Use of representatives: Compensated 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.
All representatives who charge a fee or receive other forms of consideration for the provision of advice or representation regarding an Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) application or proceeding must be authorized. To be authorized representatives they must be registered, and a member in good standing, with the appropriate regulatory body. For lawyers, and in some cases, paralegals, these are the Canadian provincial/territorial law societies, or the Chambre des notaires du Québec. For both citizenship and immigration consultants, the regulatory body is the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC). IRCC, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) will only deal with members in good standing of one of the regulatory bodies if the representative in question is receiving any compensation for their services, including payment.
Members of the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC)
As of November 23, 2021, the CICC is the official regulator of immigration and citizenship consultants across the country. It is an arm’s-length institution, regulating the profession by protecting both the public and consultants in good standing from those who take advantage of vulnerable people. The CICC regulates immigration and citizenship consultants under a statutory framework put in place by the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants Act. It has significant powers and tools to investigate professional misconduct and to discipline its licensees. It is also subject to appropriate government oversight.
Membership as a licensed consultant is granted by the CICC to individuals who have demonstrated their knowledge and ability to advise and represent people who seek to visit Canada temporarily, immigrate or sponsor a family member to Canada, or seek Canadian citizenship. Members must demonstrate their good character and meet the College's membership standards (knowledge, ethics, and language requirements).
To ensure the competent and professional conduct of its members, the CICC enforces the Code of Professional Ethics. In addition, licensed consultants must comply with the CICC’s bylaws and regulations.
Licensed consultants can practice anywhere both in Canada and overseas as long as they remain in good standing with the CICC. They may be retained for services by other companies/institutions such as immigration consulting agencies, educational institutions or employers.
College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC) agents
All licensed consultants must register their agents with the CICC. IRCC will not work with agents who are not registered. Agents and staff members are able to provide assistance to the licensed consultant. However, the licensed consultant must sign the IMM 5476 and is responsible for all advice and guidance given to the client by the agent. Agents and staff members are subject to the same rules and regulations that apply to licensed consultants (see Employees of lawyers and consultants). Agents and their associated consultant can be verified on the CICC search page.
Lawyers and Quebec notaries
Lawyers and Quebec notaries are regulated by their provincial and territorial law societies.
A law society’s mandate is to govern the legal profession and safeguard the public interest. It aims to ensure that clients are served by lawyers who meet high standards of learning, competence and professional conduct, and to uphold the independence, integrity and honour of the legal profession for the purpose of advancing the cause of justice and the rule of law.
A lawyer can be a member of any Canadian law society, and does not necessarily have to be registered in the province or territory where their client is located in order to provide citizenship or immigration advice or representation. To confirm if the person is in good standing, it may be necessary to confirm law society membership with the lawyer.
Lawyers may be retained by a company, a citizenship or immigration consultant firm, an educational institution or an employer to provide citizenship or immigration advice and guidance to clients or staff.
For more information see Number formats for authorized representative membership.
Students-at-law may represent and/or advise, for consideration, a person who is the subject of a proceeding or an application under IRPA or the Citizenship Act, provided that they are under the direct supervision of a member in good standing of a Canadian provincial/territorial law society or the Chambre des notaires du Québec.
Students-at-law are authorized to complete and sign the IMM 5476. The supervising lawyer maintains responsibility for the advice and guidance that is provided to the client. The supervising lawyer’s details (contact info/ ID #) must be included on the IMM 5476. Officers should verify students-at-law on the websites of the provincial/territorial law societies and Quebec notaries’ association. The Regulations apply to students-at-law in the same manner as they would to a lawyer.
Paralegals are authorized representatives if they are a member in good standing of a Canadian provincial or territorial law society or the CICC.
Currently, only the Law Society of Upper Canada in Ontario admits paralegals as members.
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