Moving to a new country can be daunting, and trying to get your S-LP license to practice can be an exercise in frustration. I have had a few people ask me about moving to Canada to practice, in the last month or so. I thought that I might write about being an SLP moving to Canada.
The first thing to know is to be patient. It will take time. Many people I know who have moved say, it can take a year or more. That’s even if your country has a reciprocal agreement. You will need to jump through hoops with Canada’s national S-LP and audiology association, Speech and Audiology Canada (SAC-OAC). And you will need to jump through more hoops at the provincial level. Here is the best advice I can give.
Do Basic Research about Where in Canada You Want to Live
Research the area you want/plan to live. There is higher and lower demands for S-LP services in different parts of Canada. Also look at the pay and the cost of living. It can be very expensive to live here, particularly in the more popular areas to live (e.g. most of Ontario and British Columbia). Wages, although typically higher in Canada than the US, can vary widely depending on where you live and the types of jobs you take.
1. Contact Speech and Audiology Canada (SAC-OAC).
SAC has a bountiful of information on the process of being able to work in Canada (Click here). The process will be different depending on the country. SAC has reciprocal agreements with the national organizations in the United States, Ireland, New Zealand, Great Britain, and Australia. Depending on which of these countries you are coming from, the requirements may be different. If you are coming from a country not listed above, there is also information on the website on the steps you may need to go through. You may be required to take some additional courses, disphagia is a common one.
Please note that SAC is changing up their requirements for certification, please check the website for requirements. Also, note that joining SAC is voluntary but many employers require SAC certification and some provinces may require it.
2. Contact the Province’s Regulatory Body
To practice in a particular province, you must be licensed in that province. Go here to find the different licensing bodies. If the province you want to move to is not on the list, then SAC membership may be required to practice in those provinces. Each province has its own rules and steps to go through to practice. I highly recommend that you contact the licensing bodies to get accurate information. They can be very strict. Be persistent. Sometimes phoning them is more effective than emailing them.
If you are an international S-LP wanting to work in Canada, Canada can be a wonderful place to practice. Be patient with the application process and good luck!