 

  • Does the proposed project identify and/or fill a gap in existing funding while accelerating the credential recognition process for newcomers, linking them to work in their target field?

  • Does the proposed project complement, overlap, but not compete with existing programs?

  • Does the proposed project address a means to remove barriers to credential recognition in BC while preparing clients for their chosen field?

  • Does the proposed project impact systemic improvements with the help and expertise of community-based employment service providers?

  • Does the proposed project have a built-in measurement system to track the successful outcomes of the funded projects? How will you measure success?

  • Does the proposed project consider the sustainability of the services after the funding ends? (Ideally, if the project program is successful, how could it be incorporated into existing programming?)

  • Does the proposed project remove barriers for clients in rural and remote communities obtain international credential recognition?

  • Does the proposed project include partnerships with other social service organizations, employers, or credentialling organizations? If so, how does it do that? What does it require from its partners? How can the project partners benefit?

  • Does the proposed project address issues related to obtaining international credential recognition in rural and remote communities that do not currently exist or provide adequate service levels? 

  • Can the proposed project be scaled up or duplicated in other jurisdictions?

Please see the Guidelines for Funding Proposals for more detailed information and project timelines.

Please note that all applications must be completed electronically via the application form, emailed or mailed submissions will not be accepted. If you require an exception due to limited connectivity or accessibility, please email To prepare for completing the online form, you can preview the application form here.

Responsibility of Grant Recipients

A condition of receiving ICRF grants is the participation in hosted bi-monthly virtual roundtable discussions with ESPs to share information about their project. This requirement is intended to create a community of practice to avoid duplication of services and allow ESPs to learn from each other by answering the following questions:

1.     What is your project and how is it removing barriers for clients to have their international credentials recognized in BC?
2.     How are you measuring success of your program? Can you provide a status update toward achieving the program goals?
3.     What is working well? What could be improved? Advice for next time?

Hosted virtual roundtable discussion are scheduled for October and December of 2023, and February of 2024.Exact dates are yet to be determined. 

It is the intention of the ICRF to create opportunities to test new ideas, adapt existing programs, and share information with other ESPs in the province to find ways to achieve the best outcomes for internationally trained clients as they pursue their BC credentials.


The timeline for procuring and running projects is short, but it is expected that the proposed projects will likely augment existing services to address the client eligibility gap identified by the ESP community. At the project's end, fund recipients are expected to file a final report of their project. ASPECT will then prepare a report on behalf of all grant recipients to the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills, including success metrics, program details, and recommendations from the ESPs.

Although projects can continue beyond March 31, 2024, the funding will not. A report including outcome metrics is due before final payout.

July 12, 2023 @ 1pm              ICRF Information Session – Virtual - Completed

July 31, 2023 @ 11:59 pm      Application portal closes

August 1 – 15, 2023                Review of Applications

August 24 – 30, 2023              Successful grant recipients notified and agreements executed

September 2023                     Funds disbursed to ESPs (90% of total amount)

October 2023 TBD                  ICRF Grant Recipient Roundtable # 1

December 2023 TBD               ICRF Grant Recipient Roundtable #2 plus short report

February 2023 TBD                 ICRF Grant Recipient Roundtable #3 plus short report

March 1, 2024                         Program Report Due to ASPECT

March 31, 2024                       Final fund disbursed to ESPs (10%) 

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