For Canada immigration TOEFL is only accepted for student visa applications. But TOEFL is the most popular English language proficiency test for foreign students admission. More than 80% of graduate programs in Canada prefer the TOEFL test over other English-language tests. Canadian universities receive more TOEFL scores than all other English-language tests combined.
The preferred tests for other immigration purposes such as permanent residency as a skilled worker under Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) stream, are discussed below. TOEFL tests may however help you to strengthen your language proficiency and score highly in these other tests.
Canada has two official languages: English and French. English is the most commonly spoken language in most provinces and territories.
French is the main language spoken in Quebec and in some areas of Ontario, New Brunswick and Manitoba.
There are also francophone communities in all provinces and territories across Canada. Quebec has a large minority of residents who speak English.
The importance of language skills
English or French language skills are very important to help you settle in Canada. You may choose to focus on learning or improving one or the other. This will likely depend on which of the two languages most people speak in the area where you live.
Strong English or French skills will help with:
getting a job
going to school
helping your children with school work
meeting and talking to people
getting your Canadian citizenship
Take steps to improve your French or English while you are still in your home country and as soon as you arrive in Canada.
If you already speak an official language, think about learning the other. In many parts of Canada, being able to speak both is an advantage for finding a job and taking part in your community.
You can also find out about these tests from some government language testing centres or private language schools.
IELTS for Proficiency for English
If you plan to take the IELTS for English Language proficiency, you need to score minimum CLB 7 (Level 6 in all four abilities, i.e. Speaking, Reading, Listening (6-7), and Reading.
CELPIP FOR Proficiency for English
If you are taking CELPIP you require score CLB 7 (Level 7 in all four language abilities i.e. Speaking, Reading, Listening, and Reading.
NOTE: Canada’s Express Entry System is based on points awarded for several factors under IRCC’s Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The higher your overall CRS score the higher your chances of receiving an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residency. As such you must try to achieve higher language proficiency score above the minimum (e.g. aim for CLB 8 or 9). Higher language proficiency level will increase your CRS score Express Entry system, and consequently, your chances of receiving ITA.
Language skills for work
The English or French skills you needed to be eligible to immigrate may not be strong enough for you to work in your field.
Most regulated jobs and trades require you to:
be fluent in English or French
have a strong knowledge of all work-related language
understand phrases or expressions used, some of which may be unique to Canada
Find out about the language requirements you must meet to work in your field. If needed, contact your regulatory body to learn about the type of language test that will be used to evaluate or assess you.
You may want to consider taking language classes or looking for bridging programs that offer both language training and work experience.
You can take language classes to learn English or French once in Canada. Federal, provincial and territorial governments across Canada fund language classes. You’ll need to pay for private language classes.
To find information about other language training programs funded by the provinces or territories: