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The term “credentials” usually refers to “paper” qualifications—certificates, diplomas, and degrees. While it helps employers (when they are considering an internationally-trained candidate for a position) to know how international credentials compare to Canadian standards, sometimes, paper qualifications do not tell the whole story. Employers need to know if the candidate can do the job—does the candidate have the required competencies for the job?
Competencies are measurable skills, levels of knowledge, and behavioural practices that indicate one’s ability to perform occupation-specific tasks and duties. Competency-based testing is one way for employers to assess the abilities of internationally-trained workers to “do the job.” Sector councils have been developing competency-based occupational standards for their industries that can help employers assess the competencies of internationally-trained workers (see What are Sector Councils doing?)
Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) is a mechanism that allows for establishing credential equivalencies of the skills and knowledge gained outside of Canada of an internationally-trained worker. PLAR is the identification and measurement of skills and knowledge acquired outside formal educational institutions (obtained through work and other life experiences), and of prior learning acquired in formal education institutes, and formal credits or credentials. Assessments are most often used to grant academic credit or determine eligibility to practice a trade or profession. Recognition is based on an assessment of skills and knowledge obtained through work and other life experiences. Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition may also include determination of future goals and individual training needs.
The following links provide more information on the issue:
Funded by the Government of Canada's Foreign Credential Recognition Program.
Funded by the Government of Canada's Sector Council Program
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