What are Canadian Language Benchmarks?

The Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) describe 12 levels of ability in each of four different language skills – Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing.

The CLB are used in Canada to describe the language ability of people who are learning English. For each language skill, you receive a separate benchmark, and this benchmark indicates how well you can function in that language skill.

There are three stages in the CLB. Stage I covers basic language ability (benchmarks 1 to 4). Stage II covers intermediate language ability (benchmarks 5 to 8). Stage III covers advanced language ability (benchmarks 9 to 12).

Many adult ESL programs use the Canadian Language Benchmarks to ensure that students learn the communication skills that are needed for daily life in Canada. It is important for you to understand the meaning of your CLB level if you plan to take an ESL or LINC class, enroll in a bridge training program, look for work or study at a college or university in Canada.

The interactive scale below illustrates how the CLB are organized.
Click on an CLB level in it to see a description of ability for Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing.

Canadian Language Benchmarks Scale of Ability

Stage I – BASIC
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12