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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.

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?

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.

    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 - Completed

    August 1 – 15, 2023                Review of Applications - Completed 

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

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

    October 2023                          ICRF Grant Recipient Roundtable # 1 - Completed

    December 12, 2023                ICRF Grant Recipient Roundtable #2 plus short report - Completed

    February 13, 2023                  ICRF Grant Recipient Roundtable #3 plus short report - Completed

    March 15, 2024                       Program Report Due to ASPECT - Extended to March 22nd, 2024

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

    TBD - Community Of Practice & Optional Roundtables to continue. Details to be announced.

    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. Please see below for details on the approved projects. 

    Services Providers Running International Credential Recognition Fund (ICRF) Projects 

    Archway Community Services

    Archway Community Services 

    WES Credential Evaluation Pilot

    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, 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 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.

    Douglas College (@douglascollege) / X

    Douglas College

    ASPECT ICRF Grant for Internationally Educated Health Professionals in Regulated Occupations

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    Recognizing international credentials extends beyond reviewing educational or work history documentation. It also involves understanding how to find accurate resources, begin the process, navigate the myriad of information (or mis-information) plus follow through on required next steps. This takes extensive financial resources, time and resilience and is often the reason newcomers do not return to their fields of expertise.

    Over and above knowing how to navigate the pathways, newcomers have limited funding for the costs of foreign credential recognition and subsequent licensing fees. Many occupations cost tens of thousands of dollars to go through credential recognition, assessments, exams and other mandatory fees. Thus, many newcomers who were hopeful when they stepped on the plane to come to Canada, often give up if they do start the process. Sometimes due to frustration and sometimes due to competing priorities on how to use their dwindling savings or incomes. Recent cost of living increases have made choices even more difficult.

    The ICRF Grant will be used to offset the credential and licensing costs, specifically for Internationally Educated Health Professionals (IEHPs). This will complement and not duplicate other funding sources available including the Province of BC’s funding currently available through the Career Paths for Skilled Immigrants program. The goal is to provide financial relief to clients returning to medical jobs including Physicians, Nurses, Sonographers, Pharmacists and Dentists.

    Access to funding support may also encourage reluctant IEHPs to pursue required steps to licensure and related employment thereby attaching more quickly to commensurate or aligned work in healthcare.

    Immigrant Services Society of BC (ISSofBC)


    International Credential Recognition (ICR) Program

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    The ICR Program at ISSofBC aims to serve internationally trained professionals who are not eligible for the existing Career Paths for Skilled Immigrants program. The Service will include job search support, financial support for credential evaluation, skills upgrading and other related costs, professional networking and mentoring support.

    Kootenay Career Development Society

    Credential Connect

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    Credential Connect embeds Credential Recognition Navigator(s) within KCDS to service the RDCK and RDKB regions, working one-on-one with clients to navigate the complexities of the credential recognition process and act as experts on local and provincial resources available to participants. The Credential Recognition Navigator will work with the client to determine an action plan (Credential Recognition Plan) and will continue as the primary support for the client as they move from credentialing to active job search, providing employment services, soft skills development, and liaising with employers to support clients with transitioning into the local labour market.

    Clients will also have access to financial support along the way, including support for transportation (public transit, fuel cards), childcare, fees associated with licensing, fees associated with further education, and any other needed financial supports identified through a financial needs assessment.

    The program will also offer regular peer support group sessions to all participants to promote social inclusion, decrease isolation, and provide an opportunity for language-skill practice where appropriate. It will incentivize the hiring of recent immigrants by providing participating employers with a hiring bonus, alongside job placement supports, as appropriate and, finally, will also develop a Credential Recognition Guide that staff can use to support current and future clients.

    Langley Local Immigration Partnership | The Langley LIP Membership - Langley Local Immigration Partnership

    Langley Community Services Society

    iConnect-ICRF Bridging for Newcomers

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    The iConnect-ICRF Bridging for Newcomers program matches newcomers in Canada to local professionals with similar employment background and experience in the field/job the newcomers are targeting, and with the licensing body that certifies their regulated occupation. Newcomers refer to foreign-trained professionals targeting careers in regulated professions and landed in Canada for not more than 10 years, including immigrants, temporary foreign workers, international students, and their family members. They must be residents of BC, ready to get a job and can commit to mentoring activities of up to 6 months. The program aims to fast-track the newcomers’ transition into the Canadian workplace. And also addresses the gap of absence of this specific support for international students and temporary foreign workers. This is a first-of-its kind program in Langley and has the capacity to expand in neighboring cities.

    Newcomers (mentees) are matched with professionals (mentors) for a minimum of 4 mentorship meetings up to 6 months where they can talk about labour market information, industry, profession, Canadian workplace culture, occupation-specific terminologies, certification process, and job search strategies. The program is completed by the 6th month the newcomer is in the program. LCSS, as the project holder, provides career related support and structured activities geared towards better understanding of the career and the workplace, as well as securing a job similar or related to the newcomers’ pre-landing experience or field of work. LCSS will also facilitate employer-driven activities such as meet-and-greet and worksite tours aimed at better understanding of the specific roles and the industry.

    The program will serve 23 professional newcomers and will be matched with a mentor in their field, of which 18 will complete the program and 14 will have meaningful jobs. The mentors will be providing 45 coaching hours to the mentees.

    NexusBC Community Resource Centre - Logo

    NEXUS BC Community Resource Centre 

    International Credential Recognition Fund
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    Our project will work with newcomers to Canada to obtain recognition of their international credentials to enable them to eventually secure work in Canada that aligns with their country-of-origin career. Specifically, we will meet one-on-one to get to know each client, gain an understanding of their career background and educational attainments, and create a roadmap of action steps to obtain credential recognition. Throughout this process, we will assess the unique needs of each client and provide wraparound supports and financial assistance to promote continual forward motion of clients towards credential recognition.

    Potential and Possibility: Non-Profit Options Lives Up to Its Name - DP World Canada

    OPTIONS Community Services Society

    Re:Align- Moving your career forward

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    Re:Align- Moving your career forward is a 10 week program designed to support Work Permit Holders in BC with pre-arrival skills and education in either regulated or non-regulated occupations in BC. The program assists the participant in understanding the recognition process, begin their credentialing journey and gain additional skills to assist them in achieving employment in their field. Re:Align, focuses on an early intervention and preparation phase

    for professionals to develop stronger soft skills. Participants will earn a Leadership Micro-Credential from Vancouver Community College. They will receive executive coaching and mentoring sessions to help them start on the right track to move their careers forward in Canada.

    PICS Logo 2023

    Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society


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    Since 1987, (PICS) Society provides more than 50 programs and services which includes Employment Programs, Settlement Services, Language Services, Social programs, and housing Services. Over the past 5 years, the PICS- FCR federally funded program has been serving more than 1000 International professional immigrants, including citizens, residents, and refugees to achieve their career goals and get back into their profession in British Columbia.

    We are grateful to the government and ASPECT BC for providing us with this fantastic opportunity to assist International students since it has been one of the main challenges we have had so far not being able to assist international professional students who are struggling to connect the dots and find employment in their specialized field with various support services, which include career guidance, mentorship, job shadowing, job readiness skills, navigation pathways, and financial literacy. With the help of ICR, we commit to helping international students explore different avenues and overcome overwhelming circumstances and conditions.

    Thank you for your time, and we look forward to continuing our mission of empowering professional international students to get back into their profession in British Columbia.

    YWCA Metro Vancouver

    YWCA Metro Vancouver

    Journey to Recognition

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    YWCA's Journey to Recognition is a micro-credentialing initiative aimed at empowering newcomers, particularly those ineligible for existing support programs, to have their international qualifications recognized. With the International Credential Recognition Fund (ICRF), we will:

    · Provide Financial Support for Foreign Credential Recognition (FCR) to eliminate financial barriers for newcomers, enabling them to access better job opportunities.

    · Cover Assessment Expenses to align qualifications with Canadian standards and expedite licensure and credential acquisition.

    · Offer Tailored Support for Healthcare Professionals, addressing the specific challenges they face in credential recognition.

    Our YWCA Journey to Recognition project goal is to pave a transformative path for newcomers, empowering them to have their qualifications recognized and make meaningful contributions to Canadian society.

    logo DIVERSEcity

    DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society

    ASPECT-DIVERSEcity Foreign Credential Recognition Program

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    The ASPECT-DIVERSEcity Foreign Credential Recognition Program aims to support skilled newcomers in BC start the credentialing process in Canada so they can integrate back into the labour force utilizing the skills and professions they obtain back home. The program offers one-on-one coaching, action planning, and resources for newcomers to navigate the recredentialing process. Additionally the program offers seed funding based on need to support participants with the initial costs of recredentialing.

    Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria | Victoria BC

    ICA of Greater Victoria

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    The project addresses two identified and related barriers to credential recognition that Internationally Trained Professionals (ITPs) encounter:

    1. Lack of knowledge, skills in workplace communication, and

    2. Access to placements with employers to complete Canadian experience requirements.

    The project supports ITPs currently pursuing licensure with the following:

    1. Workplace communication acquisition. Through the development of a new curriculum with an instructional designer, the program will address specific occupational language barriers related to regulated occupations. The curriculum will be split in several online learning modules that will be available on Moodle, thus, facilitating the expansion and sustainability of the program.

    2. Placement supports with local employers to complete the Canadian experience requirement ubiquitous to regulated occupations in British Columbia. To develop the framework for placement success, to create awareness and to generate ‘by in’ from employers, a part-time Project Facilitator, providing registration and liaison support, works jointly with an Immigrant Employment Specialist (an in-kind contribution) as well as ICA’s Greater Victoria Local Immigration Partnership (GVLIP), helping to facilitate outreach and connections.

    The project’s eligibility criteria will account for the needs of permanent residents, naturalized Canadian citizens and/or temporary residents with a valid work permit, who are not eligible for existing services.

    Upon its completion, the proposed project will continue beyond the funding agreement as the project design will account for sustainability and inclusion in existing employment services. The workplace communication training/tools will be provided online though Moodle; current and future clients will be able to access the training. Project Staff/ICA staff will continue providing placement supports for clients wishing to receive the supports.

    KCR Community Resources - Enhancing Lives - Connecting Communities

    Kelowna Community Resources

    Pathways to Credential Recognition (Pathways)

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    The ICR program supports skilled newcomers move towards obtaining recognized professional credentials within Canada. Through individualized, holistic case management, the ICR program guides newcomers through the credential recognition continuum, providing supports related to verifying education credentials, credential related funding, and navigating various professional & regulatory bodies. The ICR program aims to support newcomers in their journey towards obtaining well paying, stable employment within their field

    The ICR program aims to fill in the financial, service, and time constraint gaps left by comparable programming and serve as a tandem service to ensure participants are receiving holistic supports that provides them with the full capacity to obtain their credentials in a reasonable time frame.

    Kootenay Employment Services Society

    International Nurses in BC

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    A shortage of nurses is a large factor in contributing to the crisis in our healthcare system in this province. The 2022 BC Labour Market Outlook predicts over 20,000 openings province-wide over the next 10 years. The report also suggests that newcomers will play a big role in filling those positions. This means we need a smooth and streamlined process to get foreign credentials recognized and internationally educated nurses (IENs) working. However, the process of credential recognition is currently multi-pronged and navigating it can be challenging. There are some

    support programs available to assist newcomers with the credentialing process, but there are gaps in service, particularly in rural areas of BC.

    This project aims to create a user-friendly and detailed tool for IENs to efficiently navigating the system, either with the support of an employment counsellor or on their own. We are looking to create a step-by-step guide document as well as in interactive virtual process map. There will be two separate documents, one for IENs trained in Australia, New Zealand, UK and US, the second for IENs trained in other countries.

    We will also create a library of resources, both physical and virtual, as these are not readily available in our rural area. Additionally, there will be some financial supports available to participants as they are going through the credentialing process to cover costs that are not already supported by other programs.

    It is the aim of the project to have the checklists available for any IEN or employment counsellor in BC, understanding that processes are constantly evolving and changing and documents will have to be adjusted accordingly. This project will also help in identifying and addressing additional barriers to the credentialing process in rural areas. The aim is to attract more IENs to rural areas of BC.



    IEN Community Health Centre work experience pilot

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    Our project, in partnership with Umbrella Multicultural Health Co-op in New Westminster, will provide paid 140-hour work placements for Internationally Educated Nurses who are actively pursuing their licensing in BC.

    Our goal is to provide IENs with increased confidence in the specific skills (including English) required to obtain their license and connect them with more skills-commensurate employment while they are awaiting their credentials to be assessed and recognized.

    NIEFS | North Island Employment Foundations Society | Job Bank Vancouver Island

    North Island Employment Foundations Society

    Skills Bridge

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    NIEFS will work collaboratively with community partners and programs to create a “bridge” to support internationally trained newcomers and immigrants in the North Vancouver Island to remove barriers to foreign credential recognition and gain greater connection to the labour market through two key initiatives:

    Skills Bridge Accessibility Funding

    The Skills Bridge Accessibility Fund will create opportunities for support for those not currently qualifying for support through Career Paths for Skilled Immigrants or WorkBC to apply for assistance with the cost of the credentialing process in areas such as enhanced access to language testing, costs related to assessment, credential translation and evaluation, transportation costs related to process steps involved and other related costs.

    This initiative will be targeted to those lacking eligibility under current programs, experiencing limited access to available support and/or impacted by their geographical distance from service delivery centres. Collaboration and communication with existing service providers will avoid duplication of services and allow for cost-sharing opportunities where possible. Funding will be administered through a Project Coordinator hired by NIEFS and referrals will come from individuals, immigrant serving agencies and groups. Employers may also refer staff that would benefit. Use of the fund will help us to further examine needs and trends for foreign trained workers and will influence future programming. The piloting of enhanced access to programming and findings will be utilized to create future programming and establish grounds for future funding proposals.

    Skills Bridge Connector Events

    NIEFS will create and host two in-person, specialized networking events; one in Campbell River in November 2023 and one in the Port Hardy area in early March 2023 aimed at connecting foreign trained workers with area employers. These events will enhance connections for workers with individuals in their sectors of training and interest as well as create employment opportunities and enhance access to services and supports. Facilitated hybrid workshops/info sessions will also be offered to potential participants to support them in preparing their job search tools and work profiles in advance. Employers will be invited to attend an info session in advance of the events.

    Outlines For Life Society

    Outlines for Life Society


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    Through our Job Search & Support Services department, we provide a broad range of Professional Employment Services to help prepare individuals to meet labour market demand for a skilled workforce.

    Currently, through the ASPECT funding, we are offering Internationally Trained Workers in the northeast assessment to develop a plan to achieve their goals based on where they are at in the credential recognition process. We will assistance with the International Credential Recognition Process, financial support for, application fees, testing fees, transportation to testing sites in other communities, as well as skills training for meaningful employment while they’re in this process. We will work with community partners when participants need services such as ESL and preparation for language tests.



    International Credential Recognition Support Program

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    S.U.C.C.E.S.S. International Credential Recognition (ICR) Support Program improves the ICR process for Internationally Trained Dentists (ITDs) and Nurses (ITNs) by providing them with peer support groups, focused study groups and capacity building around mental health & wellness and Reconciliation, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

    300 - 722 Cormorant Street | Victoria, BC | V8W 1P8

    Toll Free: 1-888-287-4957
    Telephone: 250-382-9675


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