Issuing certificates for Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) learners

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Since February 11, 2017, recipients of IRCC funding for delivery of the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) and Cours de langue pour les immigrants au Canada (CLIC) programs should have been applying, and should continue to apply, the following guidance when issuing LINC or CLIC certificates and when entering data in the Immigration Contribution Agreement Reporting Environment (iCARE) system or the History of Assessments, Referrals and Training system (HARTs).

General guidelines

As a general rule, LINC or CLIC certificates should be issued to learners at the end of a reporting period, with completed levels against the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) or the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) scale.

For recipients using the Portfolio-Based Language Assessment (PBLA) or the Évaluation linguistique basée sur le portfolio (ELBP) approaches, certificates should generally be issued at the same time as progress reports.

Less frequently, certificates may be issued when the learner leaves the class or upon their request, as long as the teacher has gathered sufficient evidence to determine the learner’s language proficiency.

Further details on assigning CLB or NCLC levels can be found in the resources tab in the iCARE system under “Language Training Definitions” and “Updates to the Language Modules in iCARE and HARTs”.

Designation of a CLB or NCLC level

Note: As per the National Language Placement and Progression Guidelines (NLPPG), a CLB or NCLC level is considered completed when a learner has achieved and demonstrated the level of communicative ability associated with most or all (traditionally 70% to 100%) of the descriptors for the benchmarks assigned in each of the 4 skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.

The designation of a CLB or NCLC level should derive from an evaluation of evidence collected throughout the term to determine the learner’s progress on the CLB or NCLC scale.

Neither placement assessment results nor the CLB or NCLC levels addressed in the course should be used as evidence for assigning the learner’s CLB or NCLC results (for example, a learner cannot be assumed to have completed CLB 4 because they participated in a CLB 4 course).

Recipient requirements

LINC and CLIC certificates should only be issued by recipients who deliver LINC or CLIC training that meets the following 7 criteria:

Printing and distributing certificates

All certificates can be printed in black and white or in colour, on letter-sized white paper, and signed manually or electronically by the recipient’s LINC or CLIC coordinator.

The signed certificate may be distributed to the client in person, by mail or electronically via email. Since the document is classified as Protected A, all efforts should be made to send the document as securely as possible as it contains personal information.

If a client has lost their LINC or CLIC certificate and is requesting a new copy, and the recipient still has access to the client’s record, the recipient may reprint a certificate with the original issuance date and distribute it as above.

After certificate issuance

LINC and CLIC certificates submitted with citizenship applications are authenticated by IRCC through the iCARE system. Therefore, recipients must ensure that the clients’ language results are updated (or uploaded from HARTs to the iCARE system for Ontario recipients) when the certificate is issued or shortly after. iCARE system users must have responded “Yes” to the question, “Was a certificate issued to the client?”

HARTs users should note that information about certificate issuance is generated automatically by HARTs and uploaded to the iCARE system.

The Resources area of iCARE and HARTs will house the new certificates to ensure there is one central area (in Ontario) where IRCC can easily access and share updated versions. LINC and CLIC recipients located outside Ontario will continue to generate certificates from HARTs. Designated staff with access to iCARE and HARTs may download the template for internal use within their organizations.

Next steps

IRCC officers should review the provision related to the issuance of LINC and CLIC certificates in their contribution agreements and amend them as appropriate to meet the above requirements.

Background information

The issuance of the NLPPG in 2013, and the current national implementation of the PBLA and ELBP approaches, bring greater consistency to in-class language assessment and increase the reliability of LINC and CLIC program results.

The issuance of standard certificates takes on even greater importance as the department accepts LINC and CLIC certificates as proof of language ability for citizenship purposes. IRCC staff should inform recipients of this updated guidance to ensure that the department adopts consistent practices for issuing certificates across the program.

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