What is the Canadian Experience Class (CEC)?

Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is an independent Immigration program for those applicants who have at least 1560 hours of full-time skilled work experience in Canada over 1 year or 1560 hours of part-time skilled work experience in Canada over 2 years and intend to apply for Permanent Residence of Canada. To be considered for CEC; you must have at least 30 hours or more working hours per week, skilled work experience in Canada for Canadian employers. Foreign workers who wish to apply for Permanent Residence of Canada can opt for this class of immigration instead or besides the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) if they meet the eligibility requirements. To be eligible for CEC immigration you must have skilled work experience in Canada whilst working for a Canadian employer. The Canadian Experience Class immigration program is processed under the Express Entry.

Applicants do not have to be employed at the time of application nor there need to be continuous Canadian work experience, but you will be considered eligible for CEC only if your Canadian work experience is not older than 03 years at the time of application.


Canadian Experience Class Eligibility

For Canadian Experience Class eligibility, the following must be fulfilled:

  • 1560 hours of work experience must be within Canada; working for Canadian employers.
  • If applicants are currently residing in Canada, they must have a valid temporary status, even if they are currently unemployed.
  • Self-employment and unauthorized work do not count as Canadian work experience under the Canadian Experience Class.
  • A person who had been working without permission is not eligible under CEC and can be found inadmissible.
  • The employment requirements listed in the NOC should be met under the Canadian Experience Class.
  • Canadian Work experience under implied status is applicable for the CEC, provided that the applicant had worked under the same working conditions as his/her initial contract.
  • Work experience outside Canada during vacations is not applicable however a standard 2-week vacation time out of a 52-week period of work will be considered applicable.
  • Final decisions will be made by the Immigration officer, whether an applicant met the Canadian Experience Class requirements or not?

Advantages of CEC over FSWP

For the Express Entry Canadian Experience Class application route has certain advantages:

  • Work experience does not have to be continuous in the Canadian Experience Class.
  • Unlike FSWP, 1 year of full time or equivalent amount of part-time experience, in multiple National Occupational Classification (NOC) is acceptable under CEC, but the requirement of NOC level 0, A or B should be met.

For example; Ms. ABC, worked as a retail supervisor under NOC level B for 08 months with at least 30 hours or more working hours per week on her postgraduate status and later finds a NOC level A job in her field of study as an Information System Analyst and worked for her new employer full-time with at least 30 hours or more working hours on her valid status in Canada. She will be eligible to apply under Canadian Experience Class and will be allowed to create her Express Entry profile based on her 1 year of full-time work experience, in NOC A and B gained whilst on a valid working status in Canada.

  • For Express Entry CEC applications proof of funds are not required, the requirements of proof of funds for applicants become optional as they are not mandatorily required to present proof of funds, whereas proof of funds is required for FSWP or FSTP applications.
  • CEC applications are considered faster and smoother as compared to FSWP applications as they are easier to verify and thus may take lesser processing time.

Score Grid of CEC

Often people have a misconception that they have to meet the same 67 points as for FSWP to qualify for the CEC and whether you are applying for CEC or FSWP one has to meet 67 points as well to qualify, this is not the case. The Canadian Experience Class does not require an additional selection grid unlike FSWP and is based on the Comprehensive Ranking System CRS and unlike FSWP you are not assessed for the different points grid. Your CRS score is your score for the CEC as well.  

Canadian Experience Class | Employment vs Self Employment

Self-employment experience is not acceptable under the Canadian Experience Class. An applicant is considered employed or self-employed by CIC officer according to the factor of control under the following conditions:

  • To what degree does the worker have to work personally and whether he/she has an option to further hire people to assist his/her work.
  • To what degree does the worker have the independence to carry out the work including how it is carried out.
  • If the employers provide tools & equipment to complete the work.
  • To what degree there is a financial risk involved and if the worker has the autonomy to make business decisions when required.
  • All other relevant factors.

There are few occupations in which individuals may be self-employed or in an employer-employee relationship depending upon circumstances of the employment. Some employment involving specialized training may be difficult to securitize due to the factor of control such as physicians, IT consultants, engineers, etc. However, during scrutiny of the factor of control the payer’s control and influence both are kept under consideration. Ownership or partial ownership of a business is considered as self-employment. All contractors and consultants in financial, real estate & business services industries are considered to be self-employed.


If an applicant is unsure of his employee/self-employment status he/she may request a ruling in the form of a letter or CPT1 form from the CRA to determine their status. The ruling will determine the nature of employment and whether it is insured or pensionable. The ruling can then be submitted to CIC for the CEC application. The final decision rests with the CIC officer as a CRA ruling does not confirm evidence of employment.

Assessment of Work Experience applications before January 2, 2013

  • An applicant applying for Express Entry Canadian Experience Class who had a Temporary Foreign Worker Status must have one year of full-time work experience or equivalent part-time experience in any of the 0, A, or B occupations listed under the NOC at least 36 months before the date of application.
  • An applicant applying for Express Entry Canadian Experience Class who had a Post-Graduation Status, after completion of his/her program of study, must have one year of full time or equivalent part-time work experience in any of the 0, A or B occupations listed under the NOC at least 24 months before the date of application.
  • Volunteer work, off-campus work, or co-op work term does not count for Express Entry Canadian Experience Class applications.

Assessment of Work Experience applications after January 2, 2013

For Express Entry Canadian Experience Class applications, applicants must have one year or equivalent part-time Canadian skilled work experience in one or more occupations in categories 0, A, or B listed under the NOC within 36 months before the receipt of the date of application. The applicant must also be able to provide evidence of:

  • Assigned and performed duties are, as per occupational descriptions listed under the NOC.
  • Lead statements of assigned and performed duties are, as per occupational descriptions listed under the NOC.

The following will NOT be counted as Canadian work experience:

  • Employment when an applicant was engaged in a full-time study.
  • Canadian Work Experience gained through co-op permits.
  • Off-campus/volunteer work during the program of study.

Determination of Employment Status:

An applicant’s employment status will be considered if it satisfies the CIC officer along with the program requirements. All Canadian work experience must be through authorized employment in Canada. Additional documentation includes:

  • Letter of Employment.
  • Documentary evidence of Canadian work experience.
  • Recent work permits.
  • Copies of recent T4 tax information slips.
  • Notice of Assessment NOA issued by Canada Revenue Agency CRA.
  • Record of remuneration and deductions.
  • Letter of references for all qualifying Canadian work experience.
  • Other related documents.

Employer issued T4 tax information slips are as evidence of income tax remuneration and deductions. All Canadian employers are responsible for deducting and remitting Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions, Income tax, and Employment Insurance (EI). Though the T4 document is primitive evidence of an employer-employee relationship, it is not mandatory and cannot be considered the sole evidence of work experience in Canada. This can be substituted by letter of employment, payslips, or work contracts. Regardless all applicants must meet the program requirements and provide supporting evidence.

Received ITA one or two months prior completion of one or two years Canadian experience, what to do?

This is the question often came across and to be honest in each round of invitation few candidates receive ITA one or two months in advance as express entry works on a month to month basis rather than exact dates, so what should the applicants do in such cases?

Based on the information provided through the immigration representative mailbox, the applicant should not decline ITA or delay the application. IRCC staff knew about this glitch or loophole which is benefitting certain candidates well ahead of time and award them one year or two years Canadian Experience Class points even one or two months in advance.

It is a misconception that applicant will be penalized for this but as explained by IRCC the officer whoever is dealing with the client application will focus more on the following:

  • continuation of the job
  • an offer of employment by the same employer willing to hire or continue to hire the employee
  • whether the applicant meets the experience requirement by the time his/her application is processed

Many people get confused due to this glitch but now they need not decline the ITA yet alone for this reason.

Processing Time for Canadian Experience Class (CEC) Applications

Around 80% of all economic stream applications, in particular, Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and Canadian Experience Class (CEC) are processed within 06 months. As this is an estimated time and to be honest nobody can tell you how long the processing of the application may take as the timeframe for processing vary as per the nature, complexity, and circumstances of each applied application and thus no two application can take the same amount of time to get processed.

To get expedited and smooth processing of your application try to avoid as many mistakes as possible. Following are a few things or tips which may result in faster processing of your application: 

  • do not do any mistakes in the contact information related to your application. Provide your current and accessible address, best telephone so that IRCC can reach you if needed, and provide the best email with no spelling mistakes, as email is mostly used for communication by IRCC in online filed applications.
  • read the guide properly and avoid missing any documents which are required by IRCC
  • act quickly and on time regarding any updated or missing documents request by IRCC 
  • update your personal information and about your marital status as soon as possible and update application accordingly
  • if there is any change in your family size i.e marriage or birth of child or child turned 18 and their forms need to be provided you should update them without even update request by IRCC

CEC and Province of Quebec

Applicants who plan to live in the province of Quebec are not eligible to apply under the CEC route but here is again a misconception that experience gained in the province of Quebec is also not qualified for the Canadian Experience Class; which is not correct. If an applicant has gained experience in the province of Quebec but intends to reside in any other province of Canada other than Quebec is considered eligible for the CEC program. If applicants have gained experience in Quebec and plan to live in Quebec; they must apply under Quebec Skilled Worker Class.

Bridging Open Work Permits

Applicants whose current post-graduate work permit or employer-specific work permit is due to expire, and they have received the confirmation of submission of their permanent residence application after an invitation to apply in their express entry profile, under CEC; are eligible for bridging open work permit. This bridging open work permit may facilitate them to maintain their status until a final decision is rendered on their PR application under the Canadian Experience Class.


Are you considering applying for the CEC application and are still confuse and want a detailed assessment or consultation regarding your case, then look no further; as The Visa Canada team has years of expertise in dealing with such applications!

If you would like to know more, you may call +1 647 294 6631 or email info@TheVisaCanada.ca or message us using the contact form below.