Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB)

What is CLB?

CLBEnglishExamThe Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) is a 12-point scale of English as a Second Language (ESL) proficiency. It was first published in 1996  and is managed by a Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks.

The CLB’s scale is divided into 3 main levels:

  1. Stage I: Basic Proficiency (1-4 points);
  2. Stage II: Intermediate Proficiency (5-8 points);
  3. Stage III: Advanced Proficiency (9-12 points).

CLB and CEFR side-by-side comparison:

CLB level CEFR level
A1 (Beginner)
4 A2 (Elementary)
5 B1 (Intermediate)
6-7 B2 (Upper-Intermediate)
8-9 C1 (Advanced)
10-12 C2 (Proficiency)

(You can find more information about English proficiency levels in a detailed comparison of CLB levels with CEFR levels, TOEFL, TOEIC and Cambridge ESOL)


The language tests based on CLB benchmarks cover four skills: listening, speaking, reading, writing.

Workplace Language Assessment (WLA) and The Canadian Language Benchmarks Placement Test (CLBPT) are the most popular low-stakes exams. The Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) and Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL) are the most relevant high-stakes exams.

CELPIP is one of only two English proficiency tests which can be used when applying for permanent resident status in Canada (together with IELTS).

In a similar way the CELPIP is using CLB,  the TrackTest English Proficiency Test uses the CEFR scale. TrackTest results and English language certificates are available immediately after the completion of the level tests. The evaluation of the optional English speaking test is delivered 6 days after the test completion. TrackTest English certificates are valid for lifetime.

CELPIP and TrackTest CEFR side-by-side comparison:

CELPIP TrackTest English Test
Scale/grading 12-points CLB scale Six CEFR levels, from A1 to C2
Assessed skills Reading, Writing, Listening Speaking Grammar, Reading, Listening (+optional Speaking and Writing)
Duration of the test Approx. 3 hours 45 minutes (+optional Speaking&Writing 20 min)
Results available In 7-8 days Immediately (the Speaking&Writing exam in 6 days).
The validity of the English certificate 2 years Unlimited
Price Approx.  $265 plus tax Approx.10x less

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