Are you a psychologist or psychotherapist from France, planning to work in Quebec?

Understanding the transition and adapting to a new professional environment can be both exciting and challenging.

Quebec offers unique opportunities for psychologists and psychotherapists, but it requires specific preparation to thrive in this distinct cultural and professional landscape that is North America.

Let’s explore how you can seamlessly transition your psychology practice from France to Quebec, Canada.

1. Assessment of Qualifications:

therapist on a sofa

To practice as a psychologist or psychotherapist in Quebec with a foreign degree, you need to meet certain criteria. Here is a breakdown of the two professions:


The criteria include: Holding a recognized doctoral degree in psychology (or only a Master’s degree if obtained before 2006), being enrolled as a member of the Ordre des Psychologues du Québec, and complying with all laws and regulations, including the Code of Ethics of Psychologists.

The first thing on your agenda should be to contact the Order of Psychologists of Quebec (OPQ), submitting your academic and work credentials. The OPQ is a professional order in Quebec, responsible for overseeing the practice of psychology in the province.

They’ll check if your qualifications align with what’s required in the province.

Here is a list of qualifications, recognized by the OPQ:

If there are any gaps, you might need to complete additional training, pass exams, or engage in supervised practice. This phase is integral to aligning your training with the unique professional landscape of Quebec.


The requirements for psychotherapists in Quebec differ from those for psychologists.

Psychotherapists are regulated by the Ordre des Psychologues du Québec (OPQ) under unique guidelines and professional standards. Candidates for a psychotherapist permit may come from various educational backgrounds.

They are required to demonstrate specific competencies and training in psychotherapy, adhering to professional and ethical standards distinct from those for psychologists.

For individuals trained outside of Quebec, particularly those with education from the European Union, the OPQ acknowledges the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) credits, with an approximate conversion of 2 ECTS credits to 1 Quebec credit.

This equivalency is crucial for those seeking to have their international training recognized in Quebec. It’s part of the “Règlement sur les normes d’équivalence de diplôme et de formation,” which outlines the standards for diploma and training equivalence for issuing a psychotherapist permit.

2. Assessment of Language Proficiency:

While less of a concern for somebody hailing from France, you may need to demonstrate your language skills through a test.

French proficiency can be demonstrated by completing at least three years of full-time secondary or post-secondary education in French, passing French mother tongue exams, or obtaining a secondary school certificate in Quebec from 1985-1986 onwards.

3. Obtaining a Work Permit:

young therapist working

If you have successfully passed the first two steps, obtaining a work permit is the next critical requirement.

Eligibility for the Young Professionals category (up to 35 years of age) under the International Experience Canada (IEC) program could be a viable route, allowing you to work in Canada (and Quebec) for up to 24 months.

For this category, a job offer is required before applying. The job offer must be paid, and the work must be classified as National Occupational Classification (NOC) Code Skill Type 0, A, or B, which are managerial, professional, and technical or skilled trades jobs. The work permit issued under this category is employer-specific, meaning you can only work for the employer who offered you the job.

If you already received your OPQ licence, applying for a job as a psychologist or psychotherapist should be straightforward.

If the OPQ requires you to apply for equivalence first (equivalence is compulsory for all foreign nationals), you can work under supervision. In this case, you may pursue employment in a role that aligns with your skills and qualifications while you complete the additional requirements set by the OPQ.

It’s advisable to confirm with both the OPQ and the IEC program directly or consult with an immigration expert, to ensure that the specific supervised work arrangement you are considering is eligible under the IEC Young Professionals category.

4. Seeking Employment:


If you are looking to make Quebec your permanent home, the province’s Québec Experience Program (PEQ) offers a pathway to permanent residency for those who have gained work experience in Quebec.

This program is especially relevant if you have worked in Quebec as a psychologist or psychotherapist, as it recognizes the value of your local work experience and integration into Quebec society.

Understanding the criteria and preparing your application for the PEQ can be an essential step in establishing a sustainable career in Quebec.