Ontario bridging programs for the training of internationally-trained professionals

Bridging programs are for all immigrant newcomers (and not just refugees) who already have a combination of international post-secondary education and work experience, as well as a high level of English proficiency.

As described on an Ontario government website, bridge training programs in Ontario are designed to offer “fast access to training and support” so that an internationally-trained, professional newcomer can get a licence or certificate and find employment. The newcomer must usually have a post-secondary certificate or degree from outside Canada and have international work experience in a profession or trade. The minimum CLB English language requirement varies between CLB 5 and CLB 8.

Bridging Program

These programs are designed to “bridge” a newcomer’s international training, education and experience with what is needed to practice in Ontario. They offer:

  • an assessment of education and skills;
  • clinical or job placements to help get Canadian workplace experience;
  • skills or academic training;
  • licence or certification exam preparation;
  • language training related to the profession or trade; and
  • learning plans to see if more training is needed.

Sometimes, the term “bridging” is used to describe a program for newcomers that is not officially recognized on the Government of Ontario website. As an example, Woodgreen Community Services in Toronto offers “bridging programs” in office administration, IT, finance & accounting, and health care, which require English language proficiency of only CLB 5. Programs such as these, as well as those offered in construction by Skills for Change (which are listed on the government website), do not require post-secondary education.

Programs offered within the GTA may be in the following fields:

  • Accounting & finance
  • Architecture
  • Biotechnology
  • Business
  • Conservation & environmental science
  • Construction (incl. electrician, plumbing. millwright, and HVAC)
  • Cybersecurity
  • Employment Counselling
  • Engineering
  • Financial Services
  • Health Care
  • Human Resources
  • Information Technology
  • Laboratory sciences
  • Media & communications
  • Medicine
  • Mental health
  • Nursing
  • Office administration
  • Pharmacy
  • Physical therapy
  • Project Management
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Social work
  • Supply Chain management & logistics.

Appended at the end of this post, below, is a list of bridging programs currently in our database. The number of programs included in this list will vary with the time of year. Details and dates are often not available 12 months in advance. Programs which have just recently started, for example in January or September, are dropped from the list once they have started in the current semester, and we may not yet be able to post the next occurrences of the same programs, until some time after. As of October, 2019, for example, the following bridging programs were included:

Sector Program Provider(s)
Accounting and finance Bridging Programs for Internationally Trained Individuals – Finance/Accounting Woodgreen Community Services
Accounting and Finance Bridging Program for Internationally Trained Accounting Professionals CPAC, Ryerson University, Seneca College
Accounting and Finance The Professional Excellence in Financial Services (EFS) Bridging Program Seneca College
Architecture IPLAN Information Online JVS Toronto, Ryerson University
Architecture IPLAN Practice JVS Toronto, Ryerson University
Architecture IPLAN Employment JVS Toronto, Ryerson University
Banking & finance Financial Services Connections ACCES Employment
Business Bridging Program for IEPs – Business York University
Business Workplace Communications in Canada (WCC) Program Ryerson University
Business Business Edge for Internationally Educated Professionals University of Toronto
Conservation, Environmental science Professional Access into Employment (PAIE) Toronto and Region Conservation Authority
Conservation, Environmental science Green Economy Bridging Program Ryerson University
Conservation, Environmental science Building Environmental Systems (BES™) Bridging Program Seneca College
Construction, Electrician Trades Win Support Bridging Program – Electricians (construction maintenance and industrial) Humber College, Skills for Change
Construction, Engineering Engineering Skills Enhancement Humber College
Construction, HVAC Trades Win Support Bridging Program – HVAC Humber College, Skills for Change
Construction, Millwrights Trades Win Support Bridging Program – Millwrights Humber College, Skills for Change
Construction, Plumbing Trades Win Support Bridging Program – Plumbing Humber College, Skills for Change
Construction, Welding Trades Win Support Bridging Program – Welding Humber College, Skills for Change
Engineering Electrical Engineering Connections ACCES Employment, Humber College
Engineering Engineering Connections ACCES Employment, Humber College, Seneca College
Engineering Internationally-Educated Engineers Qualification Bridging (IEEQB)- ELT Ryerson University
Engineering Bridging Programs for International Engineering Graduates (IEGs) Ontario Society for Professional Engineers
Engineering Licensing International Engineers into the Profession University of Toronto
Health care Healthcare Connections ACCES Employment
Health care Bridge to Healthcare Alternatives Job Skills
Health care International Skills Applied for Geriatrics (ISAGE) Bridge Training Program JVS Toronto
Health care Bridge to Registration and Employment in Mental Health (BREM) Mennonite New Life Centre
Health care Bridging Programs for Internationally Trained Individuals – Health Care Woodgreen Community Services
Health care Internationally Trained Medical Doctors (ITMD) Bridging Program Ryerson University
Health care Healthcare program for internationally trained medical doctors University of Toronto
Health care Academic Pathway for Internationally Educated Nurses Graduate Certificate George Brown College
Health care Ontario Internationally Educated Nurses Ontario Internationally Educated Nurses Course Consortium
Health care International Midwifery Pre-registration Program (IMPP) Ryerson University
Health care Medical Laboratory Science The Michener Institute of Education at UHN
Health care Radiological Technology The Michener Institute of Education at UHN
Health care Ultrasound Scanning Evaluation The Michener Institute of Education at UHN
Health care Ontario Internationally Educated Physical Therapy Bridging (OIEPB) Program University of Toronto
Health care Bridge Training for Internationally Educated Pharmacy Graduates University of Toronto
Human resources Human Resources Connections ACCES Employment, Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA), OTEC (Ontario Tourism Education Corporation), Sheridan College
Human resources Bridge to HR Online Job Skills
Human resources Bridging Program for IEPs – HR York University
IT (Information technology) Information Technology Connections ACCES Employment, Ryerson University
IT (Information technology) Cybersecurity Connections ACCES Employment, Seneca College
IT (Information technology) IT Infrastructure Bridging Program Humber College
IT (Information technology) Bridging Programs for Internationally Trained Individuals – IT Woodgreen Community Services
IT (Information technology) Coach Connect Program Information and Communications Technology Council
IT (Information technology) Bridging Program for IEPs – IT York University
Logistics, Supply chain management, Purchasing Supply Chain Awareness and Employment Bridging Program Humber College
Media and communications Bridge to Employment in Media and Communications Mennonite New Life Centre
Office administration Bridging Programs for Internationally Trained Individuals – Office Administration Woodgreen Community Services
Sales and marketing Sales & Marketing Connections Bridging Program ACCES Employment, Humber College
Social work Internationally Educated Social Work Professionals (IESW) Bridging Program Ryerson University
Supply chain management Supply Chain Connections ACCES Employment, OTEC (Ontario Tourism Education Corporation), Sheridan College

The following bridging programs were also being offered within the Greater Toronto Area in French:

Sector Program Provider(s)
Business Bridge Training for Francophone Internationally-Educated Professionals in Business and Administration York University – Glendon Campus
Health care Programme de Formation Relais – Navigateurs en santé Collège Boréal
Sales and marketing Business Connections en Français ACCES Employment, Collège Boréal
Supply chain Programme de Formation Relais – Logistique et Chaîne d’Approvisionnement Collège Boréal

Visit the Programs & Events section of this website, where you can filter for “Bridging programs” under “type”, as well as by location, sector, and minimum CLB level of English proficiency.

Ontario Bridging Participant Assistance Program

The Ontario Bridging Participant Assistance Program (OBPAP) is a one-time bursary of up to $5,000 available to internationally trained professionals with financial need, to cover tuition, books and equipment costs. As of January, 2020, the government website was still only showing deadlines and approved programs for the 2017-2018 academic year, ending in March, 2018. However, the program has been continued for the 2019-2020 academic year.

To qualify for a bursary, the program must have been approved by the Ministry as being eligible. Not all programs described by providers as “bridging” are eligible for these bursaries. For the 2017-2018 academic year, schools in the GTA with eligible programs included:

  • Collège Boréal ( for Gestion de projects up to $2,105.)
  • George Brown College (for Enhanced Academic Pathway for Nurses Graduate Certificate Program up to $5,000.)
  • Humber College (for Mobile Systems Integration Bridging Program for Internationally Trained IT Professionals, up to $3,840.47; NET Solutions for Internationally Trained IT Professionals up to $3,648.10; Engineering Software Skills Enhancement Project, up to $3,715.75; Leadership Connections, up to $565; Sales and Marketing Connections, up to $565; WIN Support Program, up to $450; Supply Chain Awareness Program for Employment (SCAPE), up to $170.)
  • Ryerson University (for Middle Level Managers with Technical Background (MLM), up to $4,735; International Midwifery Pre-Registration Program (IMPP), up to $5,000; Workplace Communications in Canada (WCC) Program, up to $2,620; Engineering Connections: Project Management, up to $452; Information Technology Connections, up to $565; Green Economy, up to $300; Immigrant Professionals Leveraging Architectural Knowledge for New Opportunities (IPlan), up to $930.)
  • Seneca College (for Bridging to Green Careers, up to $3,125; Financial Services Connections, up to $565; Job Skills Human Resources Bridging Program, up to $912.87; Professional Excellence in Financial Services Bridging Program, up to $625.)
  • Sheridan College (for Supply Chain Connections, up to $565; HR Connections, up to $565.)

If a program has been declared eligible, the internationally trained professional must then apply to the financial aid office of the approved college or university. Applications for this financial assistance must be submitted before or during the bridge training or by March 31, whichever comes first.

The OBPAP website notes that “Priority is given to students with the greatest financial need, which is determined by your college or university’s student aid policies.”

Loans for newcomers to cover training expense

In addition to bursaries that may be available to pay the cost of eligible bridging programs, as described above, there are organizations that make loans of up to $15,000 on very favourable terms to cover licensing or training expenses for newcomer tradespeople, skilled workers and professionals. See our post, A guide to loans for newcomers to cover licensing and training. Windmill Microlending, ACCESS Community Capital Fund, and The Centre for Education & Training. are three non-profit organizations making such loans within the Greater Toronto Area. Windmill Microlending has even more favourable loan provisions for refugee newcomers and its loans are available to newcomers across Canada.

Other training programs for newcomers

See our more comprehensive post on Training programs in various occupations, for information on other training programs which may be of interest to newcomers.