PLAR Assessment for OCELT & ICTEAL Certificates and Professional Designations

Important Notice (posted July 22, 2021)

TESL Ontario will replace the current PLAR assessment service with its new Competency-and-Credit Based Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition service in January 2022. The current portfolio-based PLAR service will be discontinued as soon as the new PLAR service is launched.


Certification on the basis of demonstrated teaching skill and knowledge is an important area of professional practice in Canada, especially in the province of Ontario where a very substantial share of Canada’s new immigrant and refugee population settles each year.  The TESL Ontario PLAR assessment gives applicants an official statement of exactly what gaps (if any) exist between their previous TESL training and ESL teaching experience and TESL Ontario's required training. As a result, PLAR applicants will be required to go through any additional TESL courses and practicum needed to qualify for the TESL Ontario OCELT & ICTEAL Certificates and Professional Designations.

OCELT stands for Ontario Certified English Language Teacher. It recognizes that a certificate holder has the knowledge and skills required for teaching English to adult learners in all publicly funded and private programs in Ontario, other Canadian provinces and territories, and abroad.

ICTEAL stands for Internationally Certified Teacher of English as an Additional Language. It recognizes the certificate holder’s knowledge and skills to teach English in other countries.

Applicants are not required to be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada.

PLAR Eligibility Standard

You are eligible to apply for PLAR assessment if you

1. meet the degree and English language proficiency requirements of TESL Ontario certification (as outlined below);

2. have completed a minimum of 150 hours of formal TESL training through recognized TESL certificate or degree programs in Canada and/or overseas (A recognized program is a program that is officially registered with a ministry or another government agency, or is recognized by a registered accreditation organization.)

3. have engaged in TESL-related professional development activities on a regular basis through participation in in-service training courses, conferences, seminars, webinars, workshops, research projects, etc. and

4. have documented adult ESL/EFL teaching experience.

5. hold valid TESL Ontario standard membership prior to submitting your PLAR assessment application. You can apply for "New Standard Membership" or "Standard Membership Renewal" at 

Please note that eligible PLAR applicants may still be required to go through up to 200 hours of additional theory, methodology, and practicum courses through TESL Ontario accredited programs to qualify for TESL Ontario certification. The required additional training will be determined once the PLAR assessment process is completed.

University Degree:

Applicants are required to hold a minimum three-year bachelor’s degree, or a graduate degree, from an accredited institution located in Canada or a basic, general, or document-by-document Canadian degree equivalency report for degrees obtained from accredited institutions located outside Canada. The equivalency report must indicate that the evaluated international degree is equivalent to a minimum three-year Bachelor’s degree, or a graduate degree from an accredited institution in Canada.

TESL Ontario considers degree equivalency reports prepared by any one of the members of the Alliance of Credential Evaluation Services of Canada (ACESC) including the following agencies:

Proof of English Language Proficiency (ELP):

Applicants are required to demonstrated English Language Proficiency (ELP) in one of four ways:

     a) A three or four year full-time in-class bachelor's degree completed with English as the language of instruction in one of the following 
         countries: Canada, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bermuda, Botswana, British Virgin
         Islands, Cayman Islands, Cameroon, Dominica, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Nigeria, New Zealand, Republic of
         Ireland, Saint Kitts-Nevis, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and
         Caicos Islands, United Kingdom, United States, Uganda, US Virgin Islands, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
     b) Minimum acceptable scores/bands from a TESL Ontario recognized ELP test taken within three years of the TESL Ontario Certification 
         application date:

        Please note that TESL Ontario accepts a combination of two test reports (for the same ELP test taken twice or for two different ELP 
        tests) indicating that all required scores have been obtained. Also, TESL Ontario accepts ELP test reports up to three years after the test   
Test reports older than three years are considered on a case-by-case basis.

     c) Evidence of grades 6-12 completed with English as the language of instruction in one of the countries listed in (a)

     d) A three or four year online/distance bachelor's degree completed with English as the language of instruction in one of the countries     
         listed in (a) and an ELP test report indicating speaking and writing results as shown in (b)

Application Form & Required Supporting Documents

Please email a scans of the completed application form and the required supporting documents to Approved applicants may be requested to mail or deliver the original copies or authorized photocopies of their supporting documents to the TESL Ontario Office at a later date.

All documents must be in English. 
  1. Application Form A-2 (Please print and fill out.)
  2. university degree (or official transcript) in any discipline from Canada OR equivalency report if earned outside Canada
  3. language proficiency test report (s) and/or evidence of education in English (as outlined above)
  4. Official transcripts attesting to your formal TESL-related training ((For information about the TESL training topics required by TESL Ontario, please go to
  5. CLB Bootcamp Certificate from the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks- The CLB Bootcamp is a 10-hour self-directed online course that is available free of charge. For detailed instructions on how to self-enroll in this course, please click here. If you have any questions about the CLB Bootcamp or encounter any technical issues, please contact CCLB directly at

  6. Introduction to PBLA for New Classroom Instructors Certificate from the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks (CCLB)- The PBLA training is an 18- to 20-hour self-directed online course that is available free of change. For detailed instructions on how to self-enroll in this course, please click here. If you have any questions about this course or encounter any technical issues, please contact CCLB directly at

  7. Professional Development (PD)- documents (e.g., conference certificates and confirmation letters) attesting to your participation in TESL-related in-service training, workshops, webinars, research projects, etc.
  8. Your resume with a focus on adult ESL/EFL teaching experience
  9. Employment confirmation letters attesting to the ESL/EFL classes/programs taught, teaching dates, and total number of teaching hours
  10. If applicable, proof of legal name change (e.g., marriage certificate, Legal Name Change document) in English or a certified translation. This is only required if any of your documentation is under a different name than the one you are applying under.

Additional Supporting Material

TESL Ontario may request additional material, in which case the PLAR assessment process may take longer. Some examples of additional material that may be requested are as follows:

  • Official TESL course descriptions and course outlines
  • proof of practicum (observation & practice teaching)
  • copies of articles authored by the applicant
  • copies of textbooks published or reviewed by the applicant


  • PLAR Assessment Fee: $316.40 (tax included)
  • Pro-rated Certification Fee**: a maximum of $92.66 (tax included)

*All fees are non-refundable.

**The pro-rated certification fee covers the period starting from the certification approval date to the existing standard membership renewal month.

Method of Payment: Please provide your phone number on the application form. A TESL Ontario staff member will reach out to you during regular business hours for payment information. We will complete processing your application after receiving payments.

Application Process Steps

  1. Print and fill out the Application Form A-2.
  2. Email scans of the completed Application Form A-2 and the required supporting documents to
  3. TESL Ontario sends you an email confirming the receipt of your electronic submissions in one to two business days.
  4. In four to eight weeks from the date of the receipt of your documents:

    a) Your application package is reviewed, and you are notified by email if any required documentation or information is
    missing. If/Once your application package is complete, it is assessed and you are notified of the results.
    b) Next, a TESL Ontario staff member calls you for payment information, processes the applicable fees and sends
    you confirmation of payment by email.
  5. If applicable, you complete any required additional training and email scan/s of the proof to
  6. TESL Ontario notifies you of your certification approval by email. Follow the instructions in the approval email to order your OCELT and ICTEAL Certificates through the TESL Ontario online Registry. Once ordered, both certificates are emailed to you immediately. If you encounter any technical issues, please contact TESL Ontario at

Please Note:

  • For operational reasons, TESL Ontario reserves the right to extend the application processing time, as necessary.
  • TESL Ontario may request additional documentation beyond the requirements described above.
  • All submitted documentation and information will be kept confidential.
  • The standards and requirements of certification application are reviewed by the TESL Ontario Accreditation Standards Committee on a regular basis and are updated, as necessary.


Questions? Please contact TESL Ontario by email at or by phone at 416-593-4243, Ext. 205.

Important Notice (posted July 22, 2021)

TESL Ontario will replace its current PLAR assessment service with its new Competency-and-Credit Based Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition service as of January 1, 2022.