Recognition of equivalence for internationally trained professionals

The following process applies if you would like to obtain recognition of equivalence of a degree granted outside Canada in order to practice as an occupational therapist in Quebec.

The process to recognize equivalence is based on the Regulation respecting equivalence standards for the issue of a permit by the Ordre des ergothérapeutes du Québec.

In this process, the Order examines the candidate’s degree and training so as to identify similarities and differences of your competencies with those expected of occupational therapists practicing in Quebec. If competencies that must be acquired are identified, bridge training will be required, which must be completed in order for the training equivalence to be recognized by the Order. It is only following the recognition of equivalence of your degree or your training that the Order will grant a licence.

Note that successful bridge training does not lead to obtaining a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy.

For efficient planning

In order to plan your efforts efficiently and take into account the time and cost issues involved, please refer to the planning diagram.

Overall duration of the equivalence recognition process

The overall duration of the equivalency recognition process varies depending on the various steps that may apply.

If no bridge training is required by the admissions committee, the process may take approximately 3 months from the time you have provided all the required documents.

If a bridge training is required, then add the time it will take for this training to be completed as well as the delay for entering the program. For example :

  • A refresher training that would consist solely of an online course on the health and professional system in Quebec will take approximately 2 months to complete, for a total of approximately 5 months.
  • If more extensive refresher training is required, involving the completion of several courses, then consider adding between 1.5 and 3 years depending on the bridge training prescription that will apply to your situation. The overall duration of the equivalence recognition process would then be around 2 to 4 years, considering the delays in entering the program. 

In addition, if a candidate wishes to undergo a skills assessment to demonstrate his skills, approximately 3 months must be added to the overall duration.

Note that these times are indicative only.

Have questions? Contact us.

Where the Admissions Committee decision includes a bridge training requirement for the subsequent recognition of training equivalence, this requirement can take one of two forms: either a bridge training program, or supervised clinical fieldwork and courses related to the context of practice in Quebec.

  1. The bridge training program is offered by the Université de Montréal under the title of Programme de qualification en ergothérapie (PQE). (250 Ko)

    In collaboration with the Order, the University’s School of Rehabilitation developed this program for international candidates applying to the Order for recognition of equivalence. For most classes, candidates are mixed with the cohort of students enrolled in the regular occupational therapy programs. To facilitate candidates’ integration, a set of preparatory activities are also part of the PQE and must be completed by the candidate in accordance with the requirements of the Order. Support is also offered to candidates on an individual and group basis to promote their integration and progress in the PQE. Learn more about the PQE.

    Program duration
    The program is comprised of university courses and clinical fieldwork including preparatory activities that take place full-time over several semesters (from 5 to 8 semesters). The program to be completed by a candidate may take as long as two and a half years but will vary depending on the Order’s prescription. This personalized prescription will specify the courses and fieldwork that must be completed by the candidate to obtain recognition of training equivalence by the Order.

    Prescription validity period
    A bridge training prescription from the Order is valid for three years for admission to the Université de Montréal PQE.

    PQE Eligibility requirements

    • Valid prescription: You must have a valid bridge training prescription from the Order;
    • French language: All candidates must have a knowledge of the French language respecting the level  that the University considers minimal to engage in the program. To this end, the candidate must have completed a significant part of their studies in this language. Otherwise, he must demonstrate sufficient knowledge of French by presenting the results of a French test recognized by the Université de Montréal
      The results must attest to the achievement of C1 level of the Cadre européen commun de référence pour les langues (CECRL).Please note that TFI French tests (International French Test) taken after February 1, 2023 are no longer accepted. However, TFI test results obtained before this date and whose validity has not expired will continue to be honored until their expiration date. A minimum score of 785/990 on this test will be required for admission.
    • In addition, although not an eligibility requirements, sufficient knowledge of English is necessary, given the great number of publications relevant to the profession published in that language.

    PQE admission application 
    You must submit your application online via the Université de Montréal website.

    Application deadlines

    • You must make your PQE application for the first semester of the bridge training program required by the Order. This is usually the winter semester (beginning in January). The deadline to submit an admission application for the winter semester is in September of the previous year;
    • Be sure to check the admission deadlines.

    Permanent residency or Canadian citizenship is not an eligibility requirement for the bridge training program. However, tuition fees are significantly higher if you do not have one of these legal statuses in Canada. In addition, you must take into account the three-year validity period for the bridge training prescription when planning your immigration process, which could take a long time. 

    A certificate of successful completion of the bridge training program in accordance with the prescription of the Order is issued by the University. This proof of completion must be sent to the Admissions Committee in order to obtain recognition of training equivalence. The program does not lead to obtaining a Master’s degree in occupational therapy and does not provide access to other university programs.

    For further information (in French).

  2. Supervised clinical fieldwork training and courses related to the context of practice in Quebec

    Applies if the degree or training is judged to be equivalent but the candidate cannot demonstrate sufficient knowledge and understanding of the Quebec health care system and the Quebec professional system (including applicable laws, regulations and standards).

    Clinical fieldwork training

    • CLINICAL FIELDWORK ENVIRONMENT: The clinical fieldwork training must be done in the public health and social services network to enable the acquisition and integration of knowledge concerning the context of practice in Quebec. The clinical fieldwork is managed by the admissions coordinator of the OEQ;
    • FRENCH PROFICIENCY: In Quebec’s public health and social services network it is mandatory to provide services in French. A sufficient French language proficiency is therefore required in order to meet the communication requirements of occupational therapy practice in the field setting;
    • WORK PERMIT: To have the right to undertake clinical fieldwork training, you must be sure to obtain, from the immigration authorities, proof of your right to work in a Canadian health care institution (work permit).


    • Classroom or online courses may be required by the Order.


    • Fieldwork: a fieldwork report is submitted to the Admissions Committee by the fieldwork supervisor. After examining the report, the Admissions Committee makes a decision on successful completion;
    • Courses: the candidate must provide proof of successful completion of the courses.

    The Admissions Committee will make its decision on the recognition of training equivalence based on the review of these documents.


    Vaccination record
    Proof of vaccinations will be required by the ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux du Québec prior to beginning clinical fieldwork. Remember to bring your immunization booklet or any other records showing your vaccinations.

    If you have any questions contact us.