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Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) For Canada Immigration

Canadian Language Benchmark(CLB) For Immigration-All You Need To Know

Last Updated On 10 February 2023, 9:37 AM EST (Toronto Time)

A language test is usually mandatory if you want to apply for Canadian immigration. Your test score will determine your eligibility for many immigration programs.

It proves that you can speak in either one or both of Canada’s official languages—English or French.

So, you need to take this test if you are moving to Canada as a permanent resident or even student, or worker.

To prove your language proficiency in English, you can take either the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP).

However, both of them are measured using the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) when it comes to Canada immigration programs.

If you are wondering what CLB is, don’t worry; we have covered you. This article has everything you need to know about CLB.

Approved language tests for Canadian Immigration

IRCC accepts the following tests –

For English Proficiency:

IELTS: International English Language Testing System –  You need to take the IELTS General Training test to apply for permanent residence or work permits.

However, if you’re applying for admission into a Canadian university/ college you need to write the IELTS Academic test. Exception: SDS Study Permit application also accept IELTS General Training. 

CELPIP: Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program – You must take the CELPIP-General test.

This is officially designated for PR applications. The IRCC will not accept results from the General-LS test.

Recently, IRCC announced that they will start accepting Pearson Test of English (PTE) in late 2023.

For French Proficiency

TEF Canada: Test d’évaluation de français, including:

  • compréhension de l’écrit
  • compréhension de l’oral
  • expression écrite
  • expression orale

TCF Canada: Test de connaissance du français, including:

  • compréhension de l’écrit
  • compréhension de l’oral
  • expression écrite
  • expression orale

What is CLB?

The Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) is the standard used by IRCC to describe, measure, and recognize the English language ability of immigrants and prospective immigrants who plan to live and work in Canada.

Since IELTS and CELPIP have different scoring systems, the CLB provides a common benchmark to compare the performance of applicants.

Once you complete a language test, the CLB measures your proficiency. This helps you understand if you meet the minimum requirement for your application.

The Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) is used to assess abilities in the French language in the same way CLB does for English.

Understanding your Scores 


An IELTS exam consists of four sections: reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

For each section, you get a score from 0-10. 0 is when you don’t take the test whereas 9 is the highest score, meaning that you are an ‘expert user’. 


The CELPIP is very similar to IELTS. It evaluates English speaking, reading, listening, and writing skills. However, CELPIP’s scoring model is based on 12 levels.

A 12 indicates advanced proficiency in workplace and community contexts. On the other hand, a 6 means developing proficiency in the workplace and community contexts.

Anything under 3 means either minimal proficiency or insufficient information to assess.


This test evaluates French language proficiency and includes four sections: oral comprehension, written comprehension, oral expression, and written expression.

There are six levels of score in TCF. A1 means you have limited ability whereas C2 means you have the advanced ability.

You receive a certificate for each section. Also, you get a certificate as a level per skill scored between A1 to C2.

Once you get your results, you need to see what language level you have, based on your test results in:

  • Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB)
  • Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC)

The test results prove your language skills. Below is the CLB level equivalencies for IELTS, CELPIP, TEF, and TCF

Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) – General Test

CLB LevelReadingWritingListeningSpeaking

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) – General Training

CLB LevelReadingWritingListeningSpeaking

Test d’évaluation de français pour le Canada (TEF Canada)

CLB LevelReadingWritingListeningSpeaking

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

CLB LevelReadingWritingListeningSpeaking
10 and above549-69916-20549-69916-20

Possible PTE CLB levels score generated based on IELTS score comparison:

CLB LevelReadingWritingListeningSpeaking


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