As stated earlier, legislation cracking down on crooked immigration consultants (Bill C-35) comes into force on June 30, 2011. At the same time, the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) is confirmed as the new regulatory body for immigration consultants. The ICCRC will regulate the industry, enhance consumer protection and aim to uphold the integrity of the Canadian immigration system.
The ICCRC will also engage all stakeholders involved in immigration in order to develop new and innovative ways to protect the public, including newcomers to Canada from unauthorized providers of immigration services.
Immigration consultants and those currently members in good standing with the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC) can begin to register with the ICCRC. A 120-day transitional period is put in place to ensure a smooth transition and continuity of service for both CSIC members currently in good standing and their clients during the transition to the ICCRC. The transition period will end on October 28, 2011.
Current members of the CSIC will need to become members in good standing of the ICCRC in order to continue to provide their services after the transition period ends. If they fail to do so, they will no longer be recognized as authorized immigration consultants. They will lose their ability to represent or advise a person on immigration related matters, 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, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will not deal with CSIC members or any immigration consultants (except lawyers, paralegals or Quebec notaries) who have not registered with the ICCRC.
In short, immigration consultants must be either members in good standing of a provincial or territorial law society, including paralegals; members of the Chambre des notaires du Québec; or members of the governing body for immigration consultants, the ICCRC.
More information on transitioning to the ICCRC can be found here.
However, we must note that on April 5, 2011 the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC) filed an Application for Leave and Judicial Review to halt the Federal government’s plan to replace CSIC with the ICCRC. According to the CSIC, the ICCRC has no experience in consumer protection and will require more than $3.6 million taxpayer dollars to get off the ground. In the lawsuit CSIC alleges that the process the Federal government followed to select the regulator was biased, unreasonable and unfair.
On June 9, 2011, a federal court judge dismissed the CSIC motion to stop the government’s plan to replace CSIC with the ICCRC.