Careers in Canada

A Guide for Internationally Educated Physiotherapists to Become Certified in Canada

Internationally educated physiotherapists planning to work in Ontario must complete CAPR’s mandatory credentialing process before they are allowed to take the Physiotherapy Competency Examination (PCE).

Canada may be one of the best choices for internationally-educated physiotherapists (IEPT) looking for opportunities outside of their country. Due to the current demand for physiotherapists in Ontario and other parts of the country, the Canadian government has given more benefits and made it easier for IEPTs to migrate as a practicing professional.

This article aims to guide IEPTs who want to practice their profession in one of Canada’s most populous provinces, Ontario. 

Step 1: Browsing the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (CAPR) Website

Before starting your application to become a registered physiotherapist in Canada, IEPTs should first get familiarized with the institution involved in the whole process.

The Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (CAPR) is the assessing and credentialing body that performs the initial evaluation of applications from foreign-educated physiotherapists. They are also responsible for the Physiotherapy Competency Examination taken by both Canadian and internationally-educated physiotherapists.

CAPR assesses foreign applicants on behalf of the Canadian provincial and territorial physiotherapy regulators, also referred to as Members, to determine if an applicant’s qualification is essentially the same as physiotherapists educated within Canada. 

By visiting the website,you will find in-depth guides  that are helpful for aspiring applicants. You may also easily get in touch with them through their Contact Us page.

Here are the things you might want to look for within their website:

  • Required documents for processing your application
  • Timelines
  • Examinations involved
  • Required fees and other possible expenses
  • Recommendations for a smooth application
  • Guides for readiness for applications and exams

Step 2: Preparing the Necessary Documents

Securing all required documents ahead of time makes the whole process a lot easier. CAPR also recommends completing the credentialing process in your home country if you haven’t landed in Canada yet

Here are the documents that CAPR requires for the credentialing process:

  • Completed, signed, and dated CAPR credentialing forms A, B, C, and D
  • Credentialing Fee (Included in Form A)
  • Identity Documents with attached photographs (Included in Form C)
  • Copy of university-level diploma, degree, or certificate.
  • Application checklist (Form B)


Some of the other documents required to be submitted by your school and other institutions are the following:

  • A document request form (Form D) from your school’s registrar.
  • Official transcript
  • Graduation Verification
  • Supporting documentation regarding supervised clinical practice hours
  • An official language proficiency score report sent by a CAPR accredited language test center.

Although it is possible  to submit an application after migrating to Canada, securing your documents may prove to be challenging if you’re not within your country. 

Step 3: Apply for Credentialing at CAPR

Internationally educated physiotherapists planning to work in Ontario must complete CAPR’s mandatory credentialing process before they are allowed to take the Physiotherapy Competency Examination (PCE). Credentialing is the process that evaluates an applicant’s documented qualification if it is at par to the registered standard in the receiving country. 

CAPR’s credentialing uses these five criteria for all applications:

  • Identity verification through authentic documents
  • Completion of a university-level entry-to-practice physiotherapy degree
  • Successful completion of supervised clinical practice with a minimum of 1025 hours.
  • Fluency in either English or French, with written evidence of completion
  • Knowledge of the practice of physiotherapy based on the Canadian healthcare system

Note: CAPR does not accept original copies of these documents. CAPR does not guarantee a safe return or storage of these documents and the application will be considered incomplete. Send only the notarized copy of all your documents, except for certified translations.

Step 4 – A: Following up with CAPR

Once CAPR has processed your application and documents, you will receivean email containing the PIN that you can use to log in to the CAPR website. You can track the status of the application through this portal.

The CAPR’s Client Services Team will verify the completion of your documents. The credentialing of your application will begin once your documents are marked as complete. You will then receive an email notification about it. Along with this, the start of your credentialing will be reflected in your CAPR online account.

The possible results of the assessment are as follows:

  1. CAPR reviews your education as not substantially different from Canadian education, which makes you eligible for the Physiotherapy Competency Examination (PCE). Note that the eligibility for the CAPR has an expiration date. You need to take the first attempt at the PCE written component before it expires.
  1. CAPR finds minor gaps in your academic credentials. In this case, CAPR will allow applicants to fill in these gaps.
  2. CAPR finds major gaps in your academic credentials. In this case,  you are not qualified to apply for PCE with your current credentials.

Step 4 – B: Completing the “Knowledge of the Practice of Physiotherapy Within the Canadian Healthcare System” Course

Applicants are also required to complete the “Knowledge of the Practice of Physiotherapy within the Canadian Healthcare System” course and should include a formal method of evaluation.

CAPR usually sends out the information for available course options after an application for credentialing has been received. This course is offered by multiple universities in both traditional and online setup and can be done at any time in between the credentialing process.

Step 5: Taking the Physiotherapy Competency Examination

Once CAPR completes the credentialing of the application, applicants are now eligible to apply for the Physiotherapy Competency Examination (PCE).

The PCE tests whether an applicant can demonstrate the minimum standard for the practice as well as the essential knowledge for physiotherapy practice. The PCE is composed of a written component and the clinical component. Applicants must first complete the written component before being allowed to take the clinical component of the PCE. However, it is highly encouraged by CAPR to send applications for both components at the same time.

To apply for the exam, applicants must first download and complete the CAPR examination form from their website. Don’t forget to mark the date and location where you prefer to take the exam from the list specified from the form.

Both examinations come with their respective fees. Hence, the credit card section of the application must be completed. Alternatively, you can include a certified cheque or a money order along with your application. To finish the form, read the declaration and thensign and write the date when the form was accomplished.

Send the completed original application form along with your preferred payment through the mail.

Completing both written and clinical components of the PCE is the last step you’ll take before being able to begin your application with the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario.

Step 6: Registration With the Provincial Regulator

As all Canadian provinces have their respective regulators for licensed physiotherapists, applicants will need to register to their database first before being able to practice within the country. For the province of Ontario, it is the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario.

Once you’ve passed the CAPR’s PCE, you’re ready to register with the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario to become a licensed physiotherapist in Canada.

The first thing that the regulator will need is for you to submit a completed Regulatory History Form which can be downloaded from their website. Afterward, apply for registration through their website. From here, you will be asked simple questions regarding your qualifications. Once completed, you will be allowed to create an account with them if your qualifications pass their initial questioning.

Log in to the PT portal using the account you’ve created to complete the application. You will be required to fill up your personal information and attach the documents required by the regulator.

“The College of Physiotherapists of Ontario requires all practicing physiotherapists in Canada to have a Professional Liability Insurance.”

After applying, you can expect an email response from them within 15 business days. They will let you know if the application has been completed, or if they are still missing other documents they need to complete the approval. This may include documents regarding your identity and education credentials, completion of the regulator’s review fee, or letters of professional standing and good morals if required.

Step Seven: Confirmation of Registration

After covering all the necessary fees and getting the application approved by the regulator, you will receive an email containing your registration number. This is a proof that you are now legally able to practice physiotherapy in Ontario. Congratulations!

Failed applications, on the other hand, will be referred to the Registration Committee. The committee will get in touch with you through email to advise you about the next steps. This process may take approximately eight to ten weeks.

Alternatives: Provisional Licensing and Bridging Programs

IEPTs can apply for a provisional license allowing them to practice physiotherapy in Canada with supervision. Applicants can apply for this during the completion of the CAPR credentialing and before completing the PCE. Interested IEPTs can inquire with the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario for its conditions and requirements.

Alternatively, IEPTs can take advantage of the Physiotherapy bridging programs offered by the Ontario Internationally Educated Physical Therapy Bridging Program. This program is government-funded and is based on the Canadian standard for physiotherapy education.

Aside from IEPTs voluntarily registering for the program to better equip themselves for the PCE, CAPR may also refer its applicants with major credential gaps to education bridging to fill them.

IEPTs who completed the bridging programs are still required to undergo and pass the PCE. The process will also remain the same for registering with the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario.


References:

  1. HealthForceOntario
  2. Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators
  3. College of Physiotherapists of Ontario
  4. Ontario Internationally Educated Physical Therapy Bridging Program

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