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School of Continuing Studies | University of Toronto

Comparative Education Service (CES)

Academic Credential Assessment

Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section. We have compiled these FAQs to answer your most common questions about applying for an educational credential assessment (ECA) which may be required under various Canadian Immigration Programs.

CES will not answer any specific questions about whether or not you are eligible to apply for immigration under any particular program, or questions about immigration in general. We encourage you to visit the IRCC website for up to date information regarding the Canadian Immigration Programs and determine which programs require an ECA Report.

About the Educational Credential Assessment Report

  1. Why do I need my credentials assessed?

    You need to have your credentials assessed if you intend to apply to immigrate to Canada under several immigration classes. Visit the IRCC website for up to date information to determine which programs require an ECA Report. CES is designated by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada as an approved ECA service provider.

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  2. What is included in the educational credential assessment package?

    Your completed CES ECA Report package for Canadian Immigration Programs includes:

    • Two original copies of your ECA Report (one for you and one for you to submit to IRCC)
    • An electronic (unofficial) copy of your ECA report
    • Secure electronic storage of your ECA report – viewable and required only by Canadian Immigration officials
    • one-time $200 (CAD) tuition discount toward any course offered by University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies

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  3. Why should I choose the Comparative Education Service at the School of Continuing Studies?

    CES wants to support your commitment to continuous learning. Individuals who pay for a CES educational credential assessment report qualify for the following:

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  4. What information will be included in my CES educational credential assessment report for Canadian Immigration programs?

    A completed CES educational credential assessment report includes:

    • Your unique CIC Client Reference Number
    • Your name and date of birth
    • A list of all documents reviewed in the assessment process
    • The name of the academic institution(s) where you completed your studies
    • The name of the award(s) that you obtained
    • Country of education
    • Official program length
    • The comparable Canadian credential; CES may need to combine two different qualifications in a single report
    • A statement regarding credential authentication

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  5. How long is the CES educational credential assessment report valid?

    Your educational credential assessment report will be valid for a period of five years for immigration purposes. Please visit the IRCC for more information. For employment or other non-immigration purposes, it will remain valid indefinitely.

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  6. I already have a CES assessment report. Can it be used for Provincial Nominee Programs?

    If your original CES assessment report for immigration purposes was issued on or after April 17, 2013, and you wish to use it under a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), you can request that a copy of your assessment be shared with officials in the participating province or territory. A service fee of $29 +13% HST is applicable.

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  7. How else can I use my CES educational credential assessment report?

    Your educational credential assessment report may be submitted to IRCC, and/or to Provincial Nominee Program (s) of your choice. As well, your report can be used for employment purposes, admission to certain post-secondary education programs, or professional certification. Please consult the requirements of the prospective recipient of your report for more information.

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  8. How do I find out if a professional organization will accept a CES assessment?

    Before you apply for assessment, we advise you to contact the regulatory body first to find out their specific requirements. If they do not conduct their own assessments, ask them if they accept assessments from the Comparative Education Service.

    Visit the School’s Professional Designation webpage for information about associations, or visit the regulated professions in Ontario, Canada.

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Required Documentation

  1. What documents do I need in order to apply for an ECA report?

    Your application for an educational credential assessment for immigration purposes will require the following:

    • A completed application (online or paper) for an Educational Credential Assessment
    • A colour photocopy of both sides of your government-issued identification showing your date of birth, with official English or French translation (if applicable)
    • A colour photocopy of both sides of the award for each completed (degree, diploma or certificate) in its original language with official English or French translation (if applicable)
    • A colour photocopy of both sides of each page of your academic records (transcripts, statements of marks) in its original language for each completed program of study in that you wish to have assessed, with official English or French translation (if applicable)
    • Official academic records/transcripts mailed directly to CES from each educational institution listed on your application package. If your educational institution requires a formal request you can download the Request Official Academic Records to make this arrangement. If your institution is sending Official academic records/transcripts in a language other than English or French, please direct them to include the English spelling of your name as a reference so that we can quickly match the official transcript to your file.
    • Full payment of applicable service fees in Canadian dollars.

    Note: The following identification (ID) is accepted by CES:

    • A valid ID issued by a city/ provincial/ state/federal government agency such as: driver’s license; passport: permanent residency card or birth certificate. CES will not accept provincial or territorial health cards
    • Upon completion of your assessment your identification documents will be destroyed.

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  2. If I have more than one academic credential, which should I have assessed?

    CES will assess each credential that you include on your application and for which all the documentation requirements are met.

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  3. What are official academic records?

    Official academic records/transcripts and/or statements of marks are documents showing all courses taken and grades obtained by the student, sent directly to the CES office by the issuing educational institution. We recommend that you carefully review the Required Documents by Country of Education webpages to determine the academic documents you will need to provide for each of the completed credentials you would like assessed. You may use the Request Official Academic Records to have your former university send us these documents. NOTE: It is the client’s responsibility to make this arrangement. CES cannot order these documents for you.

    All official academic records must be mailed from the issuing institution in a sealed envelope to:

    Comparative Education Service
    University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies
    c/o Research Department (Canadian Immigration Programs)
    158 St. George Street, Toronto, ON
    M5S 2V8

    Note: If these documents are submitted by the applicant or another party, they are not considered to be official, even if they are submitted in a sealed envelope. All documents submitted for assessment become the property of CES and will not be returned. Official academic records/transcripts issued directly to CES by the institution will not be released to the applicant.

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  4. Does CES accept electronic official academic records?

    CES accepts official documents sent through secure electronic delivery services. If your institution provides such service, please have the document access information sent to ces.transcripts@utoronto.ca.
    NOTE: This email address is NOT for customer service inquiries or for submission of missing documents. Please contact us for customer service related questions.

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  5. What if my required documents are not in English or French?

    If your academic or government-issued documents were not originally issued in either English or French, you will need to provide a colour copy of the final award and transcript in the original language, as well as an official English or French translation. Official documents sent directly by institutions do not have to be translated. CES requires that translations be completed by a professional translator, but does not require them to be notarized. An official translation must clearly identify the translator and bear their stamp or signature. Photocopies of original translations are accepted. CES accepts professional translations done outside of Canada. Remember to include complete copies of your documents in the original language along with translations.

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  6. How can I get an official translation?

    If your documents are not already translated, you can contact the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario or check your local business directory (Yellow Pages, Canada411.ca). We do not endorse any particular translators or translation agencies. Remember to include color photocopies of your documents in the original language along with the translations. Photocopies of official translations are acceptable.

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  7. My institution’s official documents will be in a language other than English or French. Do they need to be translated?

    We do not expect institutions to include translations with their documents; they can be sent in the original language. CES has a diverse staff that can read many different languages.

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  8. Do I need to provide colour photocopies of my documents?

    Yes. All photocopies of official documents must be in full colour. Black and white copies will not be accepted.

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  9. Do I need to send original documents for transcripts, certificates, identification?

    No. CES does not require original documents from the client. Documents submitted will not be returned.

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  10. Do I need to certify or notarize the required colour photocopies and documents?

    No. CES does not require notarized or attested copies of the required documents.

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  11. What happens if I submit my application and it is incomplete?

    CES will notify you by email, explain the problem, and provide you a list of what is required. You will be given specified amount of time to provide the necessary documentation. If you do not provide these documents, your application and accompanying documents will not be processed, and your file will be closed. If your file is more than two years old, a reactivation service fee of $49 +13% HST is applicable. You may also need to resubmit your documents in accordance with CES’ current documentation requirements. All CES service fees are final and non-refundable.

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  12. What do you need first: my application, or the official documents from my institution?

    The order in which they are received does not matter. We recommend that you send both as soon as possible to avoid delays. Once either document arrives, CES will make a note in our client database and put it on file. We use this database to match up documents and applications received by mail. Documents will be held on file for at least six months or more.

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  13. How will CES match the official documents from my former institution to my application? Will you give me a reference number for my institution?

    We match your documents by using your name, which will appear on all official documentation from the former institution. Documents received are noted in our client database. If you have changed your name since your studies, be sure to include this information with your application so we can match documents, since most institutions will keep records in your original name only.

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Application Process and Other Service Requests

  1. Must I have my secondary school studies assessed as well?

    No. You do not have to submit your secondary school documents in order to have your post-secondary credentials assessed.

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  2. Can someone represent me in this process?

    Yes. You may have someone represent you. To do so you are required to submit the completed Designate Third Party, Release Information Form.

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  3. Do my academic transcripts need to be sent by my former educational institution?

    Yes. You are required to arrange to have your official academic records (transcripts/statements of marks) sent directly to CES in a sealed envelope from your previous educational institution. You must also provide one color photocopy of your transcripts along with your application for assessment. You might be required to provide your original documents for further examination. CES reserves the right to contact your former institution(s) to verify your documents. Please see the Required Documents by Country to verify the specific requirements.

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  4. Can I submit my documents online or by fax?

    You may submit your application and attached documents online or by mail. We encourage you to submit your application online because of the lower cost. You may NOT submit by fax.

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  5. What is the expected processing turnaround time?

    If you submit your application online, you can track its progress online by checking My Access - Student Login, then select “My Applications” from the menu on the left.

    We do our best to offer our clients accurate processing time estimates. Our current processing time estimates are based on receipt of all documents. In order to process your application and complete your report, we must receive all sealed official academic records from each of the institutions listed on your application.

    Estimates are not guaranteed, and may change without notice. These estimates are based on the average time it currently takes to process a completed application. Visit our Processing Times page.

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  6. If I am not satisfied with the assessment, can I get a refund?

    No. When you submit your application (online or paper) you provide consent to CES as having read and understood the Applicant’s Agreement section as well as the CES Terms & Conditions that all fees are final and non-refundable.  No refunds are issued, even if the report states that your credentials are not recognized.

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  7. What happens if I disagree with the assessment?

    CES is a proud member of the Alliance of Credential Evaluation Services of Canada and abides by the following standards of professional practice.

    • Pan-Canadian Quality Assurance Framework for the Assessment of International Academic Credentials
    • Recommendation on Criteria and Procedures for the Assessment of Foreign Qualifications adopted under the 1997 Lisbon Recognition Convention.

    CES Credential Assessors are experts in international education systems, and can answer any questions you might have regarding the results of your assessment. If you still disagree with the assessment, you may submit a written appeal.

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  8. How do I initiate an appeal?

    Your appeal must be submitted in writing within 90 days of the date your Assessment Report was issued. In your appeal letter, please state your reasons for disagreeing with the outcome and provide documentation that supports your claims. Your appeal will be reviewed by a Senior Assessor. Once this review is completed, you will be notified of the outcome in writing. If your appeal is successful, CES will issue a revised Assessment Report and your appeal fee will be refunded. A service fee appeal of $199 is applicable.

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  9. Can I obtain duplicate copies of my CES Assessment?

    Yes. Additional copies of your assessment report may be ordered at the time of the original assessment or at a later date, provided that CES has an electronic copy of your report on file.
    The service fee is $29 +HST for each additional copy of the assessment report.

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  10. If I already have an assessment done by CES, can I add another credential?

    Yes. You can add a credential to a completed ECA Report for $99. Please contact CES using the CES Online Contact Form for further instructions on how to apply for this service.

    You will receive two original copies and an electronic copy of your ECA report for the additional qualification.

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  11. Can CES send my Assessment Report directly to a Third Party?

    Yes. In most cases, CES will be able do so. You must complete the ces_form id="duplicate_send"]. The service fee is $29 for each copy to be sent.

    CES will not send your assessment report to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on your behalf.

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Authentication, Verification and Equivalency

  1. How does CES determine the Canadian equivalency of my credentials?

    CES is recognized by the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC) and abides by its General Guiding Principles for Good Practice and follows established methodology and guidelines that conform to the Pan-Canadian Quality Assurance Framework for the Assessment of International Academic Credentials.

    CES has almost 50 years of experience in assessing international credentials. We have an extensive library of reference materials which is updated regularly, and we conduct original research to track ongoing changes in educational systems worldwide. Our resource materials include the International Handbook of Universities, the Commonwealth Universities Yearbook, and the World List of Universities, to name a few. In addition, CES consults with other experts in international and Canadian education, special publications regarding educational systems, ministries of education and other government agencies of various countries, as well as embassies and consulates.

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  2. Will CES contact my educational institution?

    CES reserves the right to contact your educational institution at any time during the assessment process to request additional information about the documents or the program of study completed.

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  3. Does CES verify documents submitted for assessment?

    Yes. We ask for official academic records and reserve the right to contact issuing institutions to verify document authenticity. This may impact the time it takes to process your assessment. You will be required to pay any fee associated with the verification of your document(s) if your former educational institutions require it.

    If falsification or alteration of a document is discovered, no assessment is issued and any existing reports are rescinded. The assessment fee will not be refunded. Related government departments and other credential assessment agencies will be notified. It is an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada to present fraudulent documents or qualifications.

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Application Fees, Status and Processing Times

  1. How much does an educational credential assessment for Canadian immigration programs cost?

    A complete list of all the educational credential assessment service fees is available for your reference. Please note, you will be responsible for additional fees as they pertain to the issuing of official academic records.

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  2. Who covers the cost of document verification?

    CES reserves the right to contact the issuing authority at any time during the assessment process to verify the documents even though official transcripts might have been received from the issuing body. Many universities provide verification free of charge; however, if your former institution requires a fee for verification, you will be required to pay it. If an institution must wait until payment is made before verifying documents, this will cause a delay in overall service time.

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  3. If additional documentation or information is required from my educational institution, how long will CES keep my file open?

    It might be necessary for CES to correspond with your educational institution(s) to request additional supporting documentation or information. CES will keep your application active for at least six (6) months from the date it is received. After six months, if CES has not been able to obtain the necessary documentation or information from you and/or your educational institution(s), CES will send you a reminder listing the outstanding documentation/information needed from your institution. If we do not receive the necessary documentation or information within the specified time CES reserves the right to close your file.

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General Questions

  1. What if my personal contact information changes after submitting my application?

    For online applications: All personal contact information (mailing address) can be updated in the My Profile section of your Student Login page.

    For paper applications: Please use CES Online Contact Form

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  2. Do I need to have an educational credential assessment from CES in order to apply to U of T?

    No. The University of Toronto does not require any kind of assessment of your academic credentials for admission. Visit the UofT undergraduate and graduate websites to learn about their admission requirements.

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  3. Can I include another person’s application under my online account?

    No. Each applicant is required to create his/her own individual account using the CES online system, and the application must be created under that same account.

    If you would like to designate someone to represent you in the application process, please fill in the “Release Information” section on the online application form or download and submit the completed Designate Third Party, Release Information Form.

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  4. Once I start an online application, how long is it kept active before it expires?

    Online applications with “In progress” status will expire and will be cancelled if they have been inactive for 30 days. If your application has expired and cancelled, please create and submit a new application.

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  5. I am having trouble downloading (or printing) the CES application forms. What should I do?

    Try opening the application form link using Internet Explorer (instead of Google Chrome or Firefox), or save the file as a PDF document and open it using Adobe Reader.

    If you are still experiencing issues, contact CES and we will send you a copy of the application by email.

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  6. Can I pick up my educational credential assessment report in person?

    Yes. Please select the pick-up option when completing your application form. Otherwise all assessment reports will be shipped using the delivery method you indicated in your application. Costs associated with various delivery options are listed on the Service Fees page.

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  7. Are there qualifications that CES does not assess?

    CES assesses academic credentials received through formal education completed at appropriately recognized institutions. CES does not assess non-formal and non-academic qualifications, including:

    • Apprenticeships, Competency based/Vocational qualifications/Training (e.g. City and Guilds Certificates, Trade certificates, National Vocational Qualifications, Massage or Shiatsu Therapy Training, Caregiver training, Personal Support Worker Training, Montessori Training, Microsoft Training)
    • In-company training
    • Professional licenses, memberships in professional bodies/associations and learned societies (e.g. Association of Chartered Certified Accountants [ACCA] - examinations or fellow or Member of the Association, Institution of Engineers, Institute of Mechanical Engineers, Royal College of Surgeons, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan [ICAP], British Computer Society)
    • Short-term, non-formal, non-academic programs
    • Board of Examination in General Nursing and Midwifery diplomas (e.g. Pakistan Nursing Council)
    • Second-language training programs (e.g. ESL)
    • Work experience
    • In-progress academic programs
    • Certificates issued for professionally-oriented studies in conjunction with academic studies (e.g. Certificat de Absolvire (Graduation Certificate) from the Teacher Training Department or Pedagogical Seminar)
    • Canadian postsecondary qualifications

    Please note that CES does not issue assessment reports based on third-party assessments (e.g. statements or certificates of equivalency) and does not currently offer course-by-course assessments.

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  8. Does CES evaluate credentials from all institutions and countries?

    CES is recognized by the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC) and abides by its General Guiding Principles for Good Practice. CES also follows established methodology and guidelines that conform to the Pan-Canadian Quality Assurance Framework for the Assessment of International Academic Credentials and reflects the placement practices of Canadian universities.

    CES has almost 50 years of experience in assessing international credentials. We have an extensive library of reference materials which is updated regularly, and we conduct original research to track ongoing changes in educational systems worldwide. Our resource materials include the International Handbook of Universities, the Commonwealth Universities Yearbook, and the World List of Universities, to name a few. Note: The Comparative Education Service reserves the right not to accept an application for assessment.

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  9. Will you assess professional credentials, certifications or licenses?

    No. Only an appropriate professional association and/or licensing body can determine whether such qualifications meet equivalent Canadian standards.

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  10. What happens to personal and financial information that I submit to CES?

    We do not sell or rent CES mailing lists, email lists, or any other personal information. Your contact information is used by CES for communication purposes only and is not shared with other institutions without your authorization. All financial information is removed from our system once payment has been processed. Absolutely no one, except your financial institution, has access to your credit card information. CES adheres to the University of Toronto’s privacy policies and procedures.

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  11. My question was not answered in this FAQ section.

    If you still have questions, please contact CES and a representative will respond as quickly as possible. We receive a high volume of email, so we ask for your patience as we work to answer all inquiries. Please note, we can answer questions about the process of applying to obtain an Educational Credential Assessment report, but we cannot answer questions about rules or criteria for immigration to Canada, or comment on whether you are eligible to apply for immigration under any particular program.

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