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Academic Requirements and Acceptable Alternatives:
Challenges and Opportunities for the Regulated Professions in Ontario

10. Acceptable alternatives: The way forward

The Office of the Fairness Commissioner makes the following recommendations to regulatory bodies, educational institutions, and government. The recommendations will help all stakeholders to:

  • address existing challenges related to acceptable alternatives
  • enhance flexible opportunities for applicants to meet academic requirements for licensing in Ontario

Recommendations to regulatory bodies

  • Focus on competencies, not credentials.
  • Make assessment more flexible, to recognize the variety of ways that individuals develop professional knowledge and skills. As appropriate, work with national bodies to design and implement alternative approaches to the assessment of professional competencies.
  • Collaborate with educational institutions to offer high-quality learning opportunities that enable internationally educated applicants to develop missing competencies and fulfil requirements for licensing. Advocate for improved access to individual courses, bridging programs and advanced-standing opportunities.
  • Work with partners to minimize the time and cost associated with acceptable alternatives.

Recommendations to post-secondary educational institutions

  • Focus on teaching competencies, not on maintaining traditional program structures.
  • Strengthen prior learning assessment and introduce flexibility into educational offerings to better meet diverse learning needs. Improve access to individual courses and advanced standing.
  • Integrate bridging and bridging-like programs into the regular business of academic departments, so that this work is no longer isolated and dependent on time-limited project funding.

Recommendations to government

  • Maintain and enhance funding for foreign-credential-recognition initiatives and bridge training.
  • Improve access to financial aid for internationally educated professionals, to cover the whole range of costs associated with the licensing process, from assessments and exams to bridge training.
  • Ensure that all relevant departments actively support the successful licensing and employment of immigrant professionals, rather than relying only on departments of citizenship and immigration.
  • Through the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, ensure that the post-secondary education system meets the needs of internationally educated learners.

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Notes and references

Academic Requirements and Acceptable Alternatives:
Challenges and Opportunities for the Regulated Professions in Ontario

Exemplary Practices

The OFC gathers regulatory bodies' exemplary licensing practices so that they may learn from one another. Exemplary practices about academic requirements and acceptable alternatives are listed below.

  1. Accepting and supporting diverse applicants

    This practice acknowledges a diversity of midwifery...

  2. Clarifying documentation requirements and acceptable alternatives

    This practice will be of interest to regulators seeking...

  3. Communicating acceptable alternatives for applicants with non-accredited education

    This practice offers a visual map of pathways to registration...

  4. Communicating acceptable alternatives for meeting certification requirements

    This practice allows applicants to better understand...