Lisbon Recognition Convention

The Lisbon Recognition Convention (LRC) is an international agreement involving Europe, the United States and Canada. It has been ratified by Canada earlier this year, so it reflects a commitment by the federal government. However, since it is the provincial (and territorial) governments that oversee the regulation of most professions in Canada and since the LRC does not, by itself, amend any statutes, it does not have any immediate direct impact on regulators. However, it will undoubtedly influence government expectations going forward, particularly for provinces that have a Fairness Commissioner.

The LRC deals with the recognition of academic credentials from other countries, e.g., when someone is applying to a university and wants to have past study considered or when someone is applying to a regulator for registration. The LRC urges timely assessment of credentials of internationally trained individuals, recognition of credentials unless there is a substantive difference, and accessible dissemination of information to those seeking recognition of credentials.

One interesting aspect of the LRC is that it would place the onus on the organization reviewing the credential to say if there is a substantial difference (rather than the individual having to say there is not). It is unlikely that the LRC will change established case law placing the onus on applicants to demonstrate that they meet registration requirements, at least in the short term. Beyond that, regulators may be expected by the Fairness Commissioner, the government and perhaps even the courts to respect the spirit of the LRC.

It is unlikely that the LRC will affect the Canadian Free Trade Agreement as the CFTA focusses on recognition of certified practitioners moving within Canada. The LRC applies primarily to the original Canadian jurisdiction that first assesses the qualifications of the practitioner. When and if the practitioner moves to another Canadian jurisdiction, the receiving jurisdiction will still accept that assessment without further evaluation in most cases.

For more information see the website of the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials:

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