Best Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) in Canada

As a foreign national, you need an ECA report to validate the certificate from a foreign school.

Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) is necessary when you want to immigrate to Canada. For studying or immigrating to Canada purposes, CES, WES, ICES, and IQAS are IRCC-designated organizations in charge of issuing ECA reports to foreign nationals.

For the most benefits, you need to opt for the best Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) for immigration to Canada between CES, WES, ICES, and IQAS. Some credential assessment organizations have faster turn around time, better customer relations and may be cheaper compared to others.

What is Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) in Canada?

Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) is an evaluation report used to compare international credentials against the credentials offered by Canadian post-secondary institutions.

As a foreign national with educational documents obtained in schools outside Canada, you need an ECA report to validate the certificate you got for completing an academic program in your country.

Moreover, your Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report should state that your international credential has the a comparably equivalent value to a Canadian certificate. It is on this basis that your transcripts may be accepted for admission and immigration purposes.

Functions of Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) reports

ECA reports serve various functions and benefits to applicants, especially when applying to study or immigrate to Canada. For this reason, the type of credential assessment a candidate opt for is important. An ECA report for work purposes may not be accepted for other purposes like immigration.

At the planning stage, you need to consider the purpose of the ECA report before applying through one of the IRCC-designated ECA organizations. Below are the functions of Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) reports in Canada.

#1. ECA for immigration purposes

ECA reports are an important requirement during Canada’s immigration processes, including but not limited to Express Entry.

Inasmuch as you completed your studies in a foreign country, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will request that you provide an assessment report to facilitate your foreign certificate verification.

Moreover, you need to get an ECA to qualify for Federal Skilled Workers Program (FSWP), under Express Entry. Provincial nominee programs also ask for ECAs. A successful result verification qualifies candidates for points in the Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).

#2. ECA reports for employment purposes

An ECA report is applicable when you want to apply for a job in Canada from overseas. Although an ECA for employment purposes does not enforce you to work within your discipline, it is a key input in LMIA process in Canada. Remember, you can only obtain an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report from an IRCC-designated organization.

#3. ECA Reports for admission into schools

Depending on the school you’re applying to, the level of study, country of origin and the kind of program chosen, ECA reports for academic purposes may be required. Check with your university or college during the admission process to find out what kind of requirements are necessary – and what kind of ECA you may need to complete.

Now let’s explore various options for getting an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) to immigrate to, work or study in Canada.

IRCC-designated ECA organizations

Below are IRCC-designated organizations that issue ECA reports to foreign nationals, in no particular order.

  1. Comparative Education Service (CES).
  2. World Education Services (WES).
  3. International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES).
  4. International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS)

Comparative Education Service (CES)

CES is an IRCC-designated organization run by the University of Toronto (U of T) School of Continuing Studies. IRCC designated CES to start evaluating foreign certificates and issuing ECA reports on April 17, 2013.

  • Application fee for CES ECA: $210 Canadian Dollars for each academic certificate
  • Processing time for CES ECA report: For general use, it takes CES about 6 weeks to process ECA – from the time an applicant’s supporting documents are received.
    • ECA for Electronic/Digital institutional documents takes between 15-20 weeks.
    • Physical institutional documents takes about 25-30 weeks.
    • CES takes about 3 weeks to renew an expired immigration report and 4 weeks to upgrade a General ECA report for Immigration.

Note: These processing timeframes do not include document delivery times.

World Education Services (WES)

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) designated the World Educational Services, WES to issue ECA reports since April 17, 2013. WES is a leading credential assessment organization worldwide.

Thus, you can use an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) from WES to satisfy Canada’s immigration requirements. WES is also a go-to ECA firm for students and graduates all over the world.

  • Application fee for World Education Services (WES) ECA: $220 Canadian Dollars, with exemption to delivery fees.
  • Processing time of World Education Services (WES) ECA: As stated on WES website, typical processing time for World Education Services (WES) evaluations is approximately 35 business days from the day that a completed application (including all required documents, information, and full payment of fees) is received by WES and compiled for internal review and processing.

International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES)

On August 6, 2015, IRCC designated ICES to serve foreign nationals in proofing the worthiness of their foreign certificates to Canadian academic certificates.

Thus, International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES) issues Education Credential Assessment (ECA) reports to foreign nationals for various purposes, including immigration.

Furthermore, ICES has an affiliation with the Alliance of Credential Evaluation Services of Canada (ACESC).

  • Application fee for ICES ECA: $230 Canadian Dollars for each academic certificate
  • Processing time for ICES ECA: It takes up to 16 weeks to get ICES ECA for immigration purposes.

International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS):

IRCC designated IQAS to take on ECAs for foreign nationals on August 6, 2015. Besides, Educational Credential Assessment (ECAs) from IQAS can be used to immigrate to Canada through Express Entry.

After immigration to Canada, you can still use your IQAS ECA report for job applications in Canada.

  • Application fee for IQAS ECA: $200 Canadian Dollars, excluding delivery fees.
  • IQAS ECA processing time: This aspect answers your question if you intend to ask, “how long does IQAS take for ECA”.
    • ECA processing time for IQSA using 1 certificate: In this case, it usually takes up to 14 weeks.
    • IQSA ECA processing time using multiple certificates: It takes a minimum of 18 weeks to process an ECA with IQAS using multiple foreign certificates.

Comparing ECA reports from CES, WES, ICES, and IQAS for immigration purposes

We have already examined each of the IRCC-designated organizations for Educational Credential Assessments (ECA) in Canada. In our analysis above, we discussed the processing time and application fees for CES, WES, ICES, and IQAS.

Each of the ECA companies discussed about are best in their own way – each offering unique but similar services to their clients. It’s up to the candidate to choose which is best in their circumstance – using processing time and fees as consideration.

Generally, WES is more popular among students worldwide while academic professionals such as university professors tend to choose CES for Educational Credential Assessments. ICES, and IQAS are equally growing in popularity.

Next steps after getting an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report

After receiving your ECA report from the IRCC-designated organization, you need to do the following:

  • Secure the original copies of your documents.
  • Update your Express Entry profile with the ECA reference number.
  • Wait for ITA (if eligible) or for further instruction from IRCC

IRCC-designated professional bodies that issue an ECA report to work in Canada

  • Medical Council of Canada: for specialist physician (NOC 3111), as well as a general practitioner (NOC 3112)
  • Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada: for pharmacists (NOC 3131).
Frequently Asked Questions about CES, WES, ICES, and IQAS

Do I need an ECA for studies completed in a Canadian post-secondary institution?

No, ECA is not required if you graduated from a Canadian university or college.

Which of my foreign certificate needs evaluation?

Generally, your highest education certificate needs to evaluation by an IRCC-designated organization. Some ECA verification providers may request all your academic documents.

Can I get points for multiple foreign certificates?

Yes, you can use an ECA to receive points for each of your foreign certificates by getting an ECA for each of them. However, one of your certificates must include a minimum of a 3-year academic program.

What is the validity period of Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)?

All ECA reports are valid for 5 years starting from the issuance date. This is consistent with IRCC policy on credential assessments for immigration purposes.

Which of my certificate should I send to ECA?

Your highest certificate and transcripts from a foreign post-secondary institution.

What is not included in an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report?

Your ECA report will not include information on your Canadian certificates, primary education records, professional training, as well as your non-academic certificates.

What professional body will process my ECA if I want to work in Canada as a physician?

Medical Council of Canada provide ECA reports for people in medical professions.

What organization is in charge of ECAs for pharmacists who need a license to work in Canada?

Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada provide ECA reports for people in pharmaceutical professions.

Is my immigration certain after receiving an ECA report?

Decisions on Canadian permanent residency applications are determined by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). You will be assessed based on your points (Express Entry), as well as immigration requirements that you were able to satisfy.

What is the cost of getting an IQAS ECA report with many certificates?

IQAS ECA application fee using many certificates costs the same as one. However, the application fee is $200 Canadian Dollars.

Should the designated organization send my Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report to IRCC?

Usually you will need to provide information about your assessment to IRCC via your express entry profile.

What happens if my ECA report demonstrates that my foreign certificate is unequal to a Canadian certificate?

You will be unable to meet Express Entry (FWSP) academic requirement if your ECA indicates that an unrecognized institution issued your foreign certificate or if it is not equivalent to a Canadian certificate. Thus, you will be ineligible to get a point under the Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).

Conclusion

We have reviewed top 4 providers of Educational Credential Assessment services in Canada for studying, working and immigration purposes. We hope you found this information useful. Good luck with your applications!