Improving English or French

English or French language skills are very important to help you and your family settle in Canada. Strong English or French skills will help with:

  • getting a job and getting a better job
  • going to school
  • accessing services
  • helping your children with school work
  • meeting and talking to people
  • connecting with your new community
  • getting your Canadian citizenship

The language level you need to prove in your application depends on the immigration stream you are applying through. The certificate you use to prove your language level must be less than 2 years old on the date you send in your application. Levels of language needed for the different streams change, so make sure you check the IRCC website. As of January 2019, the language levels required were:

Federal immigration programs
  • Federal Skilled Worker program: minimum language level for Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing is CLB 7 for all four skills. If you want to prove language level for a second official language you need minimum level 5 Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) for English, or NCLC for French.
  • Canadian Experience Class: for NOC (National Occupational Classification) 0 or A, you need to prove CLB 7. For NOC B, you need to prove CLB 5.
  • Federal Skilled Trades program: for this program, you need to prove CLB 5 for Speaking and Listening, CLB 4 for Reading and Writing.
BC Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
  • Skills Immigration – Skilled Worker: NOC 0 or A do not need to prove language levels. NOC B needs to prove CLB 4 for Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing.
  • Express Entry BC – Skilled Worker: same as for Federal Skilled Worker (see above).
  • Skills Immigration – Entry Level and Semi-skilled: CLB 4 in Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing.

All adults between 18 and 54 who apply for citizenship must send IRCC proof that they meet the language requirement for citizenship. For this they must have proof that they meet the Canadian Language Benchmark level 4 for speaking and listening – click here to see the CLB level 4 Benchmark descriptions. 

If you already submitted proof of language ability for your application for permanent residence as a Federal Skilled Worker or for the Canadian Experience Class, you will need to send this again.

If you have completed your secondary or post-secondary education in English or French, you will need a transcript, diploma, certificate or degree to prove this. Note: a single course done in English or French is not enough.

If you attended a LINC program you will need to send in proof of achieving CLB 4 in speaking and listening.

Note: Initial placement tests by a LINC assessment centre and/or attendance at local (Whistler/Pemberton) ESL groups are not accepted as proof of achieving CLB 4 in speaking and listening.

If you do not have any of these documents, you will need to take an approved English (or French) language test showing that you meet the CLB level 4 Benchmark description.

Click here to find out if you have Acceptable documents for the citizenship language requirement

  • CELPIP General is the IRCC approved test that many people will take to apply for permanent residence. IRCC will also accept a copy of these results for your citizenship application.
  • CELPIP General LS – listening and speaking version of the CELPIP General test. It is advisable to take this test if you have not taken a General Test for permanent residence or if you do not have evidence of a secondary or post-secondary qualification in English.
  • IELTS – General training (International English Language Testing System)
  • click here for an approved test for the French language

IELTS and CELPIP Resource Sheet June 11 2021: for up-to-date information about each test, where and how to take the tests, and how to access preparation materials and resources

At the Whistler Welcome Centre: to access and to borrow CELPIP preparation materials, contact a Settlement Worker tel: 604.698.5960  email: info@welcomewhistler.ca
CELPIP and IELTS results

CELPIP and IELTS will not tell you if you pass or fail. You will receive a number as your result. To see what CELPIP and IELTS scores are equivalent to the CLB levels, check here

Note: IRCC may change the language requirements at any time. Please check the IRCC website for up-to-date information.

Find full details of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) requirements at  http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/citizenship/language.asp

In Whistler and Pemberton, there are a number of options for immigrants wishing to improve their English language skills.

Welcome Centre

The Whistler Welcome Centre runs small groups and offers one-to-one tutoring for qualified newcomers and immigrants up to good intermediate level.

The Whistler Community Learning Program runs an ESL group for high intermediate and above. It also provides (where available) tutor-support for higher level ESL and general literacy skills. This program also supports residents of Pemberton.

These programs do not provide any language assessment that can be used for citizenship applications.

To qualify for these free ESL services, you must be:

  • a permanent resident of Canada
  • a naturalized citizen
  • accepted on the Provincial Nominee Program
  • hold a full work visa (not working holiday visa)
  • a caregiver
  • aged 18+
English language groups in Whistler
  • During physical distancing, our English conversation and language groups are meeting online via ZOOM. Please email us info@welcomewhistler for more details.

One-to-one tutoring in Whistler and Pemberton

The Whistler Community Learning Program and Settlement Services Whistler Pemberton work together to offer a volunteer ESL tutoring program. Community members are trained and supported to work one-to-one or in small groups with learners for up to 2 hours a week, for a minimum of 6 months. This is ideal for those learners who are unable to commit to a regular group, or for whom the timing is difficult.

For more information about ESL groups and one-to-one tutoring in Whistler and Pemberton, contact our Settlement Worker.

LINC is formal English language training funded by the federal government for qualified immigrants and newcomers. You must be a permanent resident to qualify, but you may also be able to take these classes if you are a temporary resident on a pathway to become a permanent resident, or have become a citizen and need to improve your English for training purposes. Rules to qualify change, so check with our Settlement Worker if you are interested in taking these classes.

ISSofBC is the local LINC provider and they are based in Squamish. Before you can take a LINC program, you will need to take an assessment. You can book an assessment in Squamish at any time. ISSofBC regularly does assessments in Whistler (usually at the Whistler Public Library). Contact the Whistler Welcome Centre for details of times and days.

The LINC courses provide a language (CLB) certificate once you complete a level. This certificate can be used when applying for citizenship.

Contact ISSofBC for

  • more information
  • to book an assessment
  • to find out about assessments in Whistler and Pemberton
  • to check your eligibility for LINC

Call 604-567-4490

Email: tara.ramsey@issbc.org

Check out issbc.org

Find more details specific to Sea to Sky/Sunshine Coast here

Face-to face classes

The LINC ESL program has classes in Squamish two days a week for beginner to high intermediate (Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) 1 to 8).

The classes run:

  • CLB 4/5/6, Tuesday and Thursday 9:30am-12:30pm
  • CLB 7/8, Tuesday and Thursday 9:30am-12:30pm
  • CLB 4/5/6, Tuesday and Thursday 6:15pm-9:15pm
  • CLB 1-3, Tuesday and Thursday 4:45pm-7:45pm (level 1) ; 6:15pm-9:15pm (level 2 & 3)

Classes run all year EXCEPT for a two month break in July and August, 2 week break in December, and 1 week break in March.

Online classes

ISSofBC also offer an on-line (distance) LINC course for intermediate to high intermediate (CLB levels 4 to 8) for which you must complete 9 hours a week. The Online English course has two classes:

  • English levels 4-6
  • English levels 7-8

The online course runs all year EXCEPT for a two month break in July and August, 2 week break in December, and 1 week break in March.

The online course has a total of 23 places available across both levels. If all places are filled, and your assessment qualifies you, then you will be placed on a waitlist till a place becomes available.  Referrals can also be made to LINC Home Study, an alternative online-only course that is a minimum of 5 hours per week (permanent residents only).

Mango Languages is free to use if you have a Whistler Library Card. It is an online program you can use in your own time to help improve your pronunciation and vocabulary. The program uses real conversations and situations for you to practice with.

Mango Languages teaches you English using your own language. There are 17 languages to choose from including Japanese, Russian, Arabic, Korean, Spanish, German and Vietnamese. Unfortunately, Tagalog is not an available language on the program at the moment.

IELTS preparation program

You can access free test preparation materials called ‘Road to IELTS’ from the Whistler Library

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