Last Updated on May 10, 2022 by Allard John Keeley
Another key area in any Express Entry application for permanent residence and in assessing your ranking within your candidate pool is your education. In order for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to assess the validity of your foreign degree, diploma, or certificate, you will have to submit to an Educational Credential Assessment, or ECA.
Educational Credentials Assessments
- World Education Services (WES)
- Comparative Education Service (CES)
- International Credential Assessment of Canada (ICAS)
- International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS)
- International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES)
- Medical Counci of Canada (MCC)
- Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC)
Aside from language abilities, another key area in any Express Entry application for permanent residence and in assessing your ranking within your candidate pool is your education. In order for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly Citizenship and Immigration Canada or CIC) to assess the validity of your foreign degree, diploma, or certificate, you will have to submit to an Educational Credential Assessment, or ECA.
- In order to be eligible for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) as a principal applicant, you will need an ECA.
- If you are an Express Entry applicant under the Federal Skilled Trades program (FST) or the Canadian Experience Class program (CEC), then an ECA is the only way for you to receive points for your foreign education. This is always a good idea as it boosts your ranking and improves your odds, within your pool of candidates, of being invited to apply for permanent residence.
- In the case of the FSWP, as well as the FST and CEC cases, you must include your ECA results in your online Express Entry Profile to be awarded points.
- If you already possess a Canadian degree, diploma, or certificate, then you do not need an ECA.
- If you wish to work in a regulated profession in Canada, you will need to be licensed by the provincial or territorial government’s licencing body in the province or territory in which you wish to live and work. This is in addition to having your degree or diploma assessed through an ECA. You should contact the relevant regulatory body in the province or territory you wish to live in as soon as possible to see what the requirements are for getting your foreign credentials assessed.
There are 7 organizations currently designated by IRCC to provide Educational Credential Assessment or ECA report services. Please note that ECAs are valid for 5 years from the date they are issued by the following organizations:
WES is the most famous designated organization, authorized by IRCC to provide ECA reports. They are located at:
2 Carlton Street, Suite 1400
Toronto ON M5B 1J3
Their phone is only accessible from within Canada and they do not attend walk-in customers. They do not provide an email and must be contacted electronically by filling out the appropriate online forms at their website and by mail when you, or your educational institute, mail them the application packages with the appropriate documentation or the official documents. They have a 3-step application procedure:
- Complete the online application form by going here. You will receive a reference number which you must keep.
- Review the document requirements for your country of education. For example, for those educated in the Philippines, and if you attended a higher education institute, you will need:
- An Academic Transcript listing all the courses taken and grades earned for each year of study. If you attended more than 1 institute the last institute attended must send the transcript.
- If you have a doctoral degree, you will need an official letter confirming the awarding of your PhD.
- Download and print an Academic Records Request Form and if necessary a Doctoral Degree Conferral Request Form and send them to your educational institute in order for them to send the transcript directly to WES. Remember not to send original documents unless specifically requested by WES.
- WES will process your application and send you an electronic ECA report for you to send to IRCC. You will also receive electronic storage of your report and verified transcripts for future use. Upon payment of delivery fees, you may also receive a paper report. Standard processing times are approximately 20 business days. Go here for more information on fees.
University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies
Based in Toronto, it was designated by IRCC on April 17, 2013 to provide ECA reports. That means any ECA done by CES before this date will not be accepted by IRCC. They are located at:
158 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario
416 – 978 – 2400
416 – 978 – 6666 Fax
There are 3 basic steps to obtaining an ECA report from CES, as well as the other organizations listed below, not including the Medical and Pharmacist Professional Bodies:
- Find your country of education on the link provided by CES and determine what documents from which department or agency in your country of education are required by CES for your ECA report. For example, if you studied in China at the post-secondary level you will need:
- Colour photocopies of all previous post-secondary graduation certificates, and the official English/French translation in the same format as the original. Do not send original graduation certificates.
- Colour photocopies of all degree certificates, including the cover, and official translations.
- Colour photocopies of transcripts for all years of study, and official translations.
- Verification reports for all graduation certificates, degree certificates, and transcripts. If you have a degree certificate for your program, you do not need to verify the corresponding graduation certificate.
- Also, notary publics in China are accepted as translators.
- Download and fill out the Educational Credential Assessment application form. All transcripts, certificates, verification reports should be mailed directly to CES – the organization that prepares the ECA report not IRCC – by the educational or other institution in the country where you were educated.
- Include your fee payment with the package and mail the package to CES.
Based in Guelph, Ontario, it has been providing credential assessment services since 1993. It is also designated by the IRCC. They are located at:
100 Stone Road West, Suite 102
Guelph ON N1G 5L3
[email protected] (do not send applications by email they will not be accepted)
519 – 763 – 7282
519 – 763 – 6964 Fax
There is a 5-step procedure at ICAS for obtaining your ECA report:
- Review your documentation requirements. This is specific to each country of education. For example, in India you will need:
- Statement of marks for the Higher Secondary Certificate, the Intermediate Certificate, or the Pre-University Certificate sent directly to ICAS by the examination board, not by the school itself.
- Statements of Graduation & Marks Certificates for each year of study for the diploma or degree sent directly to ICAS by the University or Technical Education Board, not by the affiliated college. Reports sent by colleges will not be accepted.
- Complete the ICAS online application form.
- You will receive a confirmation email which you must print. There will be a Document Submission Form which lists the documents you must photocopy and send with your application to ICAS. These are not Official Documents which are those sent directly to ICAS by the education institution as shown above. The documents you must photocopy include: degrees, diplomas, or certificates; translations of each document; copies of abstract of thesis or dissertations if applicable; official change of name document if your name has changed from the one shown on the documents. The email will also contain an Official Records Request Form which you must print and send to your educational institution.
- Mail or courier your photocopied documents and Document Submission Form to ICAS in Guelph.
- Submit the Official Records Request Form to your educational institution. You are required to send a separate form for each qualification and each institution.
International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS)
IQAS is the Alberta government’s ECA service, designated and approved by IRCC in August 2015.
International Qualifications Assessment Service
9th floor, 9942 108 Street
Edmonton, AB T5K 2J5
The preferred method of contact appears to be by phone. Call between 8:15AM and Noon or 1PM and 4:30PM Alberta time:
310-0000, then 427-2655 (toll-free in Alberta)
1-866-692-7057 (Northwest Territories)
(Country specific prefix)-1-780-427-2655 (International)
There is a 6-step process to apply for an ECA using IQAS:
- Make sure you’re eligible to apply:
- Get your ECA Checklist
- Include the following documentation:
- photocopies of your completed diploma or degree certificate
- copy of your photo ID
- completed IQAS application form
- academic transcripts sent directly from the degree-granting institution you received your diploma or degree from (unless you are from China, then you will have to contact the China Academic Degrees and Graduate Education Development Center)
- Use the IQAS Request of Academic Records form to request the transcripts
- Complete the application online and receive your completed application by email
- Send the entire package to the adress above.
The stated processing time is currently 15 business days (3 weeks) but processing times are subject to change.
International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES)
This service is provided by the British Columbia Institute of Technology. ICES does not assess trade qualifications, military training, second language training, professional licenses, apprenticeships, work or life experience, continuing education courses taken at non-recognized institutions, and non-credit professional development courses. ICES was designated in August 2015, so if you got your ECA from ICES before August 2015, you will need to update it.
International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES)
3700 Willingdon Avenue
Burnaby, British Columbia
CANADA V5G 3H2
Follow these steps to use ICES for your ECA:
- Gather your documents:
- Have your educational institution send your diploma and transcripts directly to ICES
- Some countries have specific requirements (see the bottom of this page)
- Photocopies of your ID
- Photocopies of your academic records
- Photocopies of translations of these documents
- Complete the application form or the updated form (if you have already used ICES) – here are samples: the application and the updated application
- Print off the application and sign it
- Pay the fees
- Mail or email the application to ICES (do not do both)
(For Doctors wishing to be certified to work in Canada)
This organization provides ECA reports for Medical Degrees or Diplomas. This is a necessary but not sufficient step for you to be able to work as a Doctor in Canada. You will also need to satisfy provincial or territorial government requirements including post-graduate training and additional assessments before licencing you as a physician.
- The first step is to have your medical degree or diploma source verified. This is done by going to physiciansapply.ca to have your medical credentials source verified. The following steps must be followed:
- Open an online account at physiciansapply.ca and submit a Source Verification Request SRV through your account. This is done as follows:
- From your account page, click on Source verification requests, located on the left panel.
- Create a SVR for each medical credential you need source verified.
- Pay your document fee using a Credit Card (Visa or Master Card). Go here for more information.
- Submit a copy of your medical credentials with the correct cover sheet. Print the cover sheets and attach them to the appropriate medical credentials.
- Do not send original copies, they will not be returned to you.
- Send translated copies of the documents as well, unless the documents are in English or French.
- Use a courier service to send them so you can track the documents. Send a copy of your final medical degree or diploma along with the translation to physiciansapply.ca.
- You will also have to submit the required identity documents.
- Once your medical credentials have been sourceverified, you can then request an ECA report through your physiciansapply.ca account by under Other Services Request.
- Once your ECA request is received, your ECA report should be produced within 21 business days. If you wish your report to be sent by courier you must complete and attach, either by email as an attachment to [email protected] or by fax to 613 – 248 – 5234 your ECA Courier Service Authorization Form within 2 days of submitting your request for an ECA report.
(For Pharmacists wishing to be certified to work in Canada)
This organization was designated by IRCC on January 6, 2014 to provide ECA reports for FSWP applicants under Express Entry as well as CEC applicants. As with other applications for credential recognition in a regulated profession like Pharmacists, an ECA is necessary but not sufficient. You will have to contact the provincial or territorial regulating body to see what further assessments and/or training they require before you can be licenced to work as a pharmacist in the province or territory you wish to live and work in.
- The first step is to fill out a Pharmacist Educational Credential Assessment ECA Report Request Form. Go here for the link at the Pharmacy Examining Board. You must download and print and complete the report by clearly printing or typewriting in the information.
- You must register at Pharmacists Gateway Canada and receive a National Identifying Number. A registration cost of CAD 325 applies.
- You must submit a Document Evaluation Application Form along with a CAD$530 fee as well as the following documents:
- Birth Certificate
- Marriage Certificate
- Statutory Supporting Documents if required
- University Degree or Diploma Certificate
- Licencing Statement
- Any additional documentation requested to support the application
- If PBEC requests a certified copy of a document, you will need each page of the document stamped and signed by one of the following acceptable witnesses:
- Notary Public
- Commissioner of Oaths
- Notary Public
- You will need 2 identical passport photographs per application form, taken within the last 12 months. Staple the first one to the top left corner of each form. Paste the second photograph in the box at the bottom right corner of each application form.
- In the presence of the witness, sign and date the application. Have the witness fill in the city, date, and name, as well as their signature and profession/title. Have your witness seal, stamp, or sign the photograph in the bottom right hand corner of the application. The stamp, seal, or signature should cover part of the photo and the application.
- Note that it will take up to 8 weeks for your Document Evaluations to be completed. Once you receive your ECA report you must post the results online at your Express Entry online profile.
Submitting the ECA report
Upload the results of your ECA report to your Express Entry online profile. Keep all original documents and the original ECA report for your application for Permanent Residence which you will be invited to apply for should you qualify from your pool of Express Entry candidates. As well, it is a good idea to have at least another copy of your ECA report for your own records and should it be required in the future.
Do not have the assessment agency (CES, ICAS, WES, MCC, or PBEC) send the ECA report directly to IRCC and Express Entry. It will not be accepted. It is your responsibility to include the results of the ECA report on your online profile and when you apply for permanent residence.
The maximum points you can earn for educational credentials is 150 (140 if you are applying with a spouse), distributed as follows:
|Express Entry Education Level||points|
|University-level Doctoral or PhD degree||150|
|University-level Master’s degree||135|
|Professional degree in a licensed profession||135|
|2 or more certificates, diplomas or degrees, 1 of which required at least 3 years of post-secondary study||128|
|Bachelor’s degree from a university, college, technical or trade school with at least 3 years of study||120|
|2-year degree, diploma or certificate from a university, college or technical school||98|
|1-year degree, diploma or certificate from a university, college or technical school||90|
Post-secondary education is a must in order to build a successful Express Entry online profile and be invited to apply for permanent residence. Getting your ECA report to ensure your education counts towards your Express Entry application is therefore vital. It requires dealing with educational institutes, assessment agencies, and even Canadian provincial regulatory bodies, but it is worth the time and trouble. Start your Educational Credential Assessment as soon as possible and improve your chances of success.
Express Entry Historical Points Cutoffs by Draw
Express Entry Historical ITAs by Draw
PNP Draw Points Cut-Offs
Some of the PNP streams for the provinces of Ontario, Alberta and Manitoba use the same scoring system as Express Entry. Here are the cut-offs for 2021:
British Columbia PNP Points Cut-Offs
British Columbia uses its own scoring system:
British Columbia PNP Notifiations
BC Entrepreneur PNP Points Cut-Offs
BC Entrepreneur PNP Notifications
Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program Points Cut-Offs
Saskatchewan uses its own scoring system?
Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program Notifications
If you would like information about other PNPs not listed here, please let us know by emailing us or posting in our forum.
Riley Haas has been a leading expert since 2011 on immigration matters, with hundreds of publications online. Published author of three books about political philosophy, the Beatles and the Toronto Maple Leafs, respectively. BA from Bishop’s University, MA from McMaster University. You follow Riley on Substack https://rileyhaas.substack.com.