What is ECA Canada? How to Validate Your Qualifications in Canada

What is ECA Canada? How to Validate Your Qualifications in Canada

DEC 15, 2022



The time has come, and you have decided to further pursue your career in the Great White North, where a wealth of Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) is highly appealing to most international students.

Canada is home to highly prestigious universities and colleges offering scholarships and courses with internationally recognized qualifications. International students can freely venture off into their student journey, but to do this, you must understand the processes involved when applying to immigrate to Canada.

Upon your research, you may have heard about the term Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) and wondered: what is ECA?

In this article, we look into what an ECA is and unravel the steps one must take to obtain an ECA to validate their educational credentials.

What is ECA?

An ECA is required when international students, professional graduates and skilled workers must undergo an assessment to validate their foreign or any other credential and to prove that it is equivalent to a Canadian credential.

Obtaining an ECA is vital for immigration purposes. Let us dive into how you can get an ECA.

Where do I Get an ECA?

You can obtain an ECA at a designated organization, as assessments will only be accepted if ECAs have been obtained by the organization listed below. The organization will evaluate your education, and you will receive a report that tells you what your education is equal to based on Canadian standards.

Note that assessments will only be accepted if issued on or after the date the organization was designated to do ECA reports. Alternatively, you can contact the organization to have the report re-issued.

As mentioned above, the organization must be on the list of designated organizations. Assessments obtained from any other organization that is not on the list of designated organizations will not be accepted.

Below is the list of designated organizations, as per the information on the official Canadian Government website.

  • Comparative Education Service: University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies: designated April 17, 2013.
  • International Credential Assessment Service of Canada: designated April 17, 2013.
  • World Education Services (WES): designated April 17, 2013.
  • International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS): designated August 6, 2015.
  • International Credential Evaluation Service: designated August 6, 2015.

Processing Times and Validity of ECA

The evaluation process can take weeks or even months, depending on the completeness of your application and if you provided all the right documents. Failure to provide the right documents will cause a delay in processing times, and your application will be returned to you.

However, the World Education Services (WES) is by far the most popular designated organization due to its fast processing times. According to the WES website, the ECA is valid for five years from the date of issue.

You can contact the organization if you are unsure which organization to choose. Alternatively, you can contact an immigration expert to advise you throughout the process.

Which Credentials do I Need for Assessment?

The following pointers below are relevant to bear in mind when applying for your ECA:

  • You will be assessed on your highest level of education. In other words, if you have a Master’s degree, which is your highest level, you will not require an assessment for your Bachelor’s degree.
  • If you require an assessment for more than one or two credentials, you can earn additional points once you get each credential evaluated.
  • If your post-secondary credential is not equivalent to a Canadian credential, you could have your secondary credential evaluated, earning you points for completing secondary school.

How to Obtain an ECA via the Express Entry System

The Express Entry system is a points-driven pathway that yields quick immigration results. The system operates on a

The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) where applicants can score points on factors such as:

Below, we list the factors that determine eligibility and increase CRS score:

  • If you possess a Canadian qualification.
  • Have secured a valid job offer in Canada.
  • Received a successful nomination from a Canadian territory/province.
  • If you have a sibling who is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident.
  • Have the ability to speak English and/or French well.

The above factors will be highly favoured by the Canadian Government, therefore increasing your chances of receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA) directly to the stream.

For your convenience, learn more about creating an Express Entry profile here.

Since the Express Entry system is a popular immigration pathway, we will look at how to obtain an ECA through Express Entry.

Once you receive your evaluated ECA from the designated organizations mentioned above, you will receive an ECA report demonstrating that your foreign credential is equivalent to a Canadian credential. The report and reference you receive play a vital role as it needs to be included in your Express Entry profile. Once you receive your report, you will receive directions from your organization on submitting it.

The Steps: Submit Your Canada ECA Report Through the Express Entry

You received your Canada ECA report, and now you have to submit your report via the Express Entry system. Kindly note that the designated body will not be responsible for submitting your report, as this is your responsibility. Below we break down the steps:

Step 1: Enter the ECA Result Onto Your Express Entry

Enter the results of your Canada ECA report, which you received from the designated organization, onto your Express Entry profile. Other provinces/territories will see this, which may increase your chances of receiving an ITA.

Step 2: Gather the Necessary Documents

Gather the necessary documents in advance, especially documents that may take longer to obtain and ensure you keep your original documents safe.

Step 3: Upload Copies of Your Documents

We advise that you upload copies of your documents which will be visible when you get an invite to apply for permanent residence.

Step 4: Know How To Navigate The System

Know how to enter more than one credential onto my Express Entry profile. Remember to enter your highest level of education, but you will require a new field every time you submit a different credential - this is relevant to those who had more than one credential assessed. After that, you can click “save and add,” and the previously filled fields will be blank.

Note that the fields have not disappeared. However, you can check your added credentials in the “Education history” section.

You can explore our resources on what to expect after you submit your application here.

Our professional Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) can offer you the necessary guidance and assistance throughout the process. Get in touch today.


How Much Does an ECA Cost?

As per the information on the official Canadian Government website, the ECA will cost around $200, which can incur additional costs, depending on the type of ECA and delivery cost. In addition, different designated organizations may be subject to different processing costs or fees.

Is an ECA Mandatory for Express Entry?

Yes. You must have an ECA and an ECA report which must be entered into your Express Entry profile. This can earn you additional points.

How Long Does ECA Canada Take?

World Education Services (WES) has the fastest processing times. Still, even so, WES or any other designated organization can take weeks or months should you fail to submit all relevant documents.