Credentialling Guide

Credentialling Application Process Guide (DOWNLOAD)

Practising Physiotherapy in Canada

There are over 20,000 physiotherapists registered in Canada, working in both public and private settings.  Physiotherapists are primary healthcare providers who practice independently as part of a core healthcare team, providing patients with direct access to physiotherapy treatment without the necessity of a referral from another healthcare provider.

Physiotherapy is a regulated profession in Canada, meaning that it is illegal to use the titles of physiotherapist, physical therapist, or physiothérapeute or use any short form (abbreviations) of these titles (such as PT or pht) without a license from the proper provincial or territorial organization.

Physiotherapy licences are given out by organizations that are dedicated to ensuring the safety of physiotherapy in their respective provinces or territories. Collectively, these organizations are known as regulators, and are often referred to as Colleges though they are different from places of learning. As every provincial regulator is unique in some way, you should be sure to contact the appropriate one to make sure that you have the most up-to-date information on applying for a physiotherapist licence.

The Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (CAPR) assesses credentials and administers the Physiotherapy Competency Examination (PCE) on behalf of the provincial and territorial regulators [1]. Though the regulators decide who does or does not receive a license, they depend on CAPR for information and evaluating applicants.

If you are an internationally-educated applicant seeking a Canadian physiotherapy licence, you must pass through two stages of qualification: credentialling and the Physiotherapy Competency Exam (PCE). If you are a Canadian-educated physiotherapist, you are eligible to attempt the PCE upon graduation from a Canadian physiotherapy program. If you are an internationally-educated applicant, credentialling must be completed prior to examination as this will determine if your education is substantially different from that of a Canadian-educated physiotherapist. The PCE has both a written and clinical component that assesses your knowledge and practical physiotherapy skills.

Remember, credentialling can begin even before you arrive in Canada, so you can start today!

[1] With the exception of Québec, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.

The Licensing and Registration Process

Flowchart CAPR in English
Flowchart CAPR in English

Before Applying

It is important to decide where you will live and work in Canada before applying for credentialling, because each physiotherapy regulator has specific rules and regulations.

The mandatory requirements in all provinces and the Yukon, with the exception of Québec are:

  • successful completion of the credentialling process, including proof of language proficiency and,
  • completion of the Physiotherapy Competency Examination.

Additional requirements may include:

  • a jurisprudence exam that tests your knowledge of laws and rules relating to the practice of physiotherapy
  • evidence of being of good character in jurisdictions in which you have already worked.

Remember: It is important to contact the individual provincial or territorial regulator prior to beginning credentialling to find out about any additional requirements for practising in your location of choice.

Steps During the Credentialling Process

To determine whether or not your physiotherapy education is similar (not substantially different) to what is available in Canada, CAPR uses five criteria. For greater detail on each criterion, please refer to Policy 2.1 – Credentialling Standards.

Criterion 1: Verification of Identity through authentic and valid documentation (see also Policy 2.3 – Fraudulent /Irregular Documents and Cheating)

Criterion 2: Completion of a university level, entry-to-practice degree in physiotherapy

Criterion 3: Successful completion of a minimum of 1025 hours of supervised clinical practice (see also Policy 2.10 – Supervised Clinical Practice Hours)

Criterion 4: Fluency in either English or French (see also Policy 2.2 – Language Proficiency Policy)

Criterion 5: Knowledge of the practice of physiotherapy within the Canadian healthcare system

How to Send Your Application and Documents

To process your application we will need all the documents listed below. Some of them you will provide, the other documents must be provided by your educational institution, and in some cases by a language testing agency. If the documents are in a language other than French or English, certified translations must be provided. With the exception of translations, only notarized copies of original documents will be accepted. CAPR makes no guarantees regarding the return of original documents if sent. (See related policies Notarized Copies; Translated Documents; and Incomplete Applications). If you are educated in Bangladesh, China, Cuba, Egypt, India, Pakistan, The Philippines or Ukraine, you will be required to arrange for documentation to be submitted to us from institutions other than your educational institution. Please refer to Appendix 1 for more information.

Documents You Must Send to CAPR

All documents must be submitted together before your application will be processed.

  1. Application Form
    The Application Form (Form A) must be complete and the waiver must be signed and dated
  2. Fee
    Credentialling fees are subject to change
    . Please refer to the current credentialling fees. To apply for credentialling, please refer to the current Application Form (Form A). The fee is payable to “Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators” by money order, cashier’s cheque, international bank draft or credit card. Debit cards, debit credit cards and personal cheques are not accepted. If for any reason our bank returns your payment to us (e.g. credit card declines, account overdraft) an additional $75 charge applies. We must receive all fees before processing your application
  3. Identity documents
    • Form C – Declaration of Identity Form (notarized)
    • Second identical photograph (identical to the photograph used on Form C)
    • Copy of Supporting Identification Document
    Please refer to Form C – Declaration of Identity Form for details and instructions about how to complete and submit these documents, and the types of identity documents we can accept from you.
  4. Proof of legal name change
    You need to send this only if you have changed your legal name. If you have changed your name, you must send us a notarized copy of the legal document showing your name change (e.g. a marriage certificate)
  5. Notarized Copy of Diploma, Degree, or Certificate
    We need a notarized copy of your university-level, entry-to-practice physiotherapy education.
  6. Application Checklist
    This checklist (Form B) indicates documents required to support your application.

Documents Your Physiotherapy School Must Send to CAPR

The following documents must be submitted from your physiotherapy school/university or other noted organization. Refer to Appendix 1 for more information on country-specific requirements.

  1. Document Request Form
    You must send the Document Request Form (Form D) to the school where you obtained your entry-to-practice, university level (or equivalent) physiotherapy education. This form lists all the documents your school must send to us and includes instructions for your school on providing them. We will keep all school documents for two years while waiting for the rest of your application. If your application is not received within two years, we will destroy the school documents. We will not accept the form or the documents listed on the form if we receive them from anyone other than your physiotherapy school, unless otherwised noted in Appendix 1.
  2. Official Transcript
    You must have your official transcript (also called mark sheets, academic records or diploma supplement) sent to us directly from the issuing institution where you gained your physiotherapy credential, unless otherwise noted in Appendix 1. You may need to contact the records department or registrar at your university to request this document.
  3. Graduation Verification
    If your university has issued you a diploma or degree, then you must submit a notarized copy with your application. If you are applying for credentialling after you have completed all your degree requirements but before your graduation ceremony occurs, you should send the Graduation Verification Form to your school along with the Document Request Form. This will allow your school to confirm that you have completed the program. CAPR will also accept an official letter from the applicant’s school detailing the applicant’s graduation status in lieu of the Graduation Verification Form, as long as the letter supplies all the information required by the form. (See also Policy 2.7 Graduation Verification Policy)
  4. Supporting Documentation Regarding Supervised Clinical Practice Hours (e.g. placement hours or clinical practicum)
    The school must send us documentation supporting the total number of supervised clinical practice hours completed during the student’s program. This information must include the number of hours completed in musculoskeletal, neurological and cardiorespiratory conditions as well as the locations of practice. For students from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and The Philippines, the school must submit an attested copy of the clock hours document (also known as contact hours, or classroom theory/lab hours). The clock hours document must indicate the number of hours completed in supervised clinical practice.

Documents Other Institutions Must Send to CAPR

The language testing agency must send your official language proficiency score report to our office. Contact the language test centre to find out how you can arrange for your official language proficiency score report to be submitted to our office. We will not accept the language test score sheet from anyone other than the issuing institution. While we may start your assessment before we have received your language test score (where required), we cannot complete the assessment without this information. We strongly advise that you arrange to have your language test scores submitted at the same time that you arrange to have your school documents submitted. Without the language test information, we cannot complete your assessment; your assessment will be considered incomplete, which will delay your final Credentialling assessment results.

Incomplete Applications

If you submit an incomplete application package, it will be returned unevaluated to you. Please ensure that you have enclosed all necessary documents in your application package, as listed on Form B – Application Checklist, before you submit your application package to CAPR. (See also Policy 2.6 – Incomplete Applications)

Notarized Copies

CAPR does NOT accept original documents in credentialling application packages. If you send original documents, CAPR makes no guarantees of the safe return or storage of those documents, and we will consider your application incomplete. All noted documents sent to us must be notarized copies (with the exception of certified translations). (See also Policy 2.4 – Notarized Copies)

Translated Documents

If you submit documents to CAPR in a language other than English or French, these documents must be sent with a translation. CAPR will only accept translations performed by a certified or ‘official’ translator. (See also Policy 2.5 – Translated Documents) To search for certified translation organizations, click here.

There are three ways that translated documents can be submitted to CAPR:

Procedures

Method 1

You, or your representatives, can have the documents that would normally be acceptable to be received from the applicant (e.g. Degree, identity documents) translated by a certified translator and then sent to us as part of your application package:

  1. Take the original documents in the native/original language to a Notary Public
  2. Ask the Notary Public to make copies of your native/original language documents and notarize the copies
  3. Send these notarized documents to a certified translator
  4. Ask the translator to translate the documents word for word. The certified translator must attach the notarized documents in the original language to the certified translation
  5. Send the translated documents you received from the certified translator along with the notarized copies of the original language documents to us. We need the original translation. We will not accept a copy of the translated document even if you have the copy notarized.

Method 2

A university can forward documents translated by that university’s official translator, along with the documents in the original language, directly to CAPR:

  1. You can request that the school sends documents to CAPR
  2. CAPR will accept the documents and their translations directly from the school, as translated by the school’s officially appointed translator.

Method 3

A university can forward un-translated documents, which will then be forwarded to you to be translated by a certified translator and then sent directly to CAPR:

  1. Your school can send un-translated documents to CAPR
  2. CAPR marked photocopies of the un-translated documents are sent to you
  3. You must take the marked photocopies to a certified translator
  4. The certified translator sends the translation directly to CAPR, along with the marked photocopies.

CAPR will not accept notarized copies of translations. All translations received by CAPR must be originals.

Fraudulent or Irregular Documents or Cheating

All documents that you or your representatives submit to CAPR will be checked to ensure that they are valid. If your application contains fraudulent documents or evidence of cheating, your application will be closed, your application fee will not be refunded and we will notify partner organizations affected. For further information, see Policy 2.3 – Fraudulent/Irregular Documents and Cheating.

Acknowledgement and Status of Application

Once we have processed your application and documents, we will assign you a Personal Identification Number (PIN) and email it to you. Once you receive your PIN you can check the status of your application on our website. To check the current status of your application on our website, please refer to the Credentialling Applicants Status Update.

Acknowledgement of Documents

The Client Services Team will check all the documents received for your assessment. If the documents are not in the format we need, we will send you a document checklist with instructions on how to submit your documents correctly. Once all documents have been received in the proper format, your file will be considered ‘Inventory Complete’. At this point we will begin your assessment and indicate this on our website.

Communication with Applicants

If you want to know that we have received your application and documents, you can:

  • send them by registered mail or use a courier service that gives you confirmation, or
  • contact our Receptionist/Intake Assistant by telephone or email.

If you have any questions about the application you have submitted or will submit, please contact the CAPR Client Services Team by email at email@alliancept.org or by phone at 416.234.8800.

After your application is received and accepted in our office, and your credentialling payment has been processed, your application along with any other documents we received in your name will be reviewed. We will then send you an update by regular mail, along with an email confirmation of receipt of your application with your Personal Identification Number (PIN) once the application is reviewed. The update will detail the documents we have received, and advising you of any documents or corrections we still require before your assessment can begin. When we receive additional documentation for your file, we will process it, and send you another update by regular mail.

If you have any questions about your assessment after you have received your assessment results, you can contact your Credentialling Officer. You will be assigned a Credentialling Officer once your assessment results are released to you.

Assessment Process

When we have received all the required documents and your file is ready for assessment, we may work with credential assessment agencies to evaluate your file.

During this process, we will determine if we have a precedent case that we can use to assess your education and qualifications. A precedent case means we have completed a credential review of an applicant from the same physiotherapy program as you, who graduated in the same year as you did, with a similar course of study, using the same credentialling standards. If we have a precedent case, we will assess your file using the precedent file. If we determine that we do not have a precedent case, we will first send your file to one of the credential assessment agencies we work with to determine the level and focus of your education and the recognition status of the institution.

If you have applied for immigration to Canada as of May 2013 as the principal applicant in the Federal Skilled Worker Program, you may be able to complete part of our credentialling process with your immigration assessment. This may reduce your overall credentialling time. For more information, please see the Government of Canada website: http://www.cic.gc.ca.

A Credentialling Officer will assess the rest of your file for valid identification and documentation, supervised clinical practice hours, language proficiency, and evidence of knowledge of physiotherapy practice in the Canadian healthcare context.

Outcomes of the Credentialling Process

The possible assessment results from the credentialling process include:

  • Education is not substantially different from Canadian education: You would be eligible for the Physiotherapy Competency Examination (PCE). You must complete your first attempt at the written component of the PCE before your eligibility expires, as indicated on your letter. You will have two years from the date of your written confirmation of eligibility letter to attempt the PCE.
  • Minor gaps in academic credentials: If minor gaps are found in your assessment, you will be given an opportunity to provide information about your identified gaps. We will give you a deadline to arrange for this information to be sent to our office. Minor gaps include but are not limited to:
    • you do not meet the required hours of supervised clinical practice
    • you have not submitted a language test
    • your identity documents and/or other details from your school documents require further clarification
    • you need to complete the Knowledge of Physiotherapy Practice within the Canadian Healthcare System requirement
    • you are a recent graduate and we have not yet received your final notarized degree certificate.
  • Major gaps in academic credentials: You will be informed that your credentials and qualifications are substantially different, you are not eligible to apply for the PCE. Major gaps are:
    • your physiotherapy education is not at university level or
    • your physiotherapy education is not at entry-to-practice level or
    • your education is not in physiotherapy or
    • your completed less than 820 hours of university-level supervised clinical practice as part of your formal physiotherapy education.

If you disagree with the outcome of your assessment, you may apply to have an Administrative Reconsideration. For more information, please contact your Credentialling Officer.

Knowledge of the Practice of Physiotherapy within the Canadian Healthcare System

If you are educated outside of Canada, you must complete a course on the Knowledge of the Practice of Physiotherapy within the Canadian Healthcare System. This course must include a formal method of evaluation.

Online and in-class course options are available from multiple Canadian universities and can be started during the credentialling process. We will send you information on available course options after you apply for credentialling.

Provisional Eligibility to Take the Exam

You may be eligible to apply for the next available administration of the Written Component of the Physiotherapy Competency Exam and/or pre-register for the next Clinical Component if you have successfully completed all of the credentialling requirements except “Knowledge of the Practice of Physiotherapy within the Canadian Healthcare System” and we have received confirmation that you are enrolled in a course to fulfill this requirement. You can contact your Credentialling Officer for more information once your results are released.

Steps after the Credentialling Process

Physiotherapy Competency Examination

All provincial and territorial regulators (except Québec[1]) require applicants to take the Physiotherapy Competency Examination (PCE) to become a licensed physiotherapist in Canada. CAPR administers the PCE. If we decide that your education and qualifications are not substantially different from that of a Canadian-educated physiotherapist, you will be eligible to take the PCE.

We will send a copy of your Successful Results letter, a copy of your Declaration of Identity Form, and your scanned photograph to the Exam department. You can apply for the next available administration of the examination once you receive your Successful Results letter or a Provisional Eligibility letter (see Provisional Eligibility to Take the Exam, above).

For more information about the exam, visit our website and download the current PCE Exam Policies and the Exam Registration Guide.

You have two years from your successful results letter to address any outstanding issues – such as completing coursework regarding knowledge of the practice of physiotherapy within the Canadian healthcare system – and attempt the written component of the PCE for the first time.

Failure to address any outstanding issues and make your first attempt of the written exam within the two-year eligibility period will result in your file being closed. To re-open your file, you will need to apply for a Re-opened File Review. There is a fee for this, and due to changing standards, there is no guarantee that you will continue to be eligible. (see Policy 2.9 – Expiration of Credentialling Results).

[1] Québec has similar requirements based on Québec-specific provincial legislation.

Provisional Licensing

Some regulators may be able to grant you a temporary, restricted or supervised licence to practise physiotherapy between the time of your successful completion of the credentialling process and the completion of the clinical portion of the exam. Please contact your local regulator for details.

If you want us to provide a regulator with verification that you have completed credentialling and are eligible to take the exam, please complete and send the Verification Request Form to CAPR. We will send verification within ten business days of receiving the form.

Licensing or Registration by Your Provincial or Territorial Regulator

Once you have passed both parts of the PCE and have fulfilled all of the requirements of the regulator in the province or territory in which you want to practise, you can apply to that regulator to become a fully licensed or registered physiotherapist.

Refunds

An application is valid for for one year from the date it is received by CAPR. If either you or your educational institution do not send us the required documents within one year, we will close your file and you will lose your fees. If you still wish to proceed with credentialling you may be required to submit a new application and pay the full current credentialling fee.

If you send CAPR more money than is required, CAPR will return the remainder to you after all credentialling fees have been deducted. All other fees are non-refundable. However, you may send us a written request for a partial refund if you have to withdraw or cancel your application due to extenuating circumstances.

Privacy Policy

CAPR is committed to collecting, using and disclosing the personal information of the credentialling applicants responsibly and only to the extent necessary to provide effective services. We are also committed to adhering to the principles of the Personal Information and Protection of Electronic Documents Act, 2000 (PIPEDA), and to letting you know what we do with your information. For more information, please see the Privacy Policy posted on our website.