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UPDATE: The TCF is now in force.

Candidates and applicants for immigration to Canada who have French ability now have another option for proving their skills, thanks to the announcement that the Test de connaissance du français pour le Canada (TCF Canada), administered by the Centre international d’études pédagogiques (CIEP), has been designated as a second French language tester for economic immigrants, as of December, 2018.

TFC Canada joins the Test d’Evaluation de Français (TEF) as a mechanism for the government of Canada to evaluate the French ability of those seeking to come to Canada as permanent residents.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) states that having a second French-language tester should help make the tests more accessible and affordable.

Individuals looking to immigrate to Canada through an economic program, such as any of the programs managed under the Express Entry system, must prove language ability in English and/or French by taking an approved language test, with additional points on offer to those with ability in both of Canada’s official languages.

Currently, two English language tests are designated for this purpose: the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) General and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) General exam. Only one French test, the TEF, is currently available for this purpose, with the addition of Test de connaissance du français pour le Canada (TCF Canada) set to change that.

IRCC’s original announcement of including TCF came as part of a wider raft of updates aimed at helping the integration of French speakers into communities and labour markets outside the province of Quebec. Other measures include:

  • An $11 million five-year collaborative partnership with la Cité, the largest French-language college in Ontario, that will provide pre-arrival services to French-speaking newcomers.
  • Improved French services at Toronto Pearson International Airport.
  • The launch of an expression of interest process seeking an organization to deliver official language training for French-speaking immigrants and allophone (those whose first language is neither English nor French) newcomers who have declared French as their official language of preference, in Francophone minority communities.

Express Entry bonus points

Ever since changes were made to the Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) as of June, 2017, Express Entry candidates have been able to obtain additional points if they can prove French ability.

To avail of 30 additional points for French ability, candidates must:

  • Achieve test results at Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 or higher in all four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing); and
  • Receive an English language test result of CLB 5 or higher.

Even if a candidate has not proven English ability, he or she may still obtain 15 bonus points for French ability. To avail of the 15 points, candidates must:

  • Achieve test results at Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 or higher in all four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing); and
  • Prove English ability of CLB 4 or lower (or no English language test result at all).

These points are in addition to the points a candidate receives for language ability in the first place.


Canada’s Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) are another area where individuals with French ability may prosper. This is particularly the case in provinces that have significant francophone communities, such as Ontario and New Brunswick, as well as a need to replenish and revitalize communities and labour markets alike with newcomers, particularly newcomers who know their passé composé from their imparfait and who can bring a conversation a bit further than a simple Bonjour.

The Ontario Express Entry French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream regularly issued invitations to French-speaking candidates in the Express Entry pool.

Meanwhile, New Brunswick’s Express Entry Labour Market Stream has previously and regularly prioritized EOIs submitted by candidates with French ability.

You can keep up to date on all PNP streams via the Moving2Canada PNP Live Tracker.

Taking a French test

Whether you go for TEF or TCF, there are a couple of things you can do to maximize your chances of success on the day (and, as a result, your chances of successfully immigrating to Canada).

  • Make sure you know what to expect in the exam situation. This means undertaking a thorough review of the various components in the exam and how those are laid out.

Equivalency charts for designated language tests and how results correspond with Canadian Language Benchmarks are available here.

Bonne chance!

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About the author

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Hugo O'Doherty

Canadian Immigration & Integration Specialist
Hugo O’Doherty has over a decade of experience and research in Canadian immigration, establishing him as a recognized authority on immigrant integration and adaptation. His personal and professional experiences with immigration have made him an expert on the practical aspects of successfully moving to and settling in Canada.
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