SPRINGBOARD TO CANADIAN EXPERIENCE:  YORK UNIVERSITY'S BRIDGING PROGRAM FOR INTERNATIONALLY-EDUCATED PROFESSIONALS                        by Joanne MacKay-Bennett

originally published in the 2013 Fall Issue

Newcomers to Canada can be forgiven if they think that Canadian educators and employers seem to work at cross-purposes. While universities stress the importance of fulfilling academic requirements, employers often look for that less definable qualification, ‘Canadian experience.’


The reality is that many recent immigrants to Canada arrive with a stellar resume. A more shadowy side of that reality is that people can end up in ‘survival jobs’ because they cannot meet the often slippery requirement of Canadian experience.


York University’s Bridging Program for Internationally-Educated Professionals (www.makemore.info.yorku.ca) goes a long way towards making a newcomer’s entry into the Canadian marketplace a successful one. The program focuses on 3 high demand areas of employment: Business, IT and HR. Once accepted, students benefit from personalized attention as they progress through the certificate program.


Professor Art Noordeh, Faculty Lead for the Bridging Program for IEP’s, makes it clear that the York program is not for everyone. Applicants are required to be a permanent resident, landed immigrant, or Canadian Citizen; be living in Canada for no more than 3 years; have a recognized non-Canadian Bachelor’s degree in Business, HR, or IT; have approximately 3 years of professional work experience outside Canada. They must also possess a good command of the English language.


In order to ensure a match between your profile and the Bridging Program’s mandate, Noordeh strongly recommends that students attend an information session before applying. Be sure to check the website for upcoming Fall information session dates.


Success in the program is maximized by the provision of a 10 week pre-qualifying session that leads to the 2 core components of the program: Foundation Skills (3 courses) and Specialized Skills (5 courses). Assuming that students enroll in at least 2 courses per semester, they can graduate in 4 semesters.


Thanks to a hefty subsidization by the Ontario government and York University, fees for the program are kept low. Although there is a registration fee of $100.00, both the prequalifying session and the 9 foundation credits are fully covered. Fees for the 15 specialized skills credits reflect usual rates. Although the program is not eligible for OSAP funding, students may be able to apply for up to $5,000.00 to cover a combination of tuition and textbook costs through the Ontario Bridging Participant Assistance Program (OBPAP).


Recognizing the innumerable skills that internationally-educated professionals bring to our economy, York University’s Bridging Program for IEP’s gives students the opportunity to become ‘fluent’ in both the language and social skills of business, to become accustomed to an array of new management styles, and to obtain employment that is commensurate with their qualifications. York students, future employers, and Ontario’s economy all benefit.


For course description, fees, contact info, FAQ’s visit: www.makemore.info.yorku.ca In person: 4700 Keele Street, Program requirements, Technology Enhanced Learning Building, Room 2005 Telephone: 416 736-5620

Toronto, Canada