Toronto Star
January 15, 2009

Terrence Belford
Special to the Star

What is a degree from the Indian Institute of Technology worth in Canada? Is it on par with a similar sheepskin from the University of Waterloo or Queen’s? Or would a fairer comparison be with a two-year community college course?

For Rabiz Foda, 58, a project engineer for Hydro One Networks Inc. in Toronto, the answers to those riddles determined his future when he came to Canada 13 years ago.

Yes, he had an engineering degree from IIT and, yes, he had worked for years on mega-projects in Saudi Arabia. But would the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario, the profession’s licensing body, recognize a degree granted in a foreign country as being on par with a domestic one?

Like many of the estimated 100,000 new Canadians who flock to the Greater Toronto Area each year, Foda had to endure scrutiny of his foreign academic qualifications.

The challenge was twofold: first, finding an institution recognized as an authority to rule on that degree, and second, convincing an employer that most foreign degrees are just as good as those granted in Canada.

In Foda’s case, the twin challenges proved easy to resolve.

“I got standing fairly easily,” he says. “I had to write the exams on ethics and law, as all candidates do, but the PEO recognizes that there are first-rate universities around the world where degrees are every bit as good – and in some cases perhaps even better than – as those granted in Canada.”

While Foda found few roadblocks, many Canadian employers remain reluctant to accept foreign credentials on par with Canadian-earned ones, says Timothy Owen, director of World Education Services Canada. For a fee of $115, WES will verify an individual’s academic achievements and then rate the qualifications in Canadian terms.

“About 75 per cent of the 7,300 credentials we do each year stack up well,” Owen says.

Reference: Toronto Star