Last updated on September 14th, 2021
Last Updated on September 14, 2021 by Steven Meurrens
An Educational Credential Assessment is a report by a designated company company that evaluates an individual’s foreign education and compares it to a Canadian equivalent. It is necessary to be eligible for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, to get education points in Express Entry and for certain provincial nomination programs.
The designated organizations are:
- Comparative Education Service: University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies;
- International Credential Assessment Service of Canada;
- World Education Services;
- International Qualifications Assessment Service;
- International Credential Evaluations Service;
- Medical Council of Canada; and
- Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada.
The Medical Council of Canada has been designated only for those applicants who intend to apply with “specialist physician” or “general practitioner/family physician” as their primary occupation in their application.
I have browsed the websites of each of the above agencies, and produced the table below. Getting educational credentials assessed is going to be a very time consuming process. Right now the World Education Services website strongly suggests that it is faster, cheaper, and less document heavy than the other two organizations. However, I would not be surprised if competition forces the other two organizations to change, and applicants are advised to check all websites to determine which one agency would be best for them.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) will follow what a designated entity states in its Educational Credential Assessment (an “ECA”). In Ijaz v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2015 FC 67, the Federal Court of Canada affirmed that that visa officers can simply follow exactly what an ECA, stating that:
In my view, based on the foregoing, it was open to the Officer to interpret the WES educational assessment and the IRP Regulations as he did, being that the WES equivalency finding of two years of undergraduate study and two years of professional study were not the equivalent of a Canadian Educational Credential. The WES educational assessment did not state that that the Applicant’s credentials were equivalent to Canadian educational credentials, and the Officer relied on this as conclusive evidence as required by s. 75(8) of the IRP Regulations. Thus, while the Officer had discretion in interpreting ambiguous language in the WES, he had no discretion on the points to be awarded once the meaning of the report had been ascertained.
For example, as indicated in the correspondence below between an immigration representative and the IRCC Immigration Representatives Inbox, if an individual completes a one-year program abroad but an ECA states that its Canadian equivalent is only one semester, the individual will not get credit for a one year program.
However, as the Federal Court stated in Gill v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2021 FC 841, an ECA deals with educational equivalency and does not necessarily denote whether a school’s programs had been retrospectively withdrawn. In this case, the court upheld a visa officer’s determination that an applicant committed misrepresentation in stating that they had a degree from Karnataka State Open University, when all distance-learning degrees granted by that school had been withdrawn.