IRCC Minister Transition Binder 2021: Immigration and Citizenship Consultants - Implementation of a New Governance Regime

[Redacted] appears where sensitive information has been removed in accordance with the principles of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.


Newcomers and applicants often rely on the advice and expertise of immigration and citizenship consultants to assist and represent them in navigating complex application processes, but can become the victims of unscrupulous consultants or other fraudulent actors.

Who are authorized immigration and citizenship consultants?

The objective

Background – continued

Key Challenges

The professionalism of consultants and the effectiveness of their regulator have been frequently called into question and studied in depth over the past decades. Shortcomings of the current regime as identified by the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration in 2017 include:

Majority Consultant Directors

Limited Authorities

Lack of Oversight

Current Status

To address the identified weaknesses, a new governance regime is being introduced:

New investments of $48.3M over four years and $9.84M ongoing to:

The College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants Act (College Act) received Royal Assent in June 2019 as part of the Budget Implementation Act and came into force in December 2020. The Act:

New oversight, compliance, and enforcement measures will better protect clients from unethical consultants and help to maintain the integrity of Canada’s immigration system.

New Governance Regime


New College with tools and mandate to regulate in the public interest

Compliance / Enforcement

More dishonest consultants are punished and unscrupulous behaviour is deterred

Public Education

Clients in Canada and overseas are better informed of the risks of using unauthorized consultants

Key Implementation Elements

A fair and transparent appointments process was conducted, with 16 candidates meeting all criteria. Final step is for the Minister to formally appoint 5 individuals to the Board via a Ministerial Order.

The College Act requires that IRCC prescribe the functioning of the Registrar, Victim Compensation Fund, complaints process, investigations, reporting, and the handling of personal information.

  1. Decision on Continuance for College Opening Completed
    • Following a Ministerial Order, the College is set to open on November 23, 2021.
  2. Ministerial Appointments of Public Interest Directors Decision Pending
    • College Opens November 23, 2021
  3. Code of Conduct In Development [Redacted]
    • Minister to establish a Code of Conduct for consultants to establish strong ethical and professional standards. [Redacted]
  4. New College Regulations In Development [Redacted]
  5. IRCC Administrative Penalties Regulations In Development [Redacted]
    • The new Act enables a new system of administrative penalties and consequences for violations related to the provision of immigration and citizenship advice and representation. [Redacted]

Key Decisions and Next Steps

Early decision on Ministerial appointment of Public Interest Directors


Decision required:

Next steps:

Future steps requiring ministerial approval

Item for ministerial awareness

Annex a: Current Roles and Responsibilities

Key Stakeholders

Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB)


Authorized Consultants

Represent clients at proceedings

Submit applications for clients


Unauthorized Consultants (Ghosts)


IRPA & Citizenship Act Offences

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Criminal Code Offences


Provinces / Territories

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