Last Updated on December 31, 2020

An organization that provides immigrants with reports to show their foreign degrees are equal to Canadian ones announced earlier this year it is cutting down on the paperwork needed to get these Educational Credential Assessments (ECA).

Markham, Ontario-based World Education Services (WES) announced in December that in most cases it now only requires immigrants to submit their highest academic credential. 

Two exceptions to the new process are French-language and Indian credentials.

Under the new rules, sending in all of the academic credentials in addition to the highest one can now actually slow down the process.

“As of November 2020, WES applicants need to submit only their highest completed credential for an Educational Credential Assessment,” the organization’s website states. “If you send additional credentials to WES, it will delay the completion of your report.”

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Foreign nationals need an ECA when they completed their education outside of Canada and want to:

Foreign nationals can also earn points for their spouse or common-law partner’s education, if they are also coming to Canada with them.


WES’ change to its process for educational credential assessments dovetails with new guidance from the Canadian government. On its website, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada now also notes: “In most cases, you only need an assessment for your highest level of education.”

That means that a foreign national with a master’s degree only needs an assessment for that degree and not his or her bachelor’s degree. 

“There are currently four exceptions,” WES notes on its website. “Those exceptions apply to people with a master of education, master of engineering, master of philosophy, or master of technology degree.”

Applicants for Canadian immigration do not need to obtain an ECA from organisations designated by Citizenship and Immigration Canada if they:

  • Have Canadian post-secondary education credentials of at least one year or;
  • Can demonstrate that they have personal net worth of $50 million in Canadian dollars or more acquired via lawful, private sector business or investment activities and have applied for exemptions.

All ECAs need to:

  • have a date of issue on or after the date on which the organisation was designated by Citizenship and Immigration Canada;
  • be less than five years old on the date that Ottawa receives the application and;
  • show that the completed foreign credential equates to a completed Canadian post-secondary credential of at least one year.

These ECAs must be issued from an organization or a professional body designated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. 

There are five designated organizations to produce these ECAs in Canada, including:

  • 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 

Professionals coming to Canada will have their credentials assessed by their respective professional organizations in Canada.

ECAs for physicians, for example, are done by the Medical Council of Canada. Pharmacists’ ECAs are done by the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada.

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