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 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

The programs are designed to “bridge” a newcomer’s international training, education and experience with what is needed to practice in Ontario. Programs are offered in the following fields:

  • Biotechnology
  • Business
  • Employment Counselling
  • Environmental
  • Financial Services
  • Health Care
  • Human Resources
  • Information Technology
  • Project Management
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Supply Chain / Logistics

Training programs are run by not-for-profit organizations including:

  • Universities and publicly-funded colleges;
  • Occupational regulatory bodies;
  • Community agencies; and
  • Employer organizations.

Bridging programs 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.

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.

While our Programs & Events database should be checked for up-to-date information, including with respect to new and discontinued programs, as of October, 2018, following bridging programs were included:

Sector Program Provider(s)
Accounting and finance Bridging Programs for Internationally Trained Individuals – Finance/Accounting Woodgreen Community Services
Banking & finance Financial Services Connections ACCES Employment
Conservation, Environmental science, Engineering Professional Access into Employment (PAIE) Toronto and Region Conservation Authority
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, 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
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
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
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
Logistics, Supply chain management, Purchasing Supply Chain Awareness and Employment Bridging Program Humber College
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
Supply chain management Supply Chain Connections ACCES Employment, OTEC (Ontario Tourism Education Corporation), Sheridan College

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. At the time of writing this description in October, 2018, 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 2018-2019 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 $10,000 on very favourable terms to cover licensing or training expenses for newcomer tradespeople, skilled workers and professionals. See our post, Loans for newcomers to cover licensing and training. Windmill Microlending and ACCESS Community Capital Fund are two non-profit organizations making such loans. Windmill Microlending has even more favourable loan provisions for refugee newcomers.

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.