Obtaining a permit
To find out the requirements of an order to which you wish to apply for a permit to practise, contact the order itself.
Here, though, are some of the general considerations that apply to all of the orders with respect to obtaining a permit.
A professional order is required by law to verify the competence of individuals applying for a permit to practise a profession. The permit therefore constitutes official recognition of its holder’s competence. To obtain a permit, candidates must satisfy the following conditions:
- possess a diploma recognized as giving access to a permit, for example, a diploma or training recognized as equivalent to the designated diploma, or legal authorization to practise the profession in another jurisdiction that appears on a list established by regulation
- satisfy, if applicable, additional conditions of a professional order (training period, supplemental training, or professional examination)
- possess sufficient knowledge of the French language for the practice of the profession
Applications for a permit must be made to the relevant professional order in accordance with the order’s prescribed procedure.
Regular and special permits
An order may issue a regular or special permit to applicants. The conditions for the issuance of permits by professional orders are set out in laws passed by Québec’s National Assembly and regulations approved by the government.
Holders of a regular permit may practise all the activities associated with the profession.
The special permit is issued only in the cases and under the conditions, stipulated by regulation. It is issued to candidates with a diploma or training that is not recognized as fully equivalent to the diploma required to practise the particular profession in Québec. Candidates’ diplomas or training may, however, be sufficient for the practice of some of the activities associated with the profession. The special permit is in essence a permanent restrictive permit vesting its holder with the right to practise certain activities of the profession on a permanent basis.
More than 380 diplomas are presently designated by the Regulation respecting the diplomas issued by designated educational institutions which give access to permits or specialist’s certificates of professional orders as giving access to one of the 54 permits issued by the 46 professional orders.
Academic requirements vary according to the professions subject to the Professional Code. Professions may require a secondary school, college, undergraduate, or post-graduate diploma.
The professional orders inform candidates about the programs of study offered by educational institutions that give access to the diploma required to practise the profession they supervise.
A candidate who does not hold a valid diploma may still meet the academic requirements if he or she holds a diploma or training recognized as equivalent, as explained further on.
Additional specific requirements
In addition to the required diploma or training, regulations may require that candidates successfully complete a training period, supplemental training or a professional examination. Specific conditions vary depending on the profession. They are the same, however, for all candidates, regardless of whether their diploma or qualifications were obtained in Québec or elsewhere.
The professional order will inform candidates about the specific conditions associated with obtaining the desired permit.
- Training periods:A training period is generally a period of workplace-based training that allows trainees to put their studies to practical use. Depending on the profession, different conditions and terms may apply for registration in a training period. For example: prior acquisition of a diploma recognized as giving access to a permit, payment of registration fees, acquisition of a temporary permit from the order authorizing the apprentice to practise certain activities of the profession in the course of the apprenticeship or training period.
- Supplemental training:Supplemental training generally consists in one or more courses, possibly grouped together as a “professional training program” to bring candidates to the level of knowledge and skills required to practise the profession. Depending on the case, such training may be offered by the order or by a recognized educational institution.
- Professional examination:The professional examination is used to validate the acquisition and integration of required knowledge and skills acquired during the initial training period, and, in some cases, during an apprenticeship or supplemental training course.
Knowledge of the French language
Québec is a primarily francophone society. In this regard, Québec’s National Assembly passed the Charter of the French Language, designating French as the official language. Pursuant to this law, individuals must possess an adequate knowledge of French to obtain a permit from a professional order.
Someone who has completed three years of study in French at the secondary or post-secondary level is considered to possess sufficient knowledge of the language.
If this is not the case, the individual must obtain a certificate from the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF). The certificate is issued to anyone who passes the OQLF examination, which assesses knowledge of French based on the following criteria: written and oral comprehension, and written and oral expression.
A professional order may issue a temporary permit to someone who does not completely meet the requirements for knowledge of the French language, but is otherwise considered apt to practise the profession. To obtain the permit on a permanent basis, the individual must pass the OQLF examination before the temporary permit expires.
Equivalence of diplomas and training
Candidates not holding a diploma recognized as giving access to a permit may still satisfy a professional order’s educational requirements if their credentials, experience or prior learning are recognized as equivalent. In some cases, this includes credentials obtained in another country.
A diploma equivalence certifies that knowledge and skills acquired in completing a course of studies leading to a diploma are equivalent to those of a person holding a diploma recognized as valid for the issuance of a permit.
A training equivalence certifies that knowledge and skills acquired in a training program or work experience are equivalent to those of a person holding a diploma recognized as giving access to a permit.
Regulations passed by the Government of Québec prescribe the equivalence standards to be applied by each order in assessing applications for recognition of credentials and prior learning.
To obtain recognition of an equivalence of a degree or training, a written application must be addressed to the professional order, which will then send the candidate a copy of its equivalence regulation, the procedure for obtaining an equivalence, and, in some cases, an application form.
The candidate must transmit to the professional order all the documents needed to support an application for equivalence and pay the fees related to the examination of the application. Fees may vary from one order to the other and they are not refundable.
Depending on the order’s regulation, candidates may be required to submit various documents, for example, diplomas, school certificate, and other academic certificates, course transcripts, course descriptions, placements, and proof of employment and work experience.
In general, submitted documents must be original official documents or certified copies. Some of these documents may be submitted directly to the professional order by an educational institution or competent authority. The candidate must furnish a translation when these documents are in a language other than French or English. In some cases, a translator’s sworn statement may also be required.
Only duly completed applications that are accompanied by all the required documents will be considered.
Decision and issuance of permit
The order’s decision will be sent to the candidate within a time period stipulated by regulation. If an equivalence is refused, the order will inform the candidate of the courses of studies recognized as giving access to a permit or training activities necessary to obtain an equivalence.
Further, a professional order may ask a candidate to successfully complete a course, training period, or examination to obtain full equivalence recognition.
Recognition of an equivalence does not exempt a candidate from specific conditions for obtaining a permit, such as a training period, supplemental training or a professional examination.
A candidate who does not hold a valid diploma may still be issued a permit if he or she holds a diploma or training recognized as equivalent. Equivalence is decided by the order based on the profession’s fixed training requirements. The fixed training requirements are made the subject of a regulation, and thereby receive government sanction.
Candidates can generally request a hearing for the purpose of convincing a professional order to revise its decision if they have been refused recognition of an equivalence of their credentials or training, in whole or in part.
The professional order renders its decision and informs candidates in writing. The order’s decision is final and not subject to review.
Temporary restrictive permit
In cases where the candidate’s profile does not completely correspond to the requirements for the issuance of a regular or special permit, candidates may be issued a temporary restrictive permit for the period during which they are completing their requirements for the issuance of the desired permit.