Terms and definitions related to service delivery

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Authorized Representatives

Individuals who are members in good standing of a Canadian provincial/territorial law society – including paralegals – the Chambre des notaires du Québec, or the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC).

Compensated Representatives

Individuals who receive some form of consideration (typically in the form of a fee or payment), for the provision of advice or representation given to someone in connection with citizenship or immigration matters.

Concealed Representatives / Ghost consultants

Individuals who provide advice or representation on citizenship or immigration matters to a client for consideration and who do not submit an IMM 5476 (PDF, 648.31KB) declaring their professional relationship with the client.


Consideration is compensation or reward that is given or done in return for a service. Considerations are not necessarily in the form of payment, although money is the most common form of consideration. Any benefit which is given in return for a service is consideration, and can include personal services or material goods.

Contribution program

Certain refugees who are selected abroad (i.e., single parent, large refugee families, women at risk, disabled refugees) who apply for an immigration loan may have access to the contribution fund from the Resettlement Assistance Program.

This fund will pay, on a contribution basis, for transportation, medical examination and associated costs to the final destination in Canada for selected special-needs refugees.

Designated Individual

An individual who is not acting as a representative, but with whom the applicant permits IRCC and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to share their personal information. This individual has the capacity to change the client’s address and enquire about the status of the client’s application. However, this individual cannot conduct business with IRCC or the CBSA on the client’s behalf.


Includes all types of fee arrangements, direct or indirect.
Note that disbursements such as travelling expenses to represent a client free of charge may, but do not necessarily, constitute a fee per se.

Financial undertaking

When the applicant signs the loan agreement, i.e., IMM 0500E, IMM 0501B or IMM 5355B, it becomes a financial undertaking that holds the applicant legally responsible for the repayment of the RPRF, admissibility, transportation, or assistance loan.

Interest-free period

Convention refugees selected abroad are subject to a grace period from interest which may vary between one to three years, depending on the size of the loan. Interest begins to accrue on loans under $1200 after 12 months in Canada have elapsed. On loans of $1,200 to $2,400, interest begins to accrue only after 24 months. On loans of $2400 and above, interest begins to accrue after 36 months. The interest rate is established in January of each calendar year, based on the rate the Government of Canada charges for loans made to Crown corporations. That interest rate stays in effect for the life of the loan.

International Organization for Migration (IOM)

IOM is an international organization that assists in the orderly migration of persons to other countries. As one of its functions, the IOM provides transportation for many foreign nationals to Canada at greatly reduced prices. Both visa offices and immigration offices in Canada may use the travel services provided by IOM to arrange for the travel of applicants and/or their family dependants living abroad. Other services provided by the IOM include obtaining travel documents and exit permits, arranging for medical admissiblity examinations, and other services as required.

IOM Ottawa also processes the transportation warrants (IMM 0500E) for loan applicants.

Letter of Understanding

The Letter of Understanding sets out the financial arrangement made by an individual or sponsorship group on behalf of the loan applicant. As such, the letter of understanding is a legal document.

Loan repayment

The loan recipient is expected to repay the loan in full by consecutive monthly installments and in accordance with the repayment schedule set out in R291(2). Repayment should commence 30 days after the loan recipient arrives in Canada. Monthly installments are calculated according to a repayment schedule that is based on the amount borrowed (from 12 months to repay loans not exceeding $1,200, up to 72 months for loans over $4,800). Loan recipients do not need to wait until they receive a letter confirming their payment schedule; they are encouraged to start repaying their loans right away, to take full advantage of the interest-free period and thereby reduce their debt burden in the long run.

Pro bono

Representing someone on a volunteer basis without receiving any form of consideration.

Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP)

The Resettlement Assistance Program provides income support and a range of immediate essential services to Convention refugees and members of the Humanitarian-protected persons abroad classes.


A sponsor is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who agrees to provide support, both financial and emotional, to a Convention refugee or a member of the Humanitarian-protected persons abroad classes under the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) Program. They may sponsor a refugee through the following streams:

  • Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs) and/or their Constituent Groups (CGs);
  • Groups of Five (G5); and
  • Community Sponsors (CS)
Transportation warrant

When the IMM 0500E is used for a transportation loan, it is referred to as the “transportation warrant”. It enables the applicant to obtain one-way travel tickets to Canada when presented to the IOM, a travel company or agency authorized to provide travel accommodation for refugees.

Unauthorized Representatives

Unauthorized representatives are individuals who charge a fee or receive some form of compensation (direct or not) and who are not members in good standing of an accredited regulatory body. This includes individuals, who as part of their regular salaried positions, seek to give advice to clients on citizenship and/or immigration matters but are not a member in good standing with one of the regulatory bodies are considered to be unauthorized representatives. IRCC does not work with unauthorized representatives. The applicant must be notified if the individual does not meet the Department’s criteria to assist with the application process.

Uncompensated Representatives

Any person who does not receive direct or indirect consideration for providing advice or representation on citizenship or immigration matters. This could include a family member, friend, or a member of an international, religious or non-governmental organization.

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