Applications received on or after January 1, 2015, for permanent residence programs subject to Express Entry: Language test scores for persons with disabilities

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

To demonstrate they meet the requirements of at least one of the three federal programs included in Express Entry, foreign nationals must record a score for each language skill area (reading, writing, listening and speaking) when they complete their online Express Entry profile or application for permanent residence (APR).

Foreign nationals who are unable, by reason of a disability, to complete assessments in all four language skill areas may be exempted from the requirement to provide evaluation results from a designated organization in up to three of four language skill areas. Instead, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will accept notionalized scores using a calculator tool supplied by IRCC.

For more information, processing offices should consult the public policy concerning economic class permanent residence applicants and Express Entry candidates whose language proficiency cannot be tested in all four language skill areas due to a physical or mental disability.

Accommodations from testing agencies

All testing agencies designated by IRCC to provide language testing services (Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program [CELPIP], International English Language Testing System [IELTS] and Test d’évaluation de français [TEF]) must provide accommodations for persons with physical or mental disabilities.

These accommodations, although not standardized or consistent between agencies, typically include modified test materials, extra time to complete the test, and the use of assistive technology.

Persons requesting accommodation due to a disability must provide medical documentation to the testing agency in order to be accommodated. In most cases, such individuals are able to complete all sections of the language test.

Exemptions provided by language testing agencies

An individual must provide medical documentation to the language testing agency in order to be exempted from being tested on a specific language skill area due to a physical or mental disability.

When an individual cannot be evaluated on a portion of the test, even with accommodations, the testing agency will note the exemption as follows:

  • CELPIP will mark the incomplete section(s) of the test as “Nul”;
  • TEF will mark the incomplete section(s) as “N/A”; and
  • IELTS will notionalize the exempted section(s) of the test based on the average score of the completed sections, and will indicate under Administrator Comments that the score has been notionalized.

Applicants who notionalize their language score(s)

In their online Express Entry profile and APR, foreign nationals who are not able to complete one or more sections of their language tests will have to notionalize their own language score(s) (i.e., calculate an average based on their scores using the IRCC online calculator).

To notionalize their score, foreign nationals must have been tested on at least one language skill area. The help text in the Express Entry online profile and APR will instruct the foreign national to use the IRCC online calculator to accurately notionalize their score.

Foreign nationals must always notionalize their own scores using the IRCC online calculator, even when they have taken an IELTS test. This ensures that language test scores, regardless of testing agency, are notionalized consistently.

If a candidate is invited to apply and submits an APR with notionalized language test scores, the application will be accepted as complete and flagged for further review. The language test form will indicate that notionalized scores have been used.

Officers can use the IRCC online calculator to confirm that applicants’ notionalized language test scores are entered correctly.

Use of the public policy

Pursuant to the public policy under section A25.2 for persons whose language skills cannot be fully tested due to a disability, if it is determined that an applicant requires accommodation, the applicant may be exempted from the requirement to provide assessment results in up to three of four language skill areas, provided that notionalized scores are provided.

The instruction guide for Express Entry candidates and the instruction guide for Express Entry applicants instruct applicants who notionalize their language scores to submit documentation that supports their request for an exemption from the requirement to provide evaluation results in up to three of four language skill areas. Processing offices may locate the documentation submitted by the applicant in the Global Case Management System under IMM , then PR , then Correspondence and then Incoming.

Date Modified: