Educational Credential Assessment or ECA is used to check the Canadian equivalence of a foreign degree, diploma or certificate. This is required for the Canada Express Entry application.
ECA for Canada Express Entry – Process
You do not need to wait for a notification from CIC (IRCC) to initiate your ECA process. Once you have confirmed you are Eligible for Express Entry, you can begin working on getting your ECA done. CIC (IRCC) accepts ECA for Express Entry done by one of the seven designated organizations mentioned below:
- World Education Services (WES ECA)
- Comparative Education Service – University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies
- International Credential Assessment Service of Canada
- International Qualifications Assessment Service
- International Credential Evaluation Service
- Medical Council of Canada (the professional body for Doctors)
- Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (the professional body for Pharmacists)
Most applicants will be able to get their ECA by one of the first 5 designated organizations from the list above. The processing times and required documents for ECA vary for each of these designated organizations.
- For applicants with NOC code 3111 and 3112 Medical Council of Canada MUST issue the ECA.
- For applicants with NOC code 3131, the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada MUST issue the ECA.
You can visit the website of the ECA awarding bodies from the list above, and choose the best option for you.
Once you have selected an organization, simply follow their instructions and wait for them to send your ECA results to you. Once you receive your ECA results, you can use the conversion table below. You can claim corresponding points (both CRS and FSW 100 points system) for your education.
ECA for Canada Express Entry – Important Points
- You don’t need ECA for a Canadian degree, diploma or certificate.
- Your ECA must be issued by the designated organizations mentioned above
- ECA must be less than 5 years old when you submit your post ITA application
- You must enter the ECA results and the reference number into your Express Entry profile
- You can claim CRS points for the Canadian Experience Class program and eligibility for the Federal Skilled Worker program
- On your electronic application for permanent residence or e-APR, include a scanned copy of your original certificate and ECA results
- You don’t need to submit all your certificates, degrees, diplomas for ECA assessment. Only the highest credential ECA suffices (in most cases)
You can find more information on ECA here.
Is Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) Mandatory for Express Entry?
Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) is mandatory if the Education Credential was NOT awarded in Canada by an approved Canadian Educational Body.
If you went to school in Canada, you must provide a certificate, diploma or degree from a Canadian:
- secondary (high school) or
- post-secondary school
If you had education outside Canada then you must have:
- A completed credential, and
- An Educational Credential Assessment report from an approved agency showing that your education is equal to Canadian education
For the Canadian Experience Class, there is no minimum education requirement. However, a Canadian or ECA secondary or post-secondary education can help you fetch additional CRS points.
Is ECA Required for all my Degree, Diploma or Certificates?
You don’t need to submit ECAs for all your degrees, diplomas or certificates.
Education points are granted for your highest education equivalent. In most cases, ECA for your Highest Level of Education is enough. For example, if you have a Ph.D. degree, you only need ECA for your Ph.D. You don’t need ECAs for education prior to Ph.D.
With that said there are situations when getting more than 1 credential assessed could get you higher points. For example:
- When you have more than one degree or diploma of the same level
- When you have two Bachelor’s degrees
- When your foreign Postgraduate degree has a Canadian equivalent of only a Bachelor’s degree. In this case, having your actual Bachelor’s degree assessed can get you more points.
Is Distance Learning Accepted for Express Entry?
This is another one of those grey areas in Canadian immigration that has not been very well defined. However, based on Canada’s official website, distance education may be considered with certain limitations. It is also at the immigration officer’s discretion to request supporting documentation.
If more than 50% of the applicant’s education was done through distance learning, they will not be awarded Canadian education credentials. If the applicant gets a score below the minimum CRS due to reduced points, the application will b refused.
Does an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) mean that one can be licensed in a regulated profession?
Getting an ECA does not mean that your work experience and professional credentials are automatically recognized in Canada. Even after getting an ECA, one still has to go through the process of getting a license.
Every province or territory in Canada possesses the power to regulate and license several professions. This is generally done through provincial or territorial regulatory bodies.
How to get your Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)?
IRCC accepts assessments only from the organizations, which will be discussed. A receipt that tells you the Canadian equivalent of your degrees/diplomas will be included in your assessment.
ECA must be issued on or after the date issuing bodies have been officially designated. You can contact the organization if a report is done before it became official to ask for a re-issue.
General Assessment of Foreign Education
You must use an organization that has been listed by IRCC. If an organization isn’t on their list, assessments will not be accepted from them.
- Comparative Education Service: University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies designated April 17, 2013
- International Credential Evaluation Service designated August 6, 2015
- World Education Services designated April 17, 2013
- International Qualifications Assessment Service designated August 6, 2015
- International Credential Assessment Service of Canada designated April 17, 2013
In case you are unsure which organization to choose, get in touch with them.
Assessment for Specialist and Family Physicians
Report from the Medical Council of Canada is mandatory if your primary occupation is either of the following:
- general practitioner/family physician NOC code 3112
- specialist physician NOC code 3111
Assessment for Pharmacists
For a pharmacist (NOC code 3131), where you need to get your report depends on your job.
If you require a license to practice, your report should be from the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada. This is also applicable to you if you care for patients in a:
- hospital pharmacy
- community pharmacy
- long term care facility
If your job does not require a license, an assessment from any other designated ECA organization is accepted by the IRCC. This also includes jobs where you may require a pharmacy degree but a licence to practice is not mandatory. For instance, the pharmaceutical industry or government jobs.
How long is the validity of an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report?
IRCC accepts ECA reports for five years from the date they are issued. But they have had to be issued on or after April 17, 2013.
For ECAs before that date, get in touch with the organisation to see if they will re-issue it.
Can my Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report be re-used to submit my Express Entry profile?
The ECA report can be re-used if it is still valid. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will accept ECA reports within five years from the date they are issued. But they should have been issued on or after April 17, 2013. If you have an ECA report before April 2013, contact the organization to see if they will re-issue it.
You will be asked to include certain details from your ECA report while you create your Express Entry profile. Make sure your ECA report is in a safe and accessible place. You may be requested to submit it if you are invited to apply.
How to get a certificate of qualification from a provincial, territorial or federal body for the Federal Skilled Trades Program?
In Canada, it is usually the provinces and territories that decide the standards/conditions for assessing foreign credentials for certain trades.
The regulatory body that governs trades in a province or territory will assess your credentials related to the trade. This regulatory body also decides if you are eligible to write an exam to be certified. In order to get a certificate qualification, you need to go through the following:
- Visit the specific province or territory for writing the certification exam. You may need to have Canadian training and work experience before you can be allowed to write the exam.
In case your trade is not regulated by a province or territory, it may be federally regulated. You can get information on credential assessment for all regulated trades in Canada from The Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials.Learn more about the WES ECA process, timeline, fees and more through this guide.