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'The Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) are the national standard used to describe, measure, and recognize adult English as a Second Language (ESL) ability in Canada.


They are a descriptive scale of communicative proficiency in English as  a Second Language described as 12 benchmarks or reference points within three stages of ability (basic, intermediate, and advanced) in four skill areas (Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing).


There are 12 benchmark levels, organized into three stages of language ability for the four skills.


Stage 1 – Basic Language Ability (CLB 1-4): Learners can communicate within common, predictable, and non-demanding contexts about basic needs, common everyday activities, and familiar topics.


Stage 2 – Intermediate Language Ability (CLB 5-8): Learners can function independently in less-predictable, moderately demanding contexts about familiar situations related to work, educational or daily life experiences.


Stage 3 – Advanced Ability (CLB 9-12): Learners are required to communicate accurately and appropriately in a wide range of situations ranging from predictable to unfamiliar in demanding contexts of language including high-risk or high stakes contexts.’


Canadian Language Benchmarks – English as a Second Language for Adults, 2012 Edition


‘ESL Learners and ESL Literacy Learners are located on the same CLB scale. Although both types of learners are working towards proficiency with the same CLB competencies, ESL Literacy learners carry the ‘L’ designation to indicate the unique needs they have, and the additional support they will need to progress in their learning.’



 Canadian Language Benchmarks – ESL for Adult Literacy Learners (ALL)

This program receives funding from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship  Canada (IRCC)  

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