Educational Credential Assessment
Exactly How to Apply for your Canada Educational Credential Assessment
As well as taking the language test, you need an Educational Credential Assessment.
What is an ECA and Why do I need one?
Before Canada can decide who their best immigration candidates are, they need to compare the applicants fairly. For this reason, Canada assesses each applicant’s educational credentials to:
- authenticate the applicant’s foreign education credential and
- determine what the equivalent credential would be if compared to Canadian credentials
Once this is done, Canada can issue points within their immigration system for education credentials in a clear and fair way.
An ECA is a report that states Canada has deemed your educational credentials valid, and will determine its level as comparable to a Canadian credential.
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Do I need an Education Credential Assessment for a Federal Skilled Worker Application?
Yes you will, you won’t be able to claim points for further education without one. The exemption is if you gained your qualification in Canada. If you gained your qualification in Canada then you don’t need an ECA, as an ECA is to compare and authenticate foreign qualifications with the Canadian educational framework.
Do I need an ECA for a Federal Skilled Trades Application?
No. Federal Skilled Trade applicants do not require an Educational Credential Assessment and the ECA program does not assess trade related training. FST applicants instead require a trade certificate or trade qualification issued by a Canadian Authority. This is usually by means of having their trade skills and education assessed. It usually requires a practical examination and interview in person. Of course, that trade certificate is only required if the applicant does not have a job offer.
However, some tradespeople have completed diplomas or degrees outside their trade training and these courses qualify for an ECA. An ECA, even though not essential to submit your Express Entry application, will earn you more points in the next round of the immigration process when you are issued your Comprehensive Ranking Score (CRS). So if you do have a credential that qualifies for an ECA, it is wise to obtain it to gain the benefit of extra points on your application.
Do I need an ECA for a Canada Experience Class Application?
There is no education requirement for the Canadian Experience Class. Obtaining an Educational Credential Assessment is optional for CEC applicants but it increases your points score after you submit your express entry application and thus increases the chances of you being selected from the pool.
You won’t get points for education without an ECA. So our guidance is, if you have a credential that qualifies for an Educational Credential Assessment , you should get your ECA for it.
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Which organizations can give me an Educational Credential Assessment?
The Canadian Government has Authorized a number of Organizations to conduct the Educational Credential Assessments. The Authorized organizations are listed below. Each organization does essentially the same process, so you are able to choose which you prefer. We will discuss the process for World Education Services in this program.
- World Education Services (WES),
- International Credential Assessment Service of Canada (ICAS),
- Comparative Education Service (CES), University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies
- International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS)
- International Credential Evaluation Service.
If you have credentials specifically in Medical or Pharmacy then you will be assessed by the designated professional body for your discipline which are:
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Which organization should I choose to do my Educational Credential Assessment?
You can choose whichever you like. WES is very good in that the online system is easy to use, it is cost effective and has very few issues with obtaining ECA’s. This chapter will cover the WES process, however the other assessment organizations will have similar processes.
Which educational achievements can I obtain an Educational Credential Assessment for?
Further Education Courses from a Diploma up to a Doctorate Degree.
What if my Education Credential is not in the same field as the NOC code I am applying under?
If you have further education in areas that are different from the occupation you are applying to immigrate under, it is fine.
The points are awarded for further education regardless of whether it matches your current occupation or not.
What information is needed to apply for my ECA?
You will generally need your personal details and a scan of your passport, your credential information (which course you studied, the dates you took your course from and until) and the information of the Educational Institution you took the course through (name of the Institution).
You will also need documentation to support this, including your academic transcripts and sometimes your degree certificate.
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How do I submit my Educational Credential Assessment application?
First go to the WES website here https://www.wes.org/ and click the button that says “Get an Evaluation”. On the next page you will be asked “Where will you use your evaluation?” Click on “Canada”.
On the next page you will be asked to choose between evaluation options. You want the “ECA Application for IRCC”.
You will then be taken to a page where you will give your email address to set up a new WES account to start your ECA. Make sure you use an email you have access to as they will send a verification code to the email you provide.
You will be asked your personal details, such as your name, date of birth, address and contact numbers.
Now we are on to your credentials. You wont need your graduation certificates or transcripts at this stage – only your degree name, institution name (most will appear in a scroll down menu once you start typing) and the dates you attended. Fill these in.
** you will note the system states you only need to gain an Educational Credential Assessment for your highest achieved degree. This is correct in one regard, in that you only receive points for your highest award attained, however, please submit every diploma or degree you have completed as in the Express Entry application you will be asked about every course and asked if you have an ECA to support it. So even though it won’t earn points at this stage, it’s much easier to obtain your ECA for all your degrees / higher education that qualifies.
***Also note, it does not cost extra to have multiple credentials to be assessed, you are charged on an application basis. So, if you submit three of your credentials at once it is the same price as if you submit one.
However, if you submit one and then come back and want to submit more at a late date, you will have to pay for another assessment as you are making another application. It makes sense to get all your credentials that qualify assessed at once.
After you have submitted your credentials, you will be asked if you want to pay for extra couriering, generally you do not need this as they will send you an original via post and also send you a digital copy which will be able to be uploaded to your application for Express Entry.
You will also note that WES will make your Educational Credential Assessment available to the IRCC, this is great as it is another way the Department of Immigration can check on documents directly.
You have now finished your Educational Credential Assessment assessment and will need to pay. After which your required document list will be provided to you along with your Applicant number for WES.
What is the cost of the WES Educational Credential Assessment?
$220 Canadian Dollars plus $10 Canadian Dollars for standard postage
What if I have more than one course to be assessed?
As stated above, the one charge of $220 plus postage remains the same even if you have multiple credentials that qualify for a WES Educational Credential Assessment so long as you include them on the one application.
Why do I only find out my list of required documents to provide after I submit and pay for my application with WES?
This is because WES requires different documents depending on where you went to University.
If you attended an institution that WES has created a private link with (and there are more than 7000 institutions that have), you may only need your results transcript provided, and that can be done by your Educational Institution via their directly online portal with WES.
Other institutions have not got this relationship developed, they may have to provide the transcript of your studies by post and then you may need to upload a copy of your graduation certificate and or a translation into English or French.
These are the usual documents needed by WES. Given that each degree and institution is different and not all have a direct relationship with WES, it’s best to wait to see your complete application before WES tells you exactly what you need to provide for each credential.
Once I have paid, how do I provide my required educational documents to WES?
Once you have paid and received your required document list from WES, you will have 1 type of document that must be provided to WES directly via your educational institution, and other documents that you can upload yourself into the WES portal. In the document list there will be an upload button.
Documents you can provide yourself generally include your graduation certificate if required, and any certified translations you might require.
Documents that MUST be provided directly by your Educational Institution to WES are usually your academic transcripts. There are clear instructions on how your institution can do this.
- Option 1 is they can upload it directly if they are part of the connected online systems between the institutions and WES.
- Option 2 is they can print a copy of your transcript and seal it in an envelope and sign or stamp across the envelope flap. Then post it directly to WES.
- Option 3 is they can print a copy of your transcript and seal it in an envelope and sign or stamp across the envelope flap. Then they can post it to you. You then send it on to WES without opening the sealed envelope they sent.
Please note, these are the only options available
If you send WES a copy of your transcript yourself, it will not be accepted. If the envelope they received is not sealed and signed or stamped by the University across the flap, it will not be accepted.
If it occurs, the only solution is to have it sent again following the correct postal instructions.
You will know this has occurred as you will receive a notification when you log into your WES account to check on your application progress.
WES will give you a document you can download and complete to help your Educational Institution to know what is required and it includes all the information needed. This document should be included in the envelope with your transcript when it is sent to WES, so that WES knows which applicant the document is associated with.
Why are certain documents only accepted if sent directly from the Education Institution to WES?
This is to reduce fraud. Canada has people applying for permanent residency from all over the world. The Canadian immigration program is very generous and desirable and it leads some people to try and create fraudulent records to improve their immigration application.
Requiring your academic transcript to be provided directly by the Educational Institution helps reduce this risk to the entire program.
What if my documents are in a language other than English or French?
Your document list will state that if you have to provide documents to WES they need to be in English or French and so if they are in another language they will need to be translated by a certified translator and stamped by them. Both a copy of the original and the translation need to be provided.
What if the name on my credentials is different from my current name?
If you have changed your name since you received your credentials, or the name on your credentials differs from your passport, you will need to provide your change of name documentation.
This may be due to marriage (so your marriage certificate will be required to show this), or you may have changed your name separately (your name change documents will be required to show this). Again, if these documents are in a language other than English or French they will need to be officially translated.
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How long does it take for my Educational Credential Assessment to be provided?
If your University is on the linked online system, ECA’s can be provided within a week to 10 days after they receive the documents from the Educational Institution through their system.
If your University needs to post your transcripts, this will take longer. It can take some weeks to receive by post depending on where the document is coming from. Once received, it will be checked for envelope compliance and that it was indeed sent directly from the Institution. Your transcript will then be placed on your file and the assessment can then take place.
This can take up to 2 months from start to finish, however, most are completed in around 30-45 working days.
How do I know what stage my ECA is at in terms of processing ?
You can log into your WES account, and at the top, in bold writing, you will see the status of your application. It may say “On Hold – Waiting for documentation”, which simply means they are still waiting for documentation.
It may say “On Hold – Documentation not received” This will mean one of the documents has not been received in the correct format. If you scroll down you will see each document you provided and if it has been accepted or not.
You will clearly see in red a message regarding the document that has been rejected or not received as required. There will be an information icon beside it – click that and you will be given more specific information about what has happened and what to do to rectify it.
If you are applying for multiple credentials to be assessed, your ECA won’t be released until all of them are complete.
What do I do if WES claim my documents were not received?
Unfortunately, you will need to have them sent again.
What do I do if WES claims my transcript was not received correctly from my university?
In this case the only way to fix it is to ask your University to send it again, and try and get them to focus on ensuring the envelope is signed and stamped correctly.
How can I contact WES if there is a problem?
You can contact WES by phone with your application / reference number. Their email is on their website and there is contact information in your WES account.
How will I receive my Educational Credential Assessment from WES?
Once your ECA is complete, your status in your account will be updated to “Assessment Complete” and you will receive an email with your report attached, you will also be able to download a digital copy in you WES account, and you will be sent a hard copy in the post.
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Editor in Chief - EmigrateCanada.com
Dr. Montague John (PhD), is one of the World’s leading Canadian Immigration experts. Affectionately known as “Monty” he established EmigrateCanada.com more than 25 years ago and it has grown to be one of the most reliable sources of Canada Immigration information.
In 2022 Dr. Montague John (PhD) published his book, “How to Immigrate to Canada” as EmigrateCanada.com, which featured as Bestseller in its Category for several weeks. Montague co-ordinates all the qualified contributors at EmigrateCanada.com and serves as Editor-in-Chief.