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Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB)

During your Canadian immigration application process, you will come across this term: Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB). While it may sound intimidating there is no need to panic because it’s simply the charts used by Canadian authorities to determine your language proficiency for immigration purposes.

One of the biggest requirements is to be able to efficiently communicate in either English or French, Canada’s two official languages. The CLB shows whether your language abilities, according to language test results, meet the language requirements of an immigration program. Curious to learn more about how the CLB works? Keep reading!

What is a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB)?

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A Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) is a language test equivalency chart that is used for permanent resident applications. The CLB system converts scores from the four federal language tests (listed below) into the same equivalencies, so they can be compared to each other.

Each Canadian immigration program has specific language requirements that you should meet to qualify for the program. For example, those applying under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) must have a CLB score of 7 or higher in all four language abilities (listening, speaking, writing, and reading).

So, after taking a designated language test such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) you can easily convert your test results by using the CLB chart designed for the particular testing organization and determine your CLB scores.

The Canadian Language Benchmark Charts

You can determine the equivalencies between the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLBs) and the results of language tests from the four designated testing organizations below:

Designated Testing Organizations

  • Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP);
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS);
  • Test d’évaluation de français pour le Canada (TEF Canada); and
  • Test de connaissance du français pour le Canada (TCF Canada).

Calculate your CLB levels

Discover your CLB levels for reading, writing, speaking, and listening with the easy-to-follow charts below. This will work best if you have your test results at hand to compare your test marks to the CLB equivalents. For example, if you scored 6.5 for reading on your IELTS test then your CLB level for reading is 8.

CLB charts for Canada

How Do the Canadian Language Benchmarks Work?

There are 10 CLB Levels. The higher someone scores in their language test, the higher their CLB levels and the more points they will receive in points assessments and ranking systems for immigration.

Keep in mind that there are different CLB language level requirements allocated to each immigration program. Generally, the highest minimum CLB levels are reserved for immigration programs that are designed for skilled applicants that fall within the National Occupational Classification (NOC) A or 0.

The CLB levels can differ by occupation (like above) and in some instances, applicants are required to have higher CLB levels for specific language abilities such as speaking and listening. See the table below for real examples.

Express Entry CLB Levels

The Express Entry system manages the three biggest Canadian immigration programs mentioned below. The programs are designed as permanent pathways for skilled foreign workers to enter the Canadian workforce. The minimum CLB levels required for each of the programs are as follows:


Express Entry Programs
ProgramRequired CLB scores
Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)CLB 7 or higher
Federal Skilled Trade Program (FSTP)CLB 5 or higher for speaking and listening
CLB 4 or higher for reading and writing
Canadian Experience Class (CEC)CLB 7 or higher if your NOC is 0 or A
CLB 5 or higher if your NOC is B

FAQs: Canadian Language Benchmarks

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1. Where to take the Canadian Language Benchmark test?

The Canadian Language Benchmark system is not a test. Instead, it converts your test results from an approved testing organization for immigration purposes. You can book a language test at a testing center near you. Check this website to find your nearest IELTS testing center, one of the most popular English tests for Canadian immigration.

2. How much does IELTS cost?

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer since many IELTS test fees depend on the testing center and the country in which the test is being taken. The IELTS exam fees can range between USD $140 - $310.

3. How do you calculate your overall CLB level?

Use this tool to calculate your overall CLB level for IELTS tests.

Open Doors to Canada With CanadianVisa.org

There are over 100 immigration and visa options available and the majority of them have their own unique CLB level requirements. At CanadianVisa.org, we can help you find a program that suits your language abilities as well as your personal and career history. Simply, enter your details in the form below to start your online eligibility evaluation.

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