Use of representatives: Communicating with representatives

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

Responding to case status enquiries

  • A professional, non-adversarial relationship must be maintained in which an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) officer’s fairness and objectivity cannot be called into question because of the appearance of conflict of interest or bias, either positive or negative.
  • It is important to provide all applicants with the same service standards and courtesies, whether they have hired a representative or not. This ensures a level playing field between applicants who are represented and those who are not, and provides all applicants with equal access to IRCC’s offices.
  • Verify the client’s representative has the appropriate authority to act on their behalf.
  • Once an officer is satisfied that a representative has been designated by the applicant, they may respond to straightforward case status inquiries verbally or in writing. If there is any doubt as to a representative's identity, information should not be given over the telephone. Any complex or in-depth inquiry or discussion related to an individual case should be accepted and responded to in written form only.
  • Any case-specific interchange of information should have a written record, including an annotation in the Global Case Management System (GCMS) case notes to ensure that no misunderstandings occur.
  • To ensure that the correct information for the representative is used in communication with the applicant or representative, please refer to July 20, 2021 – Operational Reminder: Recording identity information of representatives in GCMS.

Call Centre procedures

Call Centre agents are mandated to only provide case-specific information on applicants being processed within Canada.

Case-specific information can be released to a representative or a designated individual on the telephone if that person has been permitted and appointed by the applicant in writing to receive information on the case. This individual will also be expected to answer specific client identifiers relating to the applicant. According to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act, if the information provided matches details in GCMS, the Call Centre agent can release case-specific information to a third party in good faith. The applicant and Members of Parliament who are enquiring on behalf of the applicant, can also receive case-specific details about their file, on the condition that they provide the required client identifiers.

Staff members at the law firm of the lawyer acting as the representative are also able to receive this information. Case specific information cannot be given to staff members of a consultant (College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants, CICC member).

One of the biggest challenges for Call Centre agents isn’t with the release of information, but the amendment of information currently on file by a third party, specifically a change of address. Call Centre agents can allow a representative or designated individual to update a client’s address if the applicant has permitted this individual in writing to receive information on the case. This decision is based on IRCC recognizing that the designated individual can change a client’s address electronically using IRCC’s secure online service. This also resolves the challenge for a number of clients who face language barriers and who require assistance with providing their new address in either French or English.

Call Centre process to add an IMM 5476 to an application already in progress

Clients who have already submitted their application and want to add an IMM 5475/5476 contact the Call Centre. If the client has an email address, the Call Centre sends the following via info-client: “If your application was already submitted, use the IRCC webform and upload the IMM 5476 or Power of Attorney.” The webform may be used to change or add a representative and the client has the ability to upload a Use of Representative Form (IMM 5476).

More information on Call Centre procedures and the authorization to release information is available on Webcart.

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