Use of representatives: Guidelines for other stakeholders

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

Many stakeholders are now required to be members of a prescribed profession or regulatory body if they wish to provide services to their clients, when they were not obliged to be members in the past.

However, it is important to understand that certain functions are permitted for individuals who are not authorized representatives. In general, if a person is providing services which do not involve advising or representing someone on a citizenship or immigration matter, then he or she is not required to be an authorized representative. Examples of individuals who might provide such services may include translators, travel agents, recruiters and adoption agencies. The key factor is these people must not be providing citizenship or immigration advice or representation to their clients.

Stakeholder dos and don’ts

Stakeholder dos

  • direct someone to the Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website to find information on:
    • citizenship and immigration programs
    • application forms, or
    • authorized representatives
  • provide services such as:
    • translation
    • travel arrangements
    • couriers medical services (i.e. medical exams, DNA testing)
  • advise international students on how to select their courses or register
  • conduct job interviews

Stakeholder don’ts

  • explain and/or advise on someone’s citizenship or immigration options
  • guide a client on how to select the best immigration stream
  • communicate with IRCC and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) on a client’s behalf (except for direct translation of a client’s written or spoken submissions)
  • represent a client in a citizenship or immigration application or proceeding
  • represent a client in a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
  • advertise that they can provide citizenship or immigration advice or representation for consideration

Employment agents and recruiters (Human Resources and Temporary Foreign Worker recruiters)

Employment agents and recruiters are often engaged by companies who are seeking to fill job vacancies. Under the Regulations, an agent or recruiter who acts on behalf of a company to scout or interview job applicants, make offers of employment, and review job applications is not required to be an authorized representative.

However, employment agents or recruiters must be authorized representatives if they provide immigration advice or representation to their clients (includes assisting with work permit or visa applications), even if these services occur prior to the submission of the application. These services would also include providing advice or representation in making applications for Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA) to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), as these applications are in connection with immigration applications.

Employees of lawyers and consultants

Employees of law firms or consulting companies who are not, themselves, members in good standing of a law society, the Chambre des notaires du Québec or the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC) are not authorized representatives. Therefore, they cannot provide advice or represent for consideration at any IRCC proceedings, including interviews.

However, following the submission of a Use of a Representative (IMM 5476) form it is acceptable for directly supervised employees to prepare documentation and correspondence on behalf of the authorized representative. Under the provisions of their relevant professional codes of conduct, the lawyer, notary or CICC member is accountable and responsible for their employee’s actions and conduct. Written correspondence from employees of authorized representatives must meet all of the following:

  • be prepared on the authorized representative’s company/individuals letterhead
  • clearly indicate in the signature block that the employee is “acting under the direction of” the authorized representative if the correspondence is not signed by the authorized representative
  • clearly indicate the name of the authorized representative and, if applicable, the name and the membership number of the regulatory body to which they belong.

IRCC offices that allow for the pick-up of documents may continue to provide such documents to employees of lawyers or regulated consultants, provided the applicant has notified the office in writing that they have given this individual their permission to collect the document. Suitable identification is required at the time of pick-up in order for officers to adequately identify the designated individual. Refer to Communicating with representatives for written and oral office procedures.

MPs and MP constituency assistants

Paragraph 8(2)(g) of the Privacy Act permits a government institution to disclose personal information "to a Member of Parliament for the purpose of assisting the individual to whom the information relates in resolving a problem."

MPs usually delegate constituency business to constituency assistants. These assistants request personal information on the behalf of MPs. IRCC offices may release personal information to constituency assistants provided it is clear that MPs have designated them for this purpose.

Adoption agencies

Persons employed by an adoption agency who provide advice or representation regarding the citizenship or immigration application, such as filling out forms or representing the applicant in their dealings with IRCC, must be authorized representatives as these activities are directly related to the citizenship or immigration application which will be submitted.

Caregivers’ agents

Caregivers’ agents who provide advice or representation related to the submission of an immigration application, such as filling out forms or representing the applicant in their dealings with IRCC must be authorized representatives.

Entities or organizations with an arrangement or agreement with the Government of Canada

If an entity or organization, or a person acting on its behalf, offers or provides citizenship or immigration advice or representation which is consistent with an agreement or arrangement made between the entity / organization and the Government of Canada, then subsection 91(4) of IRPA or subsection 21.1(4) of the Citizenship Act states that providing these services does not contravene section 91(1) of IRPA or section 21.1(1) of the Citizenship Act. This holds true only if the services provided are consistent with the agreement / arrangement with the Government of Canada.

Examples of organizations that have such an arrangement / agreement include the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and certain service provider organizations such as Visa Application Centres (VACs) which are specifically fulfilling their obligations as per the arrangement or agreement they have with the Crown. The Crown must initiate the agreement/arrangement.

Visa Application Centres (VACs)

VACs are service providers contracted by the Government of Canada (GC) to provide administrative support service to applicants related to their study permits, work permits, visitor visas and travel documents for permanent resident applications. As noted, VACs can provide these services in accordance with the agreement they have with the Crown.

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