Glossary of Licensing Terms

academic credentials
Documents that prove a person’s achievements at college or university (e.g. transcripts or diplomas) or competence/skills in a particular field (e.g. certificates)

accreditation n.
The process of evaluating an educational institution or a program of study or training to determine that it has met certain standards. An accreditation evaluation may include examination of the contents of an educational program, the time spent on various topics, the teaching methods used, the qualifications of the teaching staff and the facilities available.

appeal n.
The right of an unsuccessful applicant to challenge a decision of an occupational regulatory body in the licensing/certification process

apprentice n.
A person who is learning a trade by being employed in it for an agreed period, usually at lower wages than is normal for that trade

apprenticeship n.
A specified term of mostly on-the-job training during which the apprentice works under the supervision of a qualified tradesperson, and learns the knowledge, skills, tools and materials of the trade. Usually includes some classroom training provided by a community college or union. The requirements that apprentices must meet are set out in the Apprenticeship and Certification Act, 1998.

assess vb.
To judge the quality or worth of (e.g. a person’s qualifications, credentials)

assessment n.
The process of reviewing and evaluating academic credentials and other forms of qualification to determine whether an applicant has met entry requirements for educational or occupational purposes. The assessment measures an applicant against a pre-determined educational or occupational standard.

certificate n.
An official document that states that a certain fact or facts are true

certificate of qualification
Issued to persons who are certified as meeting the standards set by the industry for a particular trade. To work in a “compulsory trade” in Ontario, a Certificate of Qualification is necessary. A person does not need a Certificate of Qualification to work in a voluntary trade, though unions and employers may require individuals to have certificates as a condition of employment. Sometimes called a “licence.”

certify vb
Declare by certificate that a person is qualified or competent (e.g. a certified accountant)

college n.
A group of people with a common profession, purpose, duties or rights, e.g. the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons

community college
A post-secondary educational institution that offers training, especially in specific employment fields; graduates earn certificates or diplomas

competence/competency n.
Ability or skill; an area in which a person is competent

competent adj.
Adequately qualified or capable

credential n.
Documented evidence of competency (e.g. certificate, diploma or licence) based on completion of a recognized program of study or training or apprenticeship

degree n.
An academic rank (e.g. Bachelor, Master, Ph.D) granted by a university after examination or after completion of a program of study

diploma n.
A certificate awarded for passing an examination, completing a course of study, etc.

equivalency n.
Recognition that a program or course or certificate from one place of learning or institution is the same in content as a program or course or certificate from another place of learning or institution. The granting of equivalency usually means that the holder of the degree, diploma or certificate from outside Ontario is granted the same right of access to higher education or occupational certification as people educated or trained in Ontario.

evaluate vb.
Calculate or judge the value of something (e.g. a university course or degree)

faculty n.
A group of university departments concerned with a major division of knowledge (e.g. the faculty of arts)

independent accreditation service
A service that assesses credentials to determine whether they are likely to be considered equivalent to Canadian standards. The results are normally non-binding; that is, they do not take the place of accreditation by the regulatory body itself.

journeyperson n.
A person who has completed an apprenticeship program and passed the exam to obtain a Certificate of Qualification.

licence n.
A permit or formal document from an authority that allows the holder to do something (e.g. repair a motor vehicle)

mandatory n.
Compulsory, put into force by the law e.g. If someone wants to work as an automotive service technician, it is mandatory that that s/he be certified.

occupational regulatory body (ORB)
An organization that, by law, has the exclusive right to issue licences or certificates of registration for entry into a profession or trade. Occupational regulatory bodies set entry and training requirements and occupational standards for their profession, assess applicants’ qualifications and credentials, register qualified applicants, and discipline members. In the regulated health professions, these bodies are often called “Regulatory Colleges,” e.g. the Ontario College of Nurses.

prior learning assessment (PLA)
The process of identifying and measuring skills and knowledge for the purpose of recognizing and giving credit for learning that has been acquired through formal or informal education or training, work or other life experience. PLA allows the evaluation of past learning against established academic or occupational standards so that recognition may be granted by an academic institution, occupational regulatory body, or employer.

proficiency n.
Skill, talent, expertise, capability, ability, competence

protected title
Sometimes called a “Reserved Title.” An occupational title that may, by law, be used only by someone who is registered with the appropriate occupational regulatory body. Those who are not registered with the ORB may still practise the occupation, but may not use the protected title to describe themselves.

n.
A formal recognition that a person has attained a standard of proficiency in the skills and knowledge required to practise in a profession or trade. Often known as “certification” or “licensing”; in Ontario, registration is the term used by the regulated health professions. People who are registered are granted a Certificate of Registration.

regulate vb.
Control by law; enforce legal restrictions

regulated professions
Regulated professions are those for which the province has established self-governing bodies. The purpose of these self-governing bodies, also known as occupational regulatory bodies (ORBs), is to protect the public by setting standards of practice and competence. Regulated professions include occupations such as accountancy, engineering, law, medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, pharmacy and teaching. They are highly skilled occupations, requiring post-secondary education, additional training and, usually, a licence to practise.

In some professions, a person may not practise, or even use the title of, the profession if s/he is not registered with the regulatory body.

In other professions, people may do the work of the profession but may not use the professional title unless they have registered with the regulatory body.

regulated trades
Trades that are regulated under the Apprenticeship and Certification Act. All the regulated trades use apprenticeship as the primary training method. There are 60 regulated trades in Ontario. Some trades are compulsory, i.e. certification is mandatory. Others are voluntary, i.e. a certificate is not required to work in the field, although some unions and employers may require a certificate as a condition of employment.

standard n.
A level or degree of quality that is considered proper or acceptable

transcript n.
An official record of a student’s grades

university n.
An educational institution that provides instruction in many branches of advanced learning and grants degrees in various faculties


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