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Updated language proficiency test benchmarks in effect

Nov 14, 2022

​Communicating effectively in English or French is a critical factor to provide safe nursing practice in Canada. English language tests are one method that BCCNM uses to assess English language proficiency prior to granting registration. The Canadian Nurse Regulators Collaborative (CNRC), has reviewed and updated the minimum language proficiency levels (also known as cutscores or benchmarks) required for registration. 

The following new cutscores/benchmark levels better reflect the language demands expected of internationally educated candidates at the entry-level to practice in Canada and are effective immediately:​​

Area of proficiency
IELTS Academic
6.5 ​
7.0 (formerly 7.5)​
9 (formerly 10) ​
6.5 (formerly 7) ​
7.0 ​
8 ​
7.0 ​

​The CNRC, a group representing nursing regulators across Canada, undertook a rigorous and evidence-based approach to the review, including a review of language proficiency tests currently accepted by Canadian and international regulators; stakeholder interviews; a survey of RNs, LPNs and RNs; literature review; and workshops with subject matter experts. The new cutscores are scientifically defensible and better aligned with language demands required for safe, ethical, and effective nursing practice at the entry level. 

For more information about how language proficiency is assessed at BCCNM, please visit the relevant page based on the designation you are applying for:

900 – 200 Granville St
Vancouver, BC  V6C 1S4

​Toll-free 1.866.880.7101 (within Canada only) ​

With great respect, we acknowledge that BCCNM’s office is located on the unceded territories of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ speaking peoples – xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), and sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, and the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh-ulh Sníchim speaking peoples - Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day.​