Working in Canada

Are you a physiotherapist or physiotherapist assistant educated outside Canada and now looking to practise here?

This information will help you get started.

Physiotherapy Regulation in Canada

In Canada, physiotherapy is a regulated profession. To work as a physiotherapist, you must register with the regulatory body in the province or territory where you work. It is illegal to practise if you are not licensed or registered. Only registered physiotherapists are eligible to use the terms “physiotherapist”, “physical therapist” and the professional designation “PT”.

The Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (the Alliance) evaluates educational credentials and administers exams for competency on behalf of most of the provincial and territorial regulators. Each provincial and territorial regulator may also have additional requirements before you can practise. The Alliance provides information to the regulators on credentials and qualifications, and the regulators decide who can and who cannot receive a licence to practise.

Becoming a registered physiotherapist in Canada

There are a number of steps to becoming a registered physiotherapist in Canada:

  1. You need to decide where you want to work. Then, check the requirements you need to meet to work there by contacting the regulator.
  2. For most regulators, you must complete The Alliance’s Educational Credentials and Qualifications Assessment. You can begin this before you come to Canada.
    1. This assessment ensures that your education and qualifications are similar to the education and qualifications of a Canadian-educated physiotherapist.
    2. You will need to prove your language skills or take a language test
    3. You must pay fees for the assessment.

For the province of Quebec, you must apply to have your credentials assessed by l’Ordre professionnel de la physiothérapie du Québec (in French only).

  1. For most regulators, you must pass the Physiotherapy Competency Examination (PCE) administered by The Alliance.
    1. The PCE has two parts: a written component and a clinical component. You must pass the written component before you can take the clinical component.
    2. You must pay fees to take the examinations.

For the province of Quebec, you may have to take courses or meet other requirements.

  1. Depending on the results of your credentialing process, you may be required to complete a bridging program at a recognized Canadian school
  2. You must apply to the regulator for a licence or registration. Requirements differ for each province and territory.
    1. In some provinces or territories, you can apply for a temporary licence or registration after you register for the PCE or after you successfully complete the written component of the PCE.

Help with the process

Self-Assessment Readiness Tool (SART©)

To help internationally educated physiotherapists and physiotherapist assistants understand the Canadian profession, use this tool to learn about the knowledge and skills you will need to work in Canada.

Provincial and Territorial Regulators

Internationally Educated Physiotherapy Bridging Programs

Those physiotherapists whose training is not assessed as ‘substantially equivalent’ to Canadian programs may be eligible to enroll in a Bridging program.

Alberta Internationally Educated Physiotherapists Bridging Program (AIEPB)
University of Alberta

The University of Alberta Department of Physical Therapy and Physiotherapy Alberta are sponsoring partners of the Alberta Internationally Educated Physiotherapists Bridging (AIEPB) Program. The AIEPB Program has been developed and is currently being delivered with grant funding from Health Canada that is administered by Alberta Health.

Academic course work designed purposely for Internationally Educated Physiotherapists (IEPTs) supports the development of the additional knowledge, skills and clinical reasoning required to meet Canadian entry-to-practice standards.  Cultural and workplace orientation is provided through mentorship and clinical placement to help integration into the workplace.

Ontario Internationally Educated Physical Therapy Bridging (OIEPB) Program
University of Toronto

The Bridging Program is designed to provide educational opportunities for physical therapists educated outside of Canada, who already possess specified qualifications, to develop the additional knowledge, skills and clinical reasoning required to meet Canadian entry-to-practice standards. The Bridging Program provides cultural and workplace orientation to facilitate success in the workplace. The University of Toronto, Department of Physical Therapy and the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration are in partnership to offer internationally trained physiotherapists the opportunity to bridge their qualifications to the Canadian qualifications.

Physiotherapy Equivalency Program
McGill University

The Physiotherapy Equivalency Program is offered by the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy (SPOT), and is designed for internationally trained physiotherapists (ITPTs) who are seeking to obtain a physiotherapy license in Quebec. This is an individualized study program tailored to address each individual needs according to the recommendations issued by the Board of Directors of L’Ordre professionnel de la physiothérapie du Québec. The Program provides the ITPT students with complementary knowledge and academic and clinical skills specific to the practice of Physical Therapy in Quebec and Canada, thus facilitating their integration into the Quebec/Canadian healthcare workplace. Watch the video...

Internationally Educated Physiotherapists Exam Preparation (IEPEP)
University of British Columbia

The Internationally Educated Physiotherapists Exam Preparation (IEPEP) Program is a self-directed program that assists Internationally Educated Physiotherapists (IEPs) in their preparation to sit the national Physiotherapy Competency Exam (PCE) and to enter into clinical physiotherapy practice in British Columbia. In addition, the IEPEP Program is open to Canadian-trained Physiotherapists who may wish to refresh their skills or competencies, or who have been out of practice and are required to sit the PCE for re-entry into practice. The IEPEP program encompasses both theoretical and practical components, and includes practice examinations and workshops which focus on knowledge, clinical skills, and clinical reasoning. 

Government of Canada

The Canadian government also publishes information for health professionals wishing to work in Canada.