Among other measures found in Bill C-35, the Act provides the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism with the authority to make regulations in relation to the designation or removal of the body responsible for the regulation of immigration consultants.
By virtue of his new authority under the Act, the Minister will be enacting regulations designating the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) as the regulator of immigration consultants. Accordingly, the reference to the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC) in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations will be removed. As a result of these measures, the ICCRC will replace the CSIC as the governing body for immigration consultants. The Act will also give the Minister the authority to establish transitional measures.
With the designation of the ICCRC as regulator of immigration consultants, consultants who are currently members in good standing of CSIC will be deemed members of the ICCRC for a period of 120 days. To ensure a smooth transition, this transitional provision will allow CSIC members who are in good standing to continue to represent and advise applicants, for a fee or other consideration, during this 120‑day period. The transition period starts June 30, 2011, and ends October 28, 2011.
Current members of CSIC, in good standing at the time of the ICCRC’s designation, will be able to continue to practise throughout the transition period and won’t have to pay ICCRC membership fees during the 120‑day transition period. During that time, they will need to become members in good standing of the ICCRC in order to continue to provide their services after the transition period ends.
Current CSIC members in good standing are encouraged to register with the new regulator promptly, because if the 120‑day transitional period passes and they are not yet registered as members of the ICCRC, they will no longer be recognized as authorized immigration consultants. They would therefore not be authorized to represent or advise a person, or even offer to do so, for a fee or other consideration, in connection with a proceeding or application under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. After the 120-day deadline, CIC will not deal with CSIC members who have not registered with the ICCRC.
The Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council
If you have recently hired or plan to hire an immigration consultant, here is what you need to know.
Any immigration consultant who is a member in good standing of CSIC on June 30, 2011, will have until October 28, 2011, to register with the ICCRC if they wish to remain authorized.
It is your responsibility to ensure that any immigration consultant you have hired for a fee or other consideration is and remains authorized.
Please note that members in good standing of a law society of a province or territory, including paralegals, and members of the Chambre des notaires du Québec can also be immigration representatives. They, of course, will not need to register with the ICCRC.
It is your decision whether or not to use an immigration consultant, a lawyer, or another representative. No immigration consultant has special access to our programs and services. All the forms and guides you need to apply for any type of visa are available for free at www.cic.gc.ca.
If you have hired a member of CSIC or plan to hire a member of the ICCRC, a lawyer or another representative, make sure they are accredited. Don’t get cheated by a crooked consultant. If you have any questions or concerns, visit CIC’s website at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/protection/fraud/index.asp.
Why the ICCRC?
A notice was published on March 19, 2011, in the Canada Gazette, Part I, proposing to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations so that the ICCRC becomes the regulator of immigration consultants. The proposed amendments were open for public comment for a 30‑day period.
A total of 207 comments from 196 respondents were received and over 70 percent of the public comments supported the proposal to establish a new regulator of immigration consultants, indicated dissatisfaction with their current regulator, or supported the recognition of the ICCRC as the governing body for immigration consultants. One of the submissions received also included a petition signed by 479 CSIC members that were supportive of the naming of the ICCRC.
A large number of these comments referred to CSIC fees being too high. A number of comments referred to the transparency and integrity issues related to CSIC. Thirty-nine of the submissions received were opposed to the removal of CSIC’s recognition as regulator and 19 were neutral in nature.
June 28, 2011