French language proficiency


Section 35 of the Charter of the French language stipulates that the professional orders shall not issue permits except to persons whose knowledge of the official language is appropriate to the practice of their profession.

Exemption criteria are provided for in the Charter*

A person is deemed to have the appropriate knowledge of French if:

  1. (S)he has received, full time, no less than three years of secondary or post-secondary instruction provided in French (for example, a Doctor of Medicine degree from a university where teaching is in French only);
  2. (S)he has passed the fourth or fifth year secondary level examinations in French as the first language;
  3. From and after the school year 1985-86, (s)he obtained a secondary school certificate in Québec.

If you are unable to provide a secondary school certificate or other certificate as stipulated in the exemption criteria, you will have to take the French examination administered by the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF).

In addition, under section 37 of the Charter of the French language, a professional order may issue a temporary permit that is valid for one year to people from outside Quebec (M.D. from outside Quebec) who meet the requirements for the issuance of a regular permit to practice, but who do not have a working knowledge of French. This type of permit can be renewed subject to certain conditions.

As of the end of 1980, as stipulated in section 39 of the Charter, a temporary permit may not be issued to Quebec graduates.
OQLF French Examination

The OQLF’s new French examination was developed in close collaboration with the Collège to allow the reality of medical practice in Quebec to be taken into account when assessing language proficiency.

The examination has four parts. The first is a preparatory activity that involves reading and taking notes on a case study. The second is a group-based oral communication activity where the case is discussed. Active participation in the group discussion is required to be able to move on to the other parts of the examination. For the third part of the examination, each candidate is required to write a text on the case. The final part is an individual interview with the examiner on elements related to the case.
Candidates who send the OQLF a registration form are invited to take the examination in groups of four, six or eight. These groups are made up of people who want to become members of the same professional order. Candidates who fail will have to retake the entire examination.

You will find detailed information about the French examination on the OQLF website, in the "Documentation utile" section :

Renewal of a temporary permit

The steps to renew a temporary permit must be taken on the OQLF French Examination Portal, in the “Temporary Permits” tab. 

IMPORTANT: Attendance at the OQLF French examination at least once within twelve months of the date of issuance of the initial permit or its renewal is required for the application to be processed. If a candidate has not yet sat for the examination, they must use the portal to register.

New resources to prepare for the OQLF French examination

The OQLF offers two new resources to support candidates who have to take the French examination. It provides you with a video (in French) as well as a fictional case study (in French) that will give you the opportunity to learn more about the examination and how it works. The scenario presents three examples of texts whose level of difficulty is similar to that of the texts that will be used during the evaluation, while the video illustrates in an animated form the different stages of the examination. 

The College encourages you to take advantage of these new resources.

Register online for the OQLF French exam. Consult this fact sheet (available in French only) to learn more about the Web portal.

For information : or 514 933-4253.

In case of dissatisfaction

You can file a complaint in the event of dissatisfaction or difficulty in your efforts to obtain a permit or become a member of the Order.

A recourse by an independent government entity is available to you: the Commissioner for Admission to Professions. The commissioner receives and examines any complaint concerning admission to the profession:

  • for any process or steps of admission;
  • against any person or organization involved (the Order or a third party).
Free French courses for immigrants
Healthcare field

The Ministère de l'Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI) regularly offers a French course designed to meet the needs of international graduates who would like to practice a profession in the healthcare field. The course is offered to immigrants who have undertaken steps with a professional order in the healthcare field to obtain a permit to practice and who did not study in French.

For information, please call 514-864-9191 or go to the following links:

Other resource on professional obligations:
*Charter of the French Language, R.S.Q. c. C-11, s. 35.

Last update: January 9, 2023