The Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials

In 1989, Canada ratified the UNESCO Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Diplomas and Degrees concerning Higher Education in the States belonging to the Europe Region 1979, to which all provinces and territories expressed their agreement. This was the first-generation convention.

On November 4, 1997, Canada became a signatory to the second generation of this convention, again as agreed to by all provinces and territories. The Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region 1997 — commonly known as the Lisbon Recognition Convention (LRC) — is an international agreement between 55 signatory states and was jointly drafted by:
  • The Council of Europe;
  • UNESCO; and
  • Members States of UNESCO's European and North America region.

On October 31, 2017, the LRC was tabled in Canada's House of Commons, along with an Explanatory Memorandum providing background information. This is one of the last steps outlined in the Policy on Tabling of Treaties in Parliament from Global Affairs Canada.

The purpose of the LRC is to facilitate the mobility of individuals through the recognition of academic credentials issued in and outside Canada, and to improve access by other countries to information about the education systems in Canada. The LRC does not differ significantly in substance and objectives when compared with the text of the 1979 convention. However, it specifies more concretely and in greater detail the responsibilities of ratifying states with respect to the principles and mechanisms for the recognition of academic credentials and the collection and dissemination of information on education systems.

By going forward with the ratification process of the LRC, Canada is demonstrating its commitment to furthering international collaboration on a wide range of issues related to the enhancement of academic and professional mobility and promoting best practices in the assessment and recognition of academic credentials.

The 1979 convention remains in force for Canada until the ratification of the LRC is complete. In parallel, Canada continues to participate in consultations on the continued development of the global convention with UNESCO Member States. 

Get more information on the proposed global convention and the FAQ on the implementation of the LRC in Canada.

Do similar international agreements exist in other regions?


The Lisbon Recognition Convention was signed by Member States of the UNESCO Europe and North America region, which includes Canada and United States.

However, similar international agreements have also been signed by states in other UNESCO regions. For more information, consult CICIC's Other international agreements section.