Phase One

Project Update: Phase One
Updating the Essential Skills/Canadian Language Benchmark Comparative Framework

Project Team

NorQuest College (lead: Lisa Rochman)
Centre for the Canadian Language Benchmarks (lead: Krista Walsh-Murray)
InQuire Consulting


Provided by InQuire Consulting

Relating Canadian Language Benchmarks to Essential Skills: A Comparative Framework (CF) was produced in 2005 for the purpose of bringing together the communicative abilities described in the Essential Skills (ES) and the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB). The CF was designed from the perspective of Essential Skills, with the focus on illustrating how CLB levels lined up with ES tasks and descriptors.

The CF shows that the Essential Skills generally require language ability that aligns with Stage II and Stage III of the CLB scale. For this reason, the original CF document was used primarily by ESL practitioners working with learners at CLB 5 or higher.

Because instructors working with learners at CLB Stage I were interested in finding ways to incorporate Essential Skills principles into their classroom activities, a second resource was later developed for their use. This foundational framework was introduced as the Essential Skills Primer: CLB Stage I, and it included suggestions for activities that could help lower-level learners work toward developing the skills, strategies and abilities to eventually accomplish ES tasks.

The CF and ES Primer have been in use for more than a decade, during which time revisions have been made to the Canadian Language Benchmarks document.

Phase One Objectives

The main objectives of the revision are to:

  • update resource content to reflect CLB 2012
  • create one integrated resource by combining the CF and ES Primer into one framework
  • address the entire continuum from CLB 1 to 12 for all four language skills
  • enhance usability and accessibility of contents for practitioners

Phase One Updates

November 2017
National Survey results analyzed. See the results report

April 25, 2018
InQuire Consulting provided updates on project to date including research, consultation and proposed design of the new document. View the meeting  

If you were unable to make the meeting and would like to provide input into the design, sample pages are available for:

Comments on the design and layout can be sent to:



Lisa Rochman, Associate Dean
Faculty of Foundational, Career, & Intercultural Studies
NorQuest College

Kim Chaba, Instructor
Faculty of Foundational, Career, & Intercultural Studies
NorQuest College





LINC at NorQuest College