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Admission to a professional order

Note : Information provided here does not replace the official text of laws, regulations and decrees.


Individuals who wish to practise a profession or use a title regulated by Québec's Professional Code must:

  • obtain a permit from the order
  • be entered on the roll of the order once in possession of the permit

Once these steps have been competed, the person is a member of the Order.

  • Obtaining a permit

    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. It is issued to candidates who fulfill the following conditions:

    • possess:
      - a diploma recognized as giving access to a permit
      - a diploma or training recognized as equivalent to the recognized diploma
      - legal authorization to practice the profession in another jurisdiction appearing 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 practise of the profession.

    Applications for a permit must be made to the relevant professional order in accordance with the order's prescribed procedure.

    • The regular and the special permit

      Candidates may apply for a regular or a special permit. 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 practice all the activities associated with the profession.

      The special permit is issued only in the cases and under the conditions covered by regulation. It is offered to candidates who possess a diploma or training that is not recognized as completely equivalent to the diploma giving access to a permit. Candidates' diplomas or training may, however, be sufficient for the practise 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 practice certain activities of the profession on a permanent basis.

    • Educational requirements

      More than 380 diplomas are presently designated by regulations of the Government of Québec as giving access to 53 permits issued by 45 professional orders.

      Depending on the permit, a secondary school, college or university diploma in the relevant professional discipline constitutes the minimum educational requirement. The university diploma usually required is a bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree, however, is required for the issuance of certain permits.

      The government regulation respecting diplomas recognized as giving access to a permit can be accessed on the Web. The professional orders also inform candidates about educational institutions offering programs leading to these diplomas (Useful links).

      A candidate who does not hold a valid diploma may still meet educational requirements if he or she holds a diploma or training recognized as equivalent. (Equivalence of diplomas or equivalence of training)

    • Specific conditions

      In addition to the required diploma or training, regulations may require that candidates successfully complete 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 period of professional training 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 period of professional training. For example: prior acquisition of a diploma recognized as giving access to a permit, payment of registration fees, and acquisition of a temporary permit from the order authorizing the trainee to practise certain activities of the profession in the course of the training period.

      • Supplemental training

        Supplemental training generally consists in one or more courses, possibly grouped together as a “professional training program” to bring candidates up to the level of knowledge and skills required for practicing 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 program of study, and, in some cases, during a training period or supplemental training course.

    • Knowledge of the French language

      Québec is a mainly French-speaking society. In this regard, the National Assembly of Québec 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, candidates 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 four criteria: written comprehension, oral comprehension, written expression, 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 considered apt to practice 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 equivalence of training (recognition of credentials; prior-learning assessment and qualifications recognition)

      Candidates not holding a diploma recognized as giving access to a permit may still satisfy educational requirements of a professional order if their credentials, experience or training are recognized as equivalent. 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 giving access to 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. In their processes and methodology, the professional orders apply recognized principles and draw on best practices in the area of prior learning assessment (see Principles for the recognition of equivalence of credentials and training acquired outside Québec and Survey of good practices for the recognition of equivalence of credentials and training acquirend outside Québec).

      • Required documents

        To obtain recognition of a diploma or training equivalence, 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. Depending on the profession, fees may amount to roughly $100.00 and are not refundable.

        The candidate may be required to submit the following documents (this is not an exhaustive list and it will vary depending on the profession):

        • diplomas, educational certificates and other academic transcripts
        • course marks
        • description of completed courses and training periods
        • 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. Only duly completed applications that are accompanied by all the required documents will be examined.

        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.

      • Decision and issuance of permit

        The order’s decision will be sent to the candidate within a prescribed period. If an equivalence is refused, the order will inform the candidate of the courses of study recognized as giving access to a permit or training activities necessary to obtain an equivalence.

        In addition, a professional order may ask a candidate to successfully complete a course, training period, or examination to obtain full equivalence recognition.

        Note that 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. (Specific conditions).

        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.

      • Review

        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

        As part of their process with the professional order and in cases where the candidate's profile does not completely correspond to the requirements for 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.
  • Entry on the roll of the order

    Once the permit has been issued, holders must be entered on the roll of the order to be entitled to use a professional title, and in certain cases, practice reserved activities. To this end, individuals generally must :

    • complete the prescribed form;
    • pay dues and other fees;
    • furnish security against professional liability, where applicable;
    • satisfy the other prescribed conditions (disciplinary or criminal file, medical examination, etc.).
    • Dues and other fees

      Dues and other fees vary from one professional order to another. An annual assessment (dues) is payable for entry on the roll of the order.

    • Admission deadlines

      In addition to the order’s regular application deadlines, candidates must take into account the availability and duration of any required courses or training periods, the frequency of examinations given by the order and the Office québécois de la langue française, and deadlines associated with any other administrative procedures.

    • Liability insurance

      Professionals are obliged to furnish a security for their liability in case of errors or omissions committed in the practice of their profession. Check with the relevant order for the requirements, conditions and terms of the required liability insurance.

  • Candidates from outside Québec

    Candidates outside Québec who wish to obtain a permit but who do not hold a diploma recognized as giving access to said permit can apply to have their diploma or training recognized as equivalent. It is not necessary to be a permanent resident or Canadian citizen to obtain a permit.

    It must be remembered that candidates have to satisfy legal requirements respecting sufficient knowledge of the French language. In addition, under the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, a professional order may not refuse to issue a permit on the grounds of race, colour, sex, religion, or national, cultural, or socio-economic background.

  • Useful links


    Professional legislation

    Professional Code

    Links to laws regulating the practice of exclusive professions

    Professional orders’ Web sites

    Permits issued by professional orders

    Conditions for obtaining a permit and being entered on the roll of an order

    Regulation respecting the diplomas issued by designated teaching establishments which give access to permits or specialist's certificates of professional orders

    Programs of study for diplomas recognized as giving access to the different permits

    Québec’s Vocational and Technical Training Network (Inforoute de la formation professionnelle et technique)

    Québec universities’ Web sites

    High school and college programs in Québec

    University programs in Québec

    Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF)

    Certificates and examinations to assess knowledge of the French language

    MICC - Finding out about regulated professions or trades

    MICC - Obtaining a Comparative Evaluation for Studies Done Outside Québec

    Commissioner for complaints concerning mechanisms for the recognition of professional competence

    Candidates from outside Québec