The Ordre professionnel de la physiothérapie du Québec (OPPQ) is receiving more and more applications from candidates trained candidates outside of Canada who are seeking to obtain a license to practice physiotherapy. To practice as a physiotherapist (Pht) or physical rehabilitation therapist (P.R.T) in Quebec, you must file a diploma and training equivalency application.
This section does not apply to massage-physiotherapists who did their training in France. For more information, click here.
What is physiotherapy and what do physiotherapists and physiotherapist assistants do?
Physiotherapy is defined in Québec as a form of front-line healthcare concerned with prevention and health promotion and the assessment, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of physical dysfunctions and disabilities affecting the nervous, musculoskeletal, and cardiopulmonary systems.
There are two physiotherapy professions in Quebec that are regulated by the Quebec Professional Code, which requires practitioners to obtain a license to practice. The OPPQ issues licenses to applicants who meet the necessary criteria.
Physiotherapists and physical rehabilitation therapists are the only physiotherapy professionals recognized by the Quebec professional system. To hold one of these titles, you must be a member of OPPQ.
Physiotherapists hold a Master’s degree. They deal with all aspects of physiotherapy and may be consulted directly, meaning the client doesn’t need a referral or medical prescription.
- Information sheet on physiotherapy (in french only)
- Regulation on the categories of licences issued by Ordre professionnel de la physiothérapie du Québec.
Physical rehabilitation therapists (P.R.T.)
Physical rehabilitation therapists have a three-year college-level degree. Before intervening with a client, they need to obtain an assessment from a physiotherapist or a medical diagnosis and relevant information on the client’s condition. The physical rehabilitation therapist profession exists only in Quebec.
Click on the following links for more information about physiotherapy professions:
What do I need to do to obtain an equivalency?
To have your diploma and training recognized as equivalent, you must submit several documents to OPPQ and pay the $747.34 application fee (taxes included). The application will be analysed by the OPPQ Admissions Committee based on your education and experience in physiotherapy.
Once the Admissions Committee has made its recommendations, the application will be submitted to the OPPQ Executive Committee, which will determine whether to grant the equivalency, in whole or in part, or refuse it, and also decide what conditions must be met to obtain the equivalency, such as refresher training. The applicant will be notified of the decision.
How do I apply for equivalency?
The application for equivalency must include the following documents (in French or English):
- The application for equivalency application
- Your results from the comparative evaluation for studies done outside Quebec issued by Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion (MIDI)
- Your current resume
- A successful training analysis form (Pht or P.R.T.)
- Certified copies of your diplomas and transcripts
- Institutional course descriptions of the classes you took related to physiotherapy
- An overview of your professional experience as a Pht or P.R.T.
- Proof of work experience in the field (letters from employers, certificates of employment, etc.)
- The application fee of $34, taxes included
How is my equivalency application assessed?
The OPPQ Admissions Committee analyses equivalency applications. The committee meets four to five times a year.
There are two steps to the analysis: first your educational background is evaluated, then your professional experience is assessed. Your education is evaluated based on the diplomas you submit, your student records, and the descriptions of courses you took. Work experience is evaluated on the basis of the overview you submit, your resume, and any other documents highlighting the professional experience you have acquired.
It may be impossible to ascertain equivalency after this initial analysis. In this case, you may be required to complete a skills assessment to determine the conditions for upgrading your skills.
What if I disagree with the outcome of the equivalency process?
Once you have received a decision on your equivalency application, you can, within 30 days, request that the decision be reviewed. To do this, you need to submit new information that could convince the Review Committee. This specially formed committee is made up of three members who are not part of the Admissions Committee or the Executive Committee.
If you are still in disagreement once the review is complete, you can appeal to the Commissioner for complaints concerning mechanisms for the recognition of professional competence at Office des professions du Québec. The commissioner’s office examines complaints against professional orders regarding the recognition of professional competence, and makes recommendations it deems appropriate.
Where can I go to fulfil the conditions required to obtain an equivalency?
For physical rehabilitation therapists
To obtain an equivalency in physical rehabilitation therapy, OPPQ requirements can be fulfilled at a college that offers a program in physical rehabilitation techniques (physiotherapy techniques).
Currently, only Cégep Marie-Victorin offers a program reserved for applicants trained outside Quebec who have been asked to fulfil this requirement by OPPQ. For more information, visit: https://www.collegemv.qc.ca/fr-CA/Accueil/formation_continue/Centre_education_multiculturel_namur/AEC_attestation_etudes_collegiales/AEC_formation_readaptation_physique/index.aspx
To obtain an equivalency in physiotherapy, the requirement can be fulfilled at a Quebec university that offers a physiotherapy program. Currently, only Université de Montréal (in French) and McGill University (in English) offer a program that is reserved for applicants trained outside Quebec who have been asked to fulfil this requirement by OPPQ. For more information, visit the following websites:
For more information:
- For more details on how to apply for equivalency, please consult the Guide for applicants trained outside Canada looking to practice physiotherapy in Quebec (in french only). You can also download from the guide all the documents required to apply for equivalency.
- To learn more about regulations and other information about your future profession in Quebec, please consult the Member section of our website.
- For any other questions, please email Uriel Pierre, the OPPQ Admissions Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do I need to pass the Quebec government’s French exam to obtain a license?
The official language of Quebec is French (Charter of the French Language, Art. 35).
If you have studied at an English-language college or university in Quebec, you must provide proof of your knowledge of French in compliance with the requirements of Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) before obtaining a license.
The Charter deems a person to have the appropriate knowledge if he or she:
- Has received no less than three years of full-time secondary or post-secondary instruction provided in French (high school, general and vocational college, university)
- Has passed the fourth or fifth year secondary level examinations in French as the first language
- Obtained a secondary school certificate in Quebec in the 1985-1986 school year or later
In all other cases, you must obtain a certificate issued by Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) or hold a certificate defined as equivalent by the Government.
Other French exams, such as the Test de français international (TFI), are not accepted for obtaining a regular license.
What is the employment situation like in Quebec?
The employment situation in Quebec changes from year to year. It depends on the need for services in different regions of Quebec as well as government priorities for the public sector workforce.
Physiotherapists and physical rehabilitation therapists can work in both the public sector, which is financed by the government (hospitals or specialized centers), as in the private sector (private practice or clinic).
For more information on the employment situation and salaries, please consult the following websites for:
Can I get reimbursed for the application review fees or the skills assessment?
The secretary and general manager of OPPQ will generally authorize the closure of a file and partial refund of the fees if the Admission Committee has not yet examined your application. The portion of the fees that are retained depends on how far along your application is in internal processing. Once the Admission Committee has finished examining it, fees cannot be refunded.
Fees for the skills assessment are non-refundable.
I would like to stop my equivalency process. What do I need to do to close my file?
To close your file, you must send us an official request to this effect in a signed letter. Your documents will be returned to you.
How long does it take to obtain my license (including my equivalency application)?
The processing time varies depending on the application. An equivalency application will be processed within eight weeks once it has been analysed by the OPPQ admissions committee. This process can take longer if your skills need to be evaluated. Note that updating your skills could take up to 15 months.
I would like to join the OPPQ. What membership category should I choose on the notice of assessment if I haven’t found a job yet?
If you are looking for work, we suggest you choose the category “Regular member in the private/public sector” with OPPQ insurance. That way, you are free to work in the public or private sector. When renewing your annual contribution in February or March, you can choose the category that best reflects the type of job you have.
Can I get my membership fees refunded if I was not working full time?
There is no contribution category for temporary or part time work.The registration year starts on April 1 and ends on March 31 each year.
How will I receive my license number?
You will receive your license number by mail. Later, you will receive an envelope in the mail containing documents for you to consult, your license to practice, your member card, and your tax receipts.