How much English you need to live in Canada

Canada is one of the best countries in the world to live. Canadian immigration is incentivized by the government and receives support from great part of the population.

Not surprisingly, many have the dream of living in Canada in either a temporary or permanent arrangement. So how much English do you need to know to be able to live in Canada?

Depending on what your goals are, you might need a higher level of English.

Learn English

If your goal is to brush up on your knowledge of English and have an international experience, you don’t necessarily need to speak any English prior to your trip. There are courses for beginners to advanced students available in the various language schools in the country.

Based on my experience as director of studies of the largest school in Toronto, students who can already communicate – that is, make simple sentences, ask for directions, express some feelings – have easier adaptation than those who cannot.

It’s already not easy being in a different country, with a different culture, far from family and friends. If we factor in not being able to communicate, things might become a bit harder.

Post-secondary education

There are a few options for those who want to attend college or university in Canada.

A very popular way to enter colleges and universities in Canada is through a pathway program. Candidates may choose to attend English for Academic Purpose (EAP) classes in a language school or even at universities or colleges. At the end of the program, students should be apt to enter the school and program of their choosing. This process may take as little as 2 months and as long as 6 to 8 months; it all depends on prior language knowledge and development.

Another well-known entry to post-secondary education is through standardized proficiency exams. A student may write the test in their home country or in Canada. Common choices of tests are the IELTS Academic, the TOEFL, and the PTE Academic. Some schools also accept C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency certificates from Cambridge.


In order to become permanent residents, PR, applicants must write one of the two tests: CELPIP General or IELTS General Training.

CELPIP is a computer-based Canadian test. It is cheaper – but not by much – than the IELTS and results tend to come out faster. IELTS General Training – and it is important to note that it is NOT the same as the Academic version, which is not accepted for immigration – is paper or computer-based and includes a face-to-face speaking interview.

Those hoping to attend higher education or become permanent residents of Canada should achieve a minimum level of proficiency to be accepted. Generally speaking, it is around 7/9 for IELTS and 9/12 for CELPIP.

If you are not sure of what the best option for you is, or where your knowledge is at, drop us a line. We can help you figure all of that out at no cost.

And if you are looking for advice on study visas or the immigration process, contact Dreamies. After all, it all starts with a dream.

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