Canada TOEFL Requirements - Updated - - Canada Immigration Newsletter
canada toefl requirements

Canada TOEFL Requirements – Updated

Canada TOEFL requirements are intended to ensure candidates’ proficiency in English, one of Canada’s official languages in addition to French. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is accepted for certain immigration programs, student visa applications and for admission by Canadian designated learning institution (DLI). DLIs are colleges, universities, and other educational institutes that are allowed by the government to welcome international students.

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

In addition to opening the door to your desired learning institution, immigration plan and visa, 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. Canada TOEFL requirements are primarily for people desiring to locate in English-based provinces.

You may pre-qualify for a Canada immigration program.


Strong English or French skills will help with:

  • getting a job
  • going to school
  • accessing services
  • 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.

The Language Portal of Canada has a variety of tools and resources to improve your language skills.


Canada TOEFL requirements – International Students

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.  TOEFL is accepted by all of Canadian universities and several colleges. TOEFL results are available within 6 days.

The TOEFL iBT (“Internet-based Test”) is usually available in over 150 countries but the availability of the test has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. New test dates are expected to become more available in locations around the world. ETS is temporarily offering the TOEFL Special Home Edition iBT to international students in every country where it runs tests except for mainland China and Iran. Results are available after 6-10 days.

Alternatives to TOEFL for International Students

There are other options available to international students. For instance, there are tests that are offered by individual institutions themselves, such as the University of Toronto, and McGill University The Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL) test is operated by Paragon Testing Enterprises. It is accepted by over 180 universities and colleges across Canada, including all English-speaking universities and 82 per cent of English-speaking colleges. C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency exams offered by Cambridge Assessment English  are accepted by over 200 schools in Canada including nearly all public universities. The Duolingo English Test is accepted by almost 140 Canadian post-secondary institutions. It can be completed in just 1 hour and results are available in 2 days. The test is administered online. The IELTS Academic test is operated by three partners: IDP Education, the British Council, and Cambridge Assessment English. The test is accepted by up to 400 Canadian universities and colleges. It is currently available in over 30 countries, but is usually administered in more than 140 countries. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the three partners recently introduced the IELTS Indicator as a temporary measure to help international students complete their English test online. IELTS Indicator is taken online from the candidate’s home.

Canada TOEFL requirements – General immigration

The preferred English language tests for other immigration purposes such as permanent residency as a skilled worker under Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) stream, are the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP).


TOEFL tests may however help you to strengthen your language proficiency and score highly in these other tests. For example, international students who had obtained the required TOEFL score for student visa and school admission will go on to obtain a Post-Graduation Work Permit and then apply for Canadian permanent resident status. They will need to take another language test for their PR application, and the two English tests accepted by IRCC are the IELTS General and the CELPIP. The initial TOEFL tests and the time already spent learning, working, and socializing in Canada give them even stronger proficiency when they have to take the IELTS or CELPIP.

Language skills for work

The English or French language 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.

Language classes

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:

Testing your current language skills before you register

Before you start a class, you should get tested to find out your current language skills. Visit a language assessment centre in your city and tell them you’re interested in taking language classes.


You can do a self-assessment test to find out your current language level before doing a formal language test. See also Language Training for Canada.

English language tests and certificates other than TOEFL

French language tests and certificates:

You may pre-qualify for a Canada immigration program.