Special thanks to Niamh Cushen and Tina O’Connor in Vancouver for preparing this article to assist others find physiotherapy jobs in Canada.
First things first, when deciding to come to Canada as an internationally educated physiotherapist you will need to apply for credentialing. This involves your qualifications being assessed and compared to those of a Canadian graduate. To do this you need to apply to the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy regulators, based in Toronto.
You can find an overview of the registration and credentialing processes, along with all the documents required, on their website.
The process can take a while. For example, right now they state on their website that it can take from 22 to 49 weeks but for us it took over a year from posting it in Ireland to being eligible to apply for the exams.
As part of the credentialing process it is highly likely that you may be required to do an orientation course on the Canadian healthcare system. We did ours through the University of Toronto but there are other options available. Although we did this when we were told we had to, it could be worth exploring the option of doing it earlier as it is only offered three times per year and delays the process somewhat. Obviously you should research the likelihood of you having to do it first, but it is something worth being aware of.
When your credentialing is through you are eligible to apply for the written and practical components of the PCE (Physiotherapy Competency Exam). The written exam is sat six times per year and the clinical component is sat twice per year. More information can be found on the Alliance website.
Once you are registered for the next available sittings of both the written and clinical components of the PCE you can then be eligible to apply for work. If you can get an employer who is willing to supervise you, you can then apply to the College of Physical Therapists of BC for interim registration. More information is available here: