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Bridging programs for newcomers in Canada

Bridging programs for immigrants

Recognizing that newcomers with international credentials may need to upgrade their training to the Canadian context, several universities, colleges and not-for-profit organizations in Canada have developed “bridging programs.” These are designed specifically for foreign-trained professionals to bridge or adapt their skills from their country of origin to Canada, for both licensed and unlicensed professions.

Such programs enable immigrants to transition more quickly into the Canadian labour market by providing training that addresses specific needs and facilitates the recognition of foreign credentials. Without such programs, many immigrants would have to face complete reschooling, which is costly and time-consuming.

Such programs may provide you with the following.

1. An assessment of your education and skills

2. Hands-on workplace experience

3. Skills training or upgrading

4. Preparation for a certification examination

5. Specialized language training for your industry

Generally, you have to pay a fee for these programs, as they are not part of the free basic ESL and job search programs available through immigrant settlement agencies.

Finding a bridging program

To find a bridging program, you’ll have to do a little digging online and through word of mouth. There is not one centralized location that lists all bridging programs in Canada.

If you’re in Ontario, the Ontario government immigration website is a good place to start (see

In other parts of the country, the list of bridging programs may not be as well organized, and you might have to search individual colleges and universities to see what they have to offer.