For those intending to apply for immigration to Canada via Express Entry, you will require what is known as an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA). This is a document that demonstrates if your degree, diploma, certificate or other credential is both valid and equivalent to a Canadian credential at the same level. ECA’s should be obtained only by designated organizations or professional bodies that have approval from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
What is an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)?
An Educational Credential Assessment serves the purpose of verifying international degrees, diplomas and certificates in order to assess the validity of the credential as well as compare it to similar Canadian credentials. A valid and equivalent credential is important for the ECA submission into Express Entry profiles.
An ECA is a necessary component of your Express Entry profile and further, the ECA report can help when searching for jobs. However, the ECA does not guarantee you a job in a particular field and at a particular level, nor does it replace licensing associated with particular jobs in Canada.
Who Needs an ECA?
ECA’s are necessary for those who have completed their education outside of Canada. You’ll need an ECA in both of these cases: to be eligible for the Federal Skilled Workers Program (Express Entry) or to earn points for education received outside of Canada for the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Additionally, you can earn points for your spouse or common-law partner should they be coming to Canada with you.
In many cases, you’ll only need an ECA for your highest credential; for example, if you possess both a bachelor’s and master’s degree you only need your master’s degree assessed by ECA. With that being said, should you wish to earn more points you should have both credentials or more assessed.
How Can You Get an ECA?
Your ECA will need to be done by an organization or a professional body designated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada; once this organization or professional body is chosen, they will inform you on document submission so you can have your credentials assessed. Further, the organization or professional body will provide you with a report that tells you what your education is equal to in Canada.
There are two main options for organizations and professional bodies who can perform ECA’s: they are designated organizations and designated organizations based on occupations. Designated organizations include the following organizations in Canada:
- Comparative Education Service – University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies
- International Credential Assessment Service of Canada
- World Education Services
- International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS)
- International Credential Evaluation Service
Meanwhile, certain professions while have their own designated organizations based on the occupation in question. In this case, you should check in with your employer or the regulatory body for your profession in order to determine the next steps for your ECA.
Finally, for a select couple of occupations, particular professional bodies must complete your ECA. Below are both of those occupations along with the professional body who should perform your ECA.
- Physicians – Medical Council of Canada
- Pharmacist – Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada
Understanding your ECA Report
Once you receive your ECA report, it must show that your credential is valid and equal to a completed Canadian credential of the same level. If your credential is both valid and equivalent to a Canadian credential of the same level, you must include the result in your Express Entry profile.
If it is the case that your credential is not valid or not equivalent to a Canadian credential at the same level you will not be able to include this result on your Express Entry profile. In this case, you will not meet the education requirement of the Federal Skilled Worker’s Program and you will not receive any points either.
The ECA is a key component of your Express Entry profile; this report determines if your foreign educational credential is both valid and equivalent to the same-level Canadian credential. The ECA is also vital to helping you earn points for both you or your spouse/common-law partner that intends to immigrate to Canada. Be sure when getting your ECA that you are receiving an ECA from an approved organization or body, do note the differences depending on the occupation in question!