Hey there. You’re visiting our new site. Click here to go back to the previous version of our website.

Canadian Language Benchmark Guide

Many of Canada’s immigration programs require applicants to demonstrate a certain level of proficiency in one or both of Canada’s official languages, English and French. Immigrants who are able to communicate in one of the official languages often find it easier to find a job and adapt to life in a new country. In order to assess language proficiency, immigration officials will request scores from an approved language test.

Get Started

Language tests are evaluated for immigration purposes by using the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) levels.

Approved Language Tests

There are two approved language tests accepted for proving English-language proficiency and two approved tests for proving French-language proficiency. As well, for those seeking to immigrate to Quebec, this province has its own language testing options for both English and French. Please note that when submitting an immigration application, the language test results usually must be submitted within two years of the test date. If a test was taken more than two years prior to submitting an application, the test will likely need to be retaken and the new results submitted.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

Commonly referred to as the IELTS, this test is designed to evaluate English-language proficiency. The IELTS exam is offered at test centres in many countries around the world and is the most commonly used exam for Canadian immigration. There are two versions of this test, the General IELTS and the Academic IELTS. Immigration programs will require applicants to submit results from the General IELTS Exam. The test is comprised to test four abilities: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Each ability is given a score out of nine points. For more information about this exam, please consult the official website for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP)

The CELPIP is one of two approved tests for demonstrating English-language proficiency for Canadian immigration. This test is only available in four countries: Canada, the Philippines, United Arab Emirates, and the United States. The test evaluates four abilities: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Each ability is scored out of 10 points. For more information about this exam, please consult the official website for the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP).

Test d’évaluation de français (TEF)

The Test d’évaluation de français (TEF) is one of two approved tests for demonstrating French-language proficiency for immigration to all provinces and territories other than Quebec. This test is available in many countries around the world. The test evaluates four abilities: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Each ability is scored uniquely, using the language scoring system outlined in the Test Score Equivalency chart. For more information about this exam, please consult the official website for the Test d’évaluation de français (TEF).

Test de connaissance du français pour le Canada (TCF Canada)

The Test de connaissance du français (TCF) is one of two approved tests for demonstrating French-language proficiency for immigration to all provinces and territories other than Quebec. This test is available in many countries around the world. The test evaluates four abilities: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Each ability is scored uniquely, using the language scoring system outlined in the Test Score Equivalency chart. For more information about this exam, please consult the official website for the Test de connaissance du français pour le Canada (TCF Canada).

Quebec Immigration – Language Testing

For those who wish to immigrate to Quebec, it may be necessary to prove French-language proficiency and/or English-language proficiency. Quebec’s immigration programs require French proficiency to be demonstrated through one of the following French examinations:

Quebec immigration programs requiring English-language proficiency will only accept results from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Test Scores - CLB Equivalencies

In order to assess how language scores translate to Canadian immigration, the Government of Canada created a system called the Canadian Language Benchmark Levels (CLB Levels). The CLB system converts scores from the three federal language tests (listed above) into the same equivalencies, so they can be compared to each other. There are 10 CLB Levels. The higher someone scores, the more points they will receive in points assessments and ranking systems. Refer to the language test equivalency charts below to determine how your scores stack up.

IELTS - CLB Equivalency

CLB LevelReadingWritingListeningSpeaking
1087.58.57.5
97787
86.56.57.56.5
76666
655.55.55.5
54555
43.544.54

CELPIP - CLB Equivalency

CLB LevelReadingWritingListeningSpeaking
1010101010
99999
88888
77777
66666
55555
44444

TEF - CLB Equivalency

CLB LevelReadingWritingListeningSpeaking
10263-277393-415316-333393-415
9248-262371-392298-315371-392
8233-247349-370280-297349-370
7207-232310-348249-279310-348
6181-206271-309217-248271-309
5151-180226-270181-216226-270
4121-150181-225145-180181-225

TCF - CLB Equivalency

CLB LevelReadingWritingListeningSpeaking
10549-69916-20549-69916-20
9524-54814-15523-54814-15
8499-52312-13503-52212-13
7453-49810-11458-50210-11
6406-4527-9398-4577-9
5375-4056369-3976
4342-3744-5331-3684-5

Ready to
start?

Free Immigration Assessment

Discover your Canadian immigration options! Complete our free assessment today and a member of the Canadim Team will contact you to discuss your immigration to Canada.

Get Started

Related Links

Free assessment

Discover your Canadian immigration options. Get your free assessment now!