In Canada, being able to communicate and work in one or both of the official languages helps immigrants both socially and in the job market. Proof of language proficiency is a selection factor for some Canadian immigration categories, and in Canada, it is a key requirement for employment. Recent and prospective immigrants to Canada need information about what level of language proficiency is needed to successfully integrate into the Canadian workplace.
Canadian Language Benchmarks
The Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) are the national standard for describing, measuring and recognizing the English proficiency of adult immigrants to Canada. The CLB scales describe different levels of communication. The scales are based on the ability of adults who use English as second or additional languages (ESL/EFL) to perform real life tasks. The scales consist of 12 benchmarks organized in three stages: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Each stage has four levels: initial, developing, adequate and advanced. There are benchmarks for four language skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) because individuals may have strengths and weaknesses in different areas.
You can use the calculator below to see what Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level you have based on your IELTS General Training test results.
Immigration to Canada – Federal skilled workers (Express Entry)
Immigration to Canada is the process by which people migrate to Canada to reside in the country. The majority of these individuals become Canadian citizens. In order to be eligible for Canadian Permanent Residency application under the Federal Skilled Worker class, you must attain at least 67 points. You can get up to 28 points for your language skills. You must prove your language skills by taking a language test approved by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).
IELTS General Training is accepted by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) as evidence of English language proficiency. IELTS results are also accepted for Canadian citizenship. For details, visit www.cic.gc.ca
You can use the calculator below to see how many points you get based on your IELTS General Training test results.
Note: IELTS offers “General Training” and “Academic” options. Only the “General Training” test results are accepted for CIC purposes. Your test results must not be more than two years old at the time the application is received.
Study in Canada
In Canada, universities are independent institutions that are partly funded by the government although you must still pay tuition fees. Universities offer programs that lead to different types of degrees in many disciplines and subjects. The official language of instruction at many universities in Canada is English. If your first language is not English, you will be required to demonstrate that you have sufficient ability to complete university-level courses in English.
Normally, if you meet any one of the following conditions you are not required to submit proof of proficiency in English:
- Mother tongue (language first learned and still used on a daily basis) is English
- Has obtained (or is about to obtain) an undergraduate or graduate degree from a recognized foreign institution where English is the language of instruction
- Has obtained (or is about to obtain) an undergraduate or graduate degree from a recognized institution in Canada or the United States of America (anglophone or francophone)
- Has lived and attended university, or been employed, for at least four consecutive years, in a country where English is the acknowledged primary language.
If you do not meet any of the above-listed conditions, you must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of your application.
Note: Canadian citizenship, in and of itself, is not enough to satisfy the English Language Requirements.
Below you will find the minimum IELTS scores required for entry to some of the top universities in Canada.