THERE’S A NEW REGULATOR OF IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP CONSULTANTS

THERE’S A NEW REGULATOR OF IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP CONSULTANTS

November 24, 2021—The College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC) is now the official regulator of immigration and citizenship consultants across Canada. This means that whoever is paying or planning to pay for services by an immigration or citizenship consultant, must make sure that they are licensed under the College.

The College regulates immigration and citizenship consultants under the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants Act. It has new powers and tools to investigate professional misconduct and to discipline consultants. Unlike the former ICCRC (Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council) that was merely a non-profit corporation with powers limited to its members, the new College can also protect the public from unlicensed consultants by

  • entering a consultant’s premises to gather information for an investigation
  • compelling witnesses to appear and testify before its Discipline Committee
  • requesting court injunctions to address unlicensed actors providing immigration or citizenship advice without authorization

New, higher standards for consultants have also been introduced. Going forward, completing the new competency-based graduate diploma program will be the only way for aspiring consultants, who must already hold a bachelor’s degree, to enter the profession1. College licensees must also complete annual continuing professional development requirements and an annual practice assessment.

The new College is a key part of the government’s efforts to fight fraud in Canada’s immigration system. It builds on significant action over the past few years, including an investment of $50 million to fight fraud and new educational tools to help applicants identify fraudulent activity. It also fulfills a mandate commitment to strengthen oversight, uphold the integrity of Canada’s immigration system and protect all those who wish to come here.

What do immigration and citizenship applicants need to know?

The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Citizenship Act require that individuals who provide paid immigration or citizenship advice or representation be authorized to do so. These Acts make it an offence for anyone to represent or advise for a fee at any stage of an application or proceeding if they are not a member in good standing of one of the following:

  • a law society of a province or territory (for lawyers or, in Ontario, paralegals)
  • the Chambre des notaires du Québec
  • the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants

If you are using or planning to use an immigration or citizenship consultant, you should confirm they are licensed to practise by the College. You can do this by visiting the College’s website and confirming that your consultant is listed as a licensee in good standing of the College. You should also confirm that the contact information they have given you matches what is on the College’s website.

If you have a question or complaint about a licensed consultant, you should contact the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants.

1It deserves to be noted that unlike the bar associations that operate at the provincial level, CICC is a federal arm’s-length organization from the Government of Canada. While lawyers study the whole spectrum of the Canadian legislation and judicial practices, CICC members’ education is focused exclusively on immigration matters, thereby providing a deeper understanding of Canada’s immigration polices and procedures.

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ON NOVEMBER 23, 2021, THE COLLEGE OF IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP CONSULTANTS OFFICIALLY OPENED

From IRCC: On November 23, 2021, the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants officially opened.

What changed?

The College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants is now the official regulator of immigration and citizenship consultants across Canada. This means that if you’re paying or planning to pay for services by an immigration or citizenship consultant, they must be licensed under the College.

The College is an arm’s-length organization from the Government of Canada, and it’s governed by statute to serve the public interest—that is, the interests of clients of licensed immigration and citizenship consultants, as well as the general public. The College has several new authorities that the previous regulator did not have, which will help safeguard the professional compliance of its members and discipline unlicensed people who are not authorized to provide immigration consulting services. The new College will protect immigration and citizenship clients and strengthen the integrity of the consulting industry.

What do immigration and citizenship applicants need to know?

The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Citizenship Act require that individuals who provide paid immigration or citizenship advice or representation be authorized to do so. These Acts make it an offence for anyone to represent or advise for a fee at any stage of an application or proceeding if they are not a member in good standing of one of the following:

  • a law society of a province or territory (for lawyers or, in Ontario, paralegals)
  • the Chambre des notaires du Québec
  • the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants1

If you are using or planning to use an immigration or citizenship consultant, you should confirm they are licensed to practise by the College. You can do this by visiting the College’s website and confirming that your consultant is listed as a licensee in good standing of the College. You should also confirm that the contact information they have given you matches what is on the College’s website.

If you have a question or complaint about a licensed consultant, you should contact the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants.

Search for related information by keyword: Information policy | Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada | Canada | Immigration and citizenship | general public | backgrounders | Hon. Sean Fraser

1Unlike the provincial bars and the Chambre des notaires du Québec, the new College operates at the federal level, which is what the Supreme Court of Canada decided in its famous Law Society of British Columbia v. Mangat case ([2001] 3 SCR 113)-our note.

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