Canada invited every single CEC candidate in Saturday Express Entry draw

Shelby Thevenot
Published: February 23, 2021

Canada's immigration department confirmed to CIC News that every single person in the Express Entry pool who was eligible for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) was invited to apply for permanent residence on February 13.

That Saturday, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) invited 27,332 CEC candidates to apply, which is nearly six times more Invitations to Apply (ITAs) issued than the previous record of 5,000. The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) cut off was 75, another record-smasher, although the average CRS score of invited candidates was 415, IRCC said.

The tie-break rule was reported as an administrative requirement but IRCC did not actually use it, according to a spokesperson. This means that there was no CEC-eligible candidate in the pool with a score of 75 or lower who submitted their profile before September 12, 2020.

It is too early to say if the massive draw has caused an uptick in the number of new Express Entry profiles, especially for people who are in Canada and may be eligible for the CEC.

Did you receive an ITA? Get Help Submitting your PR Application.

However, we do know that Canada is prioritizing candidates who are already in Canada, due to the high immigration targets and travel restrictions. Furthermore, the government recognizes that Canada still needs immigrants to help grow the population. Before the pandemic, it was well-documented that Canada would need to look to immigration in order to sustain population growth, and make sure that there were enough workers in the labour market to fill the gaps left by retiring baby boomers.

"Immigration remains crucial to addressing Canada’s longstanding demographic challenges and labour market shortages, especially during the pandemic," an IRCC spokesperson said in an email. "While travel restrictions remain in place to protect the health and safety of Canadians, IRCC is exploring new ways for those who have already been hard at work in Canada to stay permanently."

What are the Canadian Experience Class eligibility requirements?

In order to be eligible for the Canadian Experience Class, you need to submit a profile to the Express Entry system. You will then get a score based on your education, work experience, language ability in English or French, age, and other factors.

IRCC will then invite you to apply for permanent residence, if you meet the basic eligibility criteria for the CEC.

Some of the key eligibility requirements include:

  • having 1,560 hours of paid Canadian work experience in a skilled occupation, which equates to about one year of full time work or two years of part time work;
  • having a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of 7 for managerial or professional occupations (NOC 0 or A), or CLB 5 for technical jobs and skilled trades (NOC B).

You also need to be admissible to Canada, and be living outside the province of Quebec, which has its own immigration system.

About 90 per cent of CEC-eligible candidates are already living and working in the country, even though it is not an eligibility requirement. However, with the current travel restrictions in place, it is difficult for many candidates outside of Canada to cross the border.

Check your eligibility for Express Entry

What do I do if I get an ITA?

Once you receive your Invitation to Apply, you have 90 days to apply for Canadian immigration, or decline your invitation. If you let the 90 days run its course with no action, your ITA will expire and you will no longer be in the Express Entry pool of candidates.

It is also a good time to check that you still meet the eligibility requirements for the CEC, or the other Express Entry-managed program that you were invited to apply for. If any changes in your personal situation lead to you or your spouse losing CRS points, IRCC recommends recalculating your score.

Some of the circumstances that could lower your CRS score include:

  • you no longer have a valid job offer;
  • you no longer have a provincial nomination; or
  • your language test scores expired, or were lower after you retested.

If your recalculated score is less than the lowest score in your round of invitations, IRCC says you should decline the invitation, which means you will be put back into the Express Entry pool and considered for future draws. Although there is no guarantee that you will be invited a second time, the alternative could mean you see your application refused.

Did you receive an ITA? Get Help submitting Your PR Application.

© CIC News All Rights Reserved. Visit to discover your Canadian immigration options.

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