CES Updates and FAQs Regarding COVID-19

Due to new pandemic-related restrictions issued by the governments and the University of Toronto, majority of our staff continues to work remotely in 2021. However, most of our business operations will continue as normal. 

We are experiencing delays with our mail intake and processing of physical documents as these operations have been affected by COVID-19 restrictions. 

Please note that we are able to process all electronic documents remotely, so processing times for these applications remain unchanged.

You can check our current estimated processing times here.

As we support our clients in these difficult times, we would like to reassure you of our commitment toward quality, care, transparency, and accountability, and our utmost efforts toward minimizing the inconveniences caused.

 

Q. Are you Open?

No.  Our office is closed to the public, except for the receipt of courier deliveries. Majority of our staff continues to work remotely until further notice from the University of Toronto. Most of our business operations will continue as normal, but physical reports dispatch will be affected. We appreciate your understanding and patience as we work to ensure the safety of our staff.

 

Q. Are you able to receive mail?

Yes. As of February 1st, we now have two mail clerks on-site at our office. They are processing mail in stages based on the order in which it was received. This is the first time we have had access to our mail since mid-November, and there is a very large volume to be processed.  We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to resolve this backlog. This delay in mail processing will not affect your overall processing time.

If your educational institution can send us your official academic records (such as your academic record, official transcripts, and other institutional documents) electronically, this helps us provide you with quicker service.

Please check our guidelines on how to submit digital institutional documents.

 

Q. How do I check the status of my application?

You will receive from us email notifications of the progress of your application. Click here for more details about these notifications.

 

Q. Can I get a refund?

Please be advised that all fees are final and non-refundable. Once you have submitted your application, you have acknowledged and provided consent to having read and understood the Terms and Conditions.
If you still wish to cancel the assessment of your credential(s) without refund, please contact us.

We thank you for your patience and understanding. Once more, we sincerely regret the constraints the current circumstances are placing on the processing of your file and are doing all we can to minimize their impact.

 

Q. May I drop off my documents myself?

No. The building is strictly closed. We must remain in compliance with instructions issued by government authorities and the University of Toronto while we continue through the pandemic. If you have an institutionally sealed envelope in your possession, please hold on to it, until we inform you that our offices are re-opened.

 

Q. Do you still accept electronic transcripts?

Absolutely. However, they have to come from the academic institution directly.

CES accepts official academic records that are issued electronically and transmitted via established, secure inter-institutional means for review. If your former academic institution wants to use this digital means, please ask them to send the official academic records to ces.transcripts@utoronto.ca.

The electronic transcript must be sent via an institutional email address belonging to the appropriate office/department/unit that is in charge of academic document issuance or verification. Our office will then authenticate the electronic transcript according to our internal authentication procedures. Once we complete this, as we do at every stage of your application, we will confirm with you in writing.

Click here for more details on how to submit digital institutional documents.

 

Q. What are the alternative solutions you are adopting to proceed with my application remotely?

CES continues to apply regular authentication measures to review and authenticate applications with institutional documents received on and before November 12, 2020. Please note that we have also updated our official academic records requirement to include electronically delivered academic record from March onwards. We invite you to inquire with your former academic institution about these digital means.

  • Official Electronic Academic Records

Official academic records that are issued electronically and transmitted via established, secure inter-institutional means are accepted for review. If you wish to partake of this digital alternative, even if we have already received physical copies of your transcripts in our offices, you may contact your academic institution to request that they send your academic documents to us directly to ces.transcripts@utoronto.ca.

The electronic transcript must be sent via an institutional email address belonging to the appropriate office/department/unit that is in charge of academic document issuance or verification. 

Please check our guidelines on how to submit digital institutional documents.

Important Notes:

We are currently reviewing applications and authenticating physical institutional documents sequentially,  according to the order in which the documents were received at our office.

A parallel authentication process is in place for applications with electronic institutional documents received, according to the order in which they were delivered to our designated email address.

Although we deeply appreciate the impact of the ECA report on your immigration, education, employment and professional licensing efforts, we are unable to grant priority processing requests while we are doing all we can to catch up with the backlog.

 

Q. Can you expedite the processing of my application?

Regrettably,  no, we cannot. In order to maintain equitable access and our unwavering commitment to quality, client care, transparency and accountability, we continue to process applications in the order in which they were received. No priority processing request can be granted. We know the impact our work has on your professional, academic and immigration needs. Each of us is deeply aware of the stakes involved for you, as well as the pressing deadlines all of our applicants are facing, so we are mobilizing additional resources towards processing applications as quickly as possible.

 

Q. Can you assess my file based on my own scanned documents only? Can you make exceptions during this time?

No. CES ECA reports give immigration authorities, employers, educational institutions and regulatory bodies confidence in three elements: the recognition status of your program and institution, the authenticity of your particular documents, and the comparability of these credentials in the Canadian context. We strive to accommodate and remove barriers whenever possible, but we cannot compromise the integrity of the process by waiving the official document requirement. This quality assurance is the very foundation on which you have placed your trust in the Comparative Education Service.

 

Q. Have the processing times been affected due to the operational restrictions?

Regrettably, we are experiencing delays in processing institutional documents that were sent to us by mail after October 27th. We hadn’t had any staff in the office to process mail received between October 27th and February 1st. Our mail clerks who received permission recently to work on-site are currently sorting through thousands of pieces of mail and processing them sequentially by order of date on which they were received. We will need some time until we can digitize these documents and match them to the applications, at which point you will receive a confirmation message from us. This delay does not affect your overall processing time.

We do maintain a separate queue for electronically issued official transcripts, we are doing our best to minimize the delays all of our esteemed applicants have encountered. We thank you for your continued patience during this time and will reach out to you in writing with updates on your particular application as soon as they become available.

 

Q. Will IRCC, academic institutions, professional bodies, and employers accept the electronic ECA Report, even if it is “unofficial”?

Yes. Official CES ECA reports are printed on security paper; they will be issued and sent to you once we resume in-office operations. 

In the interim, you may submit your electronic ECA report as part of your immigration, employment, and academic applications. IRCC welcomes our e-reports for the entire duration of the office closures.

We also communicate promptly and proactively with institutional recipients about these interim measures. If the employer / regulatory body / academic institution to which you are submitting your ECA report requires a confirmation of its validity, please ask them to e-mail us at ces@learn.utoronto.ca.

 

Q: I am having trouble obtaining academic records or transcripts from my academic institution. Will my application be suspended or canceled?

We fully acknowledge that people may have challenges obtaining their official academic records. We assure you that no applications will be suspended or canceled due to delays you may experience while trying to get your documents to support your CES application.

 

Q: Has IRCC issued any information that I should know about?

Depending on your situation, you may wish to consult the IRCC website directly. In particular, please visit this page for important information related to IRCC processing during COVID-19.

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