Express Entry CEC - Canadian Experience Class

Express Entry CEC – Know How IRCC Assesses Your Experience


Express Entry Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is a permanent residence category for those with skilled work experience in Canada. It helps transition temporary foreign workers and international graduates with qualifying experience to become Canadian permanent residents. 

However, to assess eligibility and qualifying Canadian experience, IRCC considers several factors. If you are a potential CEC candidate, this article will help you understand:

  • How IRCC Officers Assess CEC Work Experience? 
  • Important Factors To Remember   
  • How do officers determine employment status? 

How IRCC Officers Assess CEC Work Experience? 

You must have at least 12 months of full-time, Canadian skilled or equivalent part-time work experience. This experience can be in one or more NOC 0, A or B occupations within 36 months before applying. 

Moreover, during the employment period, you must meet both of the following requirements as a CEC candidate: 

  • Must have performed the actions outlined in the lead statement for the occupation(s) in the NOC’s occupational description; and 
  • Have performed a significant number of the main duties, including all essential duties, of the occupation(s) as described in the NOC’s occupational description. 

Remember that any employment period while enrolled as a full-time student will not be counted in calculating the period of qualifying work experience for CEC. For example, the experience gained through co-op, on-campus or off-campus employment when you were a student on a valid study permit does not qualify for CEC. 

Moreover, officers use the Global Case Management System (GCMS) information to verify the study and work permit information. 



Important Factors To Remember   

As a potential CEC candidate, you do not need to be employed at the time of your application. However, you must have held temporary resident status in Canada during the qualifying period of work experience. 

It is important to note that IRCC does not consider self-employment or unauthorized work towards qualifying work experience calculation. It is because a person who has worked in Canada without authorization may violate the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and be found inadmissible. 

Moreover, the work experience acquired while ‘maintained status’ would be considered eligible work experience under CEC. However, provided the applicant continued to work under the same conditions as their original work permit until a decision was made on their application. 

In most cases, officers make an allowance of a reasonable period of vacation time when calculating qualifying work experience. For example, 52 weeks generally would have two weeks of paid vacation leave. 

However, the allowance for normal vacation time during a period of qualifying work experience may not substitute for meeting the in-Canada component of the work experience requirement. 

Meaning the work experience obtained outside Canada will not be considered as though the applicant had been on a period of vacation as part of the period of in-Canada work experience. 

While officers will consider a reasonable amount of vacation time when calculating the period of qualifying work experience in Canada, each application is considered on its own merits, with a final decision based on a review of all information available to the officer at the time of decision.

How do officers determine employment status? 

As a CEC applicant, you must demonstrate to an IRCC officer that you meet all the program requirements. In addition, as mentioned earlier, any period of self-employment does not count toward the qualifying work experience required under the CEC.

 As a result, the CEC requires applicants to demonstrate that they gained skilled work experience in Canada through authorized third-party employment. 

The T-4 slip is important documentary evidence to prove you had a valid employer-employee relationship and third-party employment. Hence, ensure that you include T-4 slips in your application.   

To demonstrate you meet all CEC requirements, you can submit the following documentary evidence of Canadian work experience:

  • Copy of your most recent work permit (unless you are work-permit exempt)
  • Copies of your most recent T4 tax information slips and Notice of Assessment (NOA) issued by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)
  • Employer letters of reference for all periods of qualifying work experience
  • Or a sufficient combination of other supporting documentation

The regulations do not require CEC applicants to submit a T4 tax information slip or NOA specifically with their application. Therefore, these records are not the only form of proof that is accepted to demonstrate whether an applicant has the necessary amount of Canadian work experience. 

As a result, without a T4 tax information slip or NOA, documents that could support the applicant’s work history in Canada include:

  • Work contracts
  • Pay stubs 
  • A record or letter of employment from the Canadian employer

Source: IRCC