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Financing Your Professional Accreditation in Canada

Monday | January 22, 2024 | by Windmill Microlending

A smiling woman works at a laptop.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of World Education Services (WES). WES does not offer financial advice and recommends that you conduct your own research and consult with a financial professional before making any final decisions related to your financial management.   

Canada welcomes an estimated 500,000 immigrants each year. Many arrive highly educated and experienced in their field only to discover that their credentials are not recognized in Canada. This leads to internationally trained healthcare professionals, engineers, lawyers and other workers who come to the country with professional experience taking jobs unrelated to their profession to meet their basic needs.  

The cost of re-licensing can be a barrier for newcomers. However, there are ways to finance your professional accreditation. One way is to explore smaller loans issued to individuals who may not qualify for bank loans. Keep reading to learn the benefits of these loans and how they can help to finance your accreditation in Canada.  

Affordable loans for newcomers to Canada

Securing a smaller loan can provide additional benefits beyond financial relief. These types of loans can be a tool to help you further settle into your new home.  

  • Build Canadian credit history: When you make your loan payments on time, you will be able to establish credit history in Canada
  • Provide independence: Smaller loans are more affordable which helps you achieve economic prosperity
  • Learn financial management: Taking a loan can help you become financially responsible. Following a budget to avoid missing payments or defaulting on your loan can positively affect your credit standing.

What you can pay for with a smaller loan

Smaller loans can be used to cover costs and fees directly related to your professional accreditation. However, they can also help pay for other costs such as general living expenses. Here is a list of expenses that you can cover with this type of loan: 

  • Fees for licensing exams 
  • Credential evaluation  
  • Language courses 
  • Relocation costs for employment 
  • Travel expenses to take courses or exams not available in the area where you live 
  • Books, course materials, work and lab equipment 
  • Professional association fees 
  • General living expenses 
  • Other expenses related to continuing your career (for example, a computer for online coursework or childcare while attending class)  

Applying for a smaller loan 

Smaller loans can be an affordable option for internationally educated newcomers who want to continue their work in Canada. If you apply through a provider like Windmill Microlending, a non-profit organization, you may qualify for an affordable low-interest loan of up to $15,000. Learn more about eligibility requirements 

Required documents will vary depending on the loan provider. These are some key documents that you can expect to provide:

  • Copy of your immigration status document 
  • Government-issued photo identification 
  • Proof of address 
  • Credential evaluation or translated diplomas 
  • Evidence of financial situation, such as pay stubs 

You may need other documentation before you apply, such as proof of employment if the funds will be used for relocation or a breakdown of living costs if you intend to use a portion of the loan to finance living expenses. It is very important to confirm with the loan provider the purpose of your loan so you can make the application process as seamless as possible.  

How a Windmill loan helped Elda 

Elda, a skilled psychotherapist with years of experience back home in the Philippines, was unable to pursue her profession in Toronto unless she was re-licensed. Elda wanted to continue her career, but the cost of re-licensure was a barrier. With a young family to care for, she needed financial support. She wasn’t sure how she could pay her bills and also return to work she enjoyed.  

After participating in a bridging program, Elda learned she could apply for an affordable loan from Windmill Microlending to help cover the costs of getting re-licensed and her living expenses. Once her loan application was approved, Elda felt a huge burden lift from her shoulders. “Financial security had a huge impact on my mental health,” she recalls. Today, Elda works as a licensed psychotherapist helping others optimize their mental health.

Related Reading

Navigating the Professional Occupational Licensing Process in Canada
How Settlement Agencies in Canada Can Benefit Newcomers

Windmill Microlending is Canada’s only national charity providing affordable loans to help skilled immigrants and refugees pay for accreditation, training and career development. Founded in 2005, Windmill Microlending has delivered more than 10,000 loans to new Canadians, helping them transform their potential into prosperity. Windmill Microlending is funded by the private and public sectors.