Canadian Language Benchmarks

For reference use, this link at the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks provides an overview that relates the CLBs to immigration and citizenship. There are also links for details on language proof for citizenship and the CLB 4 competency framework for listening and speaking, in addition to various government information pages for settlement, education, training and employment.

Free access:

Scroll down to find a free sample lesson plan (to download) for Multilevel (Literacy -CLB1) and  CLB 1 - 4. Each lesson contains a module with instructions and handouts.  There are downloadable exemplars for Reading and Writing for Foundation, CLB 1-4.

To obtain other resources you must order and lessons will be emailed to you.


Free access:

Scroll down to find free sample lesson plans for Stage 2. There are also several free sample lessons for Essential Skills (CLB 7+) as well as reading and writing exemplars.  For the downloadable lessons, you will need to "Add to Cart". The PDF lessons must be ordered and will  be emailed to you.

Free access:

Designed by Bow Valley College in Alberta, this document provides teachers with comprehensive, ready-made assessments and rubrics for learners  CLB 4 - 7.  The assessments may be used "as-is" or adapted for classroom use. There are 4 types of documents provided: Instructor administered assessments; learner reflections; self assessments; and templates. The documents are organized by CLB level, by skill (Listening, Reading< Speaking and Writing),  each contains a sample Real World Task, a holistic section and a checklist of indicators of ability.

Free access: CLB 4_7 assessmts_rubrics Bow valley

This document contains a template or blueprint for designing a CLB 7 exit test for reading and writing.  It provides guidance for drawing up a test, performance indicators and suggested activities.  Some of the content is Alberta-based, but will be helpful to instructors as a starting point for test design.  The source of the document is the ATESL Resource Library and Alberta Initiatives Gallery.

Free access.

Developed by the city of Vancouver and the BC provincial government, this resource focuses primarily on the First Peoples along  the West Coast region however it can serve as an introduction to cultures, histories, social and political issues. The resource was developed by LISTN in 2014 for English language learners at CLB 5+.

Free access:

Developed by BC TEAL in collaboration with members of local Indigenous community members and academics,  this resource is intended for CLB 5+ classrooms.  The objective of the curriculum is to promote awareness of Indigenous cultural practices among newcomers, to gain a deeper understanding of cultural practices, historical and present day issues, and greater respect for Indigenous people.  The lesson plans are adaptable to  face-to-face and online settings and contain multimedia resources.

There are 5 parts to the document including: Language for Decolonization, Land Acknowledgements, Residential School System,  Cultural and Spiritual Renewal, and Additional Resources.  Each part contains PBLA tasks and assessment tools.

Free access

BC TEAL Indigenous-People-and-Canada-2020-FINAL

Looking for a way to compare CLB levels with other recognized language assessments?  These tables are for general comparison only;  there is no method to accurately convert one language test or test score to another:

The Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has put together the following chart that includes IELTS, CELPIP, TEF, and TCF.

Free access:

The company  Macrosplus Global's charts compare CLB with IELTS, CELPIP, TOEFL and others:

Education First (EF) has also created a conversion chart with general  equivalents.


The Learning English with CBC website is a project between CBC Edmonton and the Alberta government.  The website contains interactive tools - a podcast, video news stories and interactive quizzes at CBL levels 4 and 6, which may be adapted for other levels. New content is posted weekly. The focus is on soft skills to support real world interactions, using local stories from Alberta with broad appeal.  Learners can use the site with mobile devices or in school settings.

Free access:

Several PBLA modules have been developed by the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks. Teacher guides, lessons and assessments are provided.  The modules cover a range of topics and levels. Free access:

CLB 1-2: Reporting a lost, stolen or damaged bank card:  CLB-1-2-Reporting-a-Lost-or-Stolen-Bank-Card_MEG

CLB 3-4: At the walk-in clinic: CLB 3-4 At-the-Walk-in-ClinicMaterials

CLB 3-4: Socializing with friends: CLB 3_4 PBLA-Socializing-with-Friends-Multilevel-module-CLB-3-4

CLB 5-6: Avoiding scams and frauds: CLB 5-6 Avoiding-Scams-and-Fraud-

CLB 5-6: Finding a job: CLB 5_6 PBLA-Finding-a-Job-Multilevel-module-CLB-5-6

CLB 5-6-7: Sharing Travel Experiences:CLB5_6_7 Sharing-a-travel-experience-pilot-1

The Canadian Centre for Language Benchmarks (CCLB) has developed several modules for CLB 1-2, CLB 3-4, and CLB 5-6. The packages  include lesson plans, skill-building activities, skill-using and assessment tasks. Each module contains listening texts in separate audio files.  Module packages for Literacy (CLB 1L and CLB 2L) have also been developed for three topics.

Free access:

Bow Valley College and Conestoga College have developed tools for creating PBLA rubrics.

Many teachers have found Conestoga's LINC Assessment Generating Tool helpful. The tool includes a complete list of competency statements, indicators and profiles of ability, all in one place. Also included  - a guide to question levels by CLB, features of communication, and sample assessment tasks for instructional reference. You must have a Tutela account to access this resource. 

Bow Valley College has developed clear, easy-to-use assessments and templates for Portfolio-Based language Assessment (PBLA). Their toolbox contains:

Tool 1: Assessment Templates
Tool 2: Instructor Administered Templates
Tool 3: Learner Reflections
Tool 4: Self-Assessments

Free access:

Developed by Norquest College in Alberta, this set of resources is designed to teach English pragmatics or "soft skills"  to internationally educated professionals (IEPs).   English in the Workplace instructors will find resources to enhance professional language proficiencies, the unwritten rules of workplace communication,  in the Canadian context.  The lesson plans are CLB 5+, and include handouts, audio files and transcripts. The lessons cover topics such as: apologies, feedback and complaints, compliments and requests.

This health curriculum guide was developed by Toronto  Public Health for English teachers. The curriculum includes lesson plans and background information. The lessons contain interactive activities for Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) levels 1-6.  Topics include:

  • Cancer Prevention and Screening
  • Diabetes Prevention
  • Healthy Eating
  • Mental Health
  • Pedestrian Safety
  • Physical Activity
  • Sun Safety
  • Tobacco Use

PBLA modules have been added to  the Real World Task Bank. The bank contains 300  "real world" assessments  for use by ESL and LINC instructors.  The bank also contains 16 modules built around 8  topics. The modules  cover CLB 1 and CLB1L  up to CLB 7. Each module includes integrated vocabulary, skill-building, skill-using and assessment tasks for each skill. Students may be assessed using either the skill-using or the formal assessment task.

Search by CLB level   (Literacy Foundation to CLB 7), skill (Listening, Speaking, Reading or Writing) and theme.  The site is password protected. (use password: instructor):

Free access:

REEL Canada is a non-profit organization whose its mission is  the promotion of Canadian films in Canadian schools. The organization has put together a  catalogue of films for English learners of all ages, with lesson plans, divided into specific topics including: Indigenous themes, bullying, discrimination, strong female leads, social justice, family and relationships, and more.

Several lessons have been developed using the CLBs and PBLA guidelines.  Lessons are available at no cost by email request.

Free access:

Sample CLB-PBLA lesson plan:

REEL CANADA - BREAKAWAY - ESL Lesson Guide (CLB Level 5-6)

For additional lesson plans please contact:


The Can Do Statements are easy-to-read posters, intended for instructors to post in classrooms and for learners to access individually. The statements are based on the CLB (Canadian Language Benchmarks) and provide a description for what learners can do at each benchmark from 1–12, in listening, speaking, reading and writing skills.  The statements present key information from the CLB document in accessible language, informing students about what they have accomplished and what skills they must still develop.

You need to "Add to Cart" in order to download,  which means registering to order.

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“The Can Do Statements for Employment are intended for immigrants seeking employment, employment counsellors, and employers. The Can Do Statements are based on the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB); they have been simplified and given a narrower focus to support their use in an employment context. The statements cover CLB levels 4–10, and offer an overview of each level from a workplace perspective. They provide examples of English-language tasks in a variety of workplace-related contexts:

  • On the phone
  • Working with others
  • Workplace safety
  • Taking part in meetings

and for a variety of workplace tasks:

  • Making and answering phone calls
  • Communicating with others in a workplace setting
  • Understanding and responding

The tasks cover all four language skill areas: listening, speaking, reading and writing.” (

You need to "Add to Cart" in order to download, which means registering to order.

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This 235-page book describes CLB as follows: “The Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) standard is a descriptive scale of language ability in English as a Second Language (ESL) written as 12 benchmarks or reference points along a continuum from basic to advanced. The CLB standard reflects the progression of the knowledge and skills that underlie basic, intermediate and advanced ability among adult ESL learners.

The Canadian Language Benchmarks are:

  • a set of descriptive statements about successive levels on the continuum of language ability,
  • a description of communicative competencies and performance tasks through which learners demonstrate application of language knowledge (i.e., competence) and skill (i.e., ability),
  • a national standard for planning curricula for language instruction in a variety of contexts,
  • a framework of reference for learning, teaching, programming and assessing adult ESL in Canada.”

The book takes learners through stages 1 to 3 in listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Free access:

The Centre for Canadian  Language Benchmarks acts as a repository for all things CLB that have been funded, produced and shared to ensure national consistency in language delivery.

It supports the following areas:

  • CLB
  • PBLA
  • Language learners
  • Immigration or citizenship
  • Language teachers
  • Volunteers working with refugees
  • Language assessors
  • Literacy
  • TESL training
  • Employers, counsellors and workers
  • Regulatory bodies

Note: The site is updated to reflect the changing needs of the language community.

Most resources are free access:

CLB Bootcamp is a 10-hour self-study course divided into three modules:

  1. CLB Basics covers an introduction to the Canadian Language Benchmarks. It includes the theoretical framework, the revised CLB document and the CLB ESL for Adult Literacy Learners document.
  2. Planning and the CLB provides instruction in needs assessment, and how to use a task-based approach to planning modules and lessons.
  3. Assessment and the CLB covers on-going learner assessment and provides an introduction to Portfolio-Based Language Assessment (PBLA).

Free access (through the CCLB E-learning Portal):

“This resource is intended to be used in conjunction with two key documents:

  • the Canadian Language Benchmarks: ESL for Adult Literacy Learners (ALL), which supports instructors working with adult ESL learners who have literacy needs; and
  • the Canadian Language Benchmarks: ESL for Adults, which is the national standard for English as a second language for adult immigrants (including those with literacy needs) living, working and studying in Canada.

The purpose of this Support Kit is to show instructors how the CLB and ALL documents are used for planning and assessing ESL learners with literacy needs in CLB-referenced classrooms.

The Kit includes:

  • Orientations to the CLB: ESL for ALL and the CLB: ESL for Adults documents;
  • Information and examples for planning literacy instruction, including needs;
  • Assessment and goal-setting, module/unit planning and lesson planning;
  • Information and examples on assessing ESL Literacy learners’ progress in a way that is compatible with Portfolio-Based Language Assessment (PBLA);
  • Suggestions for supporting ESL Literacy learners in multi-level literacy classes and mainstream ESL classes;
  • Ideas for using the Continuum of Literacy Skills found in the CLB: ESL for ALL document; and
  • Sample resources for literacy instruction and assessment.” (

To download you need to "Add to Cart" and register. The PDF will be emailed to you.

Free access:

The CLB Support Kit contains background information for ESL practitioners, with detailed discussions on incorporating grammar, pronunciation and pragmatics into CLB-based programs. There are sections that address using the CLBs in multilevel classes, with special needs learners, and in teaching English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and workplace ESL.

It includes sample program planning tools such as needs assessment, sample rubrics, tracking forms, self-assessment and feedback forms.

References are listed at the end of each section, as well as additional resources developed by the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks, including SAM for CLB 1-4, and the CLB 5-10 Exit Assessment Tasks for community, employment and academic programs.

You need to "Add to Cart" in order to download, which means registering to order.

Free access:


SPEAKING: The Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks has provided several exemplars for speaking (from the CLB Support Kit). The webpage contains a series of short videos that demonstrate students speaking at CLB 1 - 12.

Free access:

LISTENING: The link above also contains 29 exemplars for listening, however the links do not provide any benchmarks. The chart below will assist with aligning the exemplars to their associated CLBs.

Free access:


From the Copian library, this document provides easy access to exemplars for writing. There are four samples for each benchmark, from CLB 1 - 12.  This is downloadable document is section 3 part 4 of the CLB Support Kit.

Free access:

Updated in 2019, this website has five sections explaining the theory behind PBLA and guidelines for implementation. PBLA Foundations provides a rationale, historical and theoretical contexts for PBLA. PBLA Portfolios explains key elements, components and expectations, plus teaching tips. PBLA Reporting discusses professional judgements, progress reports. PBLA Accountability includes administrator tips. The final section contains Resources, including multilevel modules and a list of training courses.

Free access:

This resource explains the relationship between Essential Skills and the Canadian Language Benchmarks (caveat: CLB 2000 was used). This is an excellent resource for developing tasks based on real-world employment examples. You will need to "Add to Cart" in order to download. The PDF will be emailed to you.

Free access:

The goal of this resource (developed by BC TEAL and CLB aligned), is to support male students to discuss men's health issues and address barriers to physical and mental wellness in a safe environment.

The resource aims to draw on the knowledge and experiences of refugee men to facilitate access to health services, and address stigma around mental health issues, feelings of isolation, and cultural differences around expectations of men in home countries and Canada.

The document has four sections: Pathways to Wellness, Addressing Health Issues, Connecting to Community, Building Relationships. It includes a teacher's guide, lesson plans with clear illustrations. Lesson plan topics include: mental health, nutrition, talking to a doctor, male roles, and fatherhood.

(See notes on pages 3-4 on suggestions for implementation.)

Free access:



Skills for Work series contains a 2 level "gamefied" curriculum to increase the engagement of language learners in online classrooms. Designed  by AWES (Alberta Workforce Essential Skills Society), the courses focus on building language, essential skills, and knowledge of workplace culture. The goal is to break down barriers and be accessible to individuals who have limited access to other mainstream training services. The courses can be completed on a computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone at the pace best suited for the learner.  Level 1: the first 9 courses are targeted to CLB 3-5 and incorporate basic English. Level 2  courses move into CLB 6-8 for intermediate levels of English.

Free access:


This listing of resources comes from the Toronto Catholic District School Board,  specifically for Adult English learning settings. It includes COVID-19 lessons for literacy to CLB 2  learners,  a PBLA scavenger hunt for all levels, professional development videos for remote teaching, and AlphaPlus resources.

Free access: