An Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) is used to verify that your foreign degree, diploma, certificate (or other proof of your credential) is valid and equal to a Canadian one.
Who needs an ECA?
If you have a Canadian degree, diploma or certificate, you do not need to get an ECA for that credential.
You will need to get an ECA for your foreign degree, diploma or certificate if:
- you want to be considered for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) under Express Entry, and
- you are a principal applicant, and
- you got your education outside Canada, or
- you want to receive Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points for your foreign education
- for yourself as an Express Entry candidate, or
- for your spouse or common-law partner coming with you to Canada.
To be eligible under a) or to get points under b) you must include ECA results as part of your Express Entry profile.
You must submit an ECA for all levels of completed foreign education you want us to consider. It is up to you to decide which credentials to have assessed by a designated organization.
Depending on your case, you may want to have both your secondary and post-secondary credentials assessed, and not just your highest completed foreign credential. You will not get any points for your foreign education under the CRS in Express Entry or be eligible under the FSWP if the result on your ECA report does not match at least one of the results in the conversion table.
Note: An ECA can give you early feedback on how your credentials compare to those in Canada. It may also help when you are looking for a job. But, being assessed does not guarantee that:
- you will get a job in your field or at a certain level,
- your work experience and professional credentials are automatically recognized in Canada, or
- you will be licensed to practice in a regulated profession.
Please check Job Bank to learn more about the job market outlook for your occupation in the specific region where you plan to settle.
If you plan to work in a regulated profession, you must still get your licence in the province or territory that you plan on settling in.
A regulatory authority will decide if you can be licensed in a profession. They will assess factors such as your education, experience/competencies and language skills, as well as other factors.
You should contact the regulatory authority in the province where you plan to live as soon as possible. They can give you information about the process for being licensed, including steps you can take before you leave your home country.
How does it work?
We will only accept an ECA from one of the organizations designated by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) (below).
The original ECA report must:
- be issued on or after the date CIC designated the organization,
- not be more than five years old on the date that CIC gets a) your Express Entry profile, and b) your application for permanent residence, and
- show your credential(s) is equal to a completed Canadian one.
Note: You will have to provide the reference number from the ECA report in your Express Entry profile, as well as in your application for permanent residence (along with proof of your foreign credential). If we cannot validate the number you enter, you will need to provide an electronic copy to confirm. Keep a copy in case we need to see it.
If you are invited to apply for permanent residence and you do not include this assessment and proof of your foreign credential when you apply, your application is not complete and will not be accepted for processing. Any fees submitted will be returned and you will need to submit a new Express Entry profile to be considered in the future.
Before you submit a profile, check the ECA conversion table to confirm that the result on your ECA report matches at least one of the assessment results listed. You can see how many points you would get for your foreign education under the CRS or the FSWP selection grid, based on the results of your report.
Designated organizations for ECAs
You can get your assessment from:
- Comparative Education Service – University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies (Date designated: April 17, 2013)
- International Credential Assessment Service of Canada (Date designated: April 17, 2013)
- World Education Services (Date designated: April 17, 2013)
- International Qualifications Assessment Service (Date designated: August 6, 2015)
- International Credential Evaluation Service (Date designated: August 6, 2015)
- Medical Council of Canada (professional body for Doctors) (Date designated: April 17, 2013)
- Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (professional body for Pharmacists) (Date designated: January 6, 2014)
How to choose a designated organization
- If you are applying:
- as a specialist physician (NOC 3111) or general practitioner/family physician (NOC 3112), the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) must do an ECA for your primary medical diploma,
- as a pharmacist (NOC 3131):
- if you need a license to practice (for example, providing patient care in a community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, long term care facility or other practice settings) the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) must do your ECA,
- if you are in a position where you do not need a license (organizations such as the pharmaceutical industry and government which require a pharmacy degree because of the education or skill set, but may not require a licence to practice pharmacy), you can have your credentials assessed by one of the other designated ECA organizations. Contact the regulatory authority in the province where you plan to live to find out if you need a licence to practice your intended occupation.
- under any other occupation, check the websites of the other CIC-designated organizations or contact them directly to find which one best suits your needs. Consider:
- Some designated organizations partner with certain regulatory bodies or large employers. In that case, the ECA you get for applying to CIC might also help you later on.
- For each one, you should check to find out what other organizations recognize their assessments.
- Find out what documents you need.
- Find out how much it will cost. Costs may vary by organization.
- Find out how long an assessment will take.
Note: CIC uses assessments done by the MCC or the PEBC for immigration purposes. They are also used in the process of licensing for those professions. Please contact the regulatory authority in the province where you plan to live for more information about getting a licence.
How to get an ECA
Once you have chosen an organization:
- gather all the documents they need (make sure that you ask your school for multiple copies of your diplomas/degrees, transcripts, etc.),
- follow any instructions given to submit the documents, and
- pay the fees.
What your report means
The organization will give you an original report that will tell you:
- whether your credentials are valid, and
- if they are equal to a completed Canadian one.
If your assessment report shows that your completed foreign credential is equal to a completed Canadian one, you can include this information in your Express Entry profile. You will get points under the CRS for your highest credential found equal to a completed Canadian one.
You may be eligible to receive points for certain combinations of two post-secondary credentials (whether Canadian, foreign equivalent or a combination of both). If you are invited to apply for permanent residence, you will need to include your ECA reference number when you apply.
If your report shows that your credential is not equal to a completed Canadian credential as outlined in the conversion table:
- You will not meet the education requirement under the FSWP.
- You will not get any points under the CRS.
- Use the Come to Canada tool to see if you could be considered under another program.
If you are getting an ECA report from the Medical Council of Canada or the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada, your ECA report must show that your foreign education credentials are equal to the Canadian credentials needed to practice that occupation in Canada.
Submitting your report
- Report the results of the ECA in your Express Entry profile. Keep all original reports or assessment documents for your electronic application for permanent residence. You may have to provide them later.
- Keep a second copy of the report for your records.
- Do not request that your ECA report be sent to CIC directly by the assessment agency. You must include the ECA reference number with your complete application for permanent residence.
- If you are invited to apply under the FSWP: The 100-point FSWP selection grid assesses applicants against six main criteria. To pass, you need 67 points or more. We will award you a maximum of 25 points based on the level of your education compared to Canadian standards.
- If you were educated outside Canada, you will only be eligible for FSWP or get CRS points for your education if you submit an ECA.
- See the conversion table to see how many points you would get for different credentials, based on the outcome statement included on your ECA report.
- CIC will verify the submitted ECA with the organization that produced the report.
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