ARCHIVED – Backgrounder — Proposing a regulatory body to govern immigration consultants

The Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) is being proposed as the new regulator for immigration consultants.

This is part of a broader strategy to protect people wanting to immigrate to or stay in Canada from unethical or unprofessional behaviour by immigration consultants. Included in this strategy is Bill C-35, which aims to crack down on crooked immigration consultants by strengthening the rules governing those who charge a fee for immigration advice or representation; closing certain loopholes; increasing penalties for unauthorized representation; and allowing for more government oversight in order to improve the way in which immigration consultants are regulated. Bill C-35 was introduced in the House of Commons in June 2010 and is currently being considered by the Senate.

Selection process

A Notice of Intent was published on June 12, 2010, in the Canada Gazette announcing CIC’s intention to launch a transparent selection process to identify a regulator of immigration consultants. The notice sought input from the public on the proposed selection process.

A large number of comments were received and were considered in the development of a call for submissions soliciting submissions from candidates interested in becoming the regulator of immigration consultants. The Call for Submissions was published in the Canada Gazette on August 28, 2010, and closed on December 29, 2010.

A selection committee comprised of senior government officials and external experts examined all submissions. They examined them against the same five key factors–competence, integrity, accountability, good governance and viability–to determine each submitter’s potential to effectively regulate the profession, so as to protect people wanting to immigrate to or stay in Canada and preserve the integrity of the immigration system.

The committee reported its conclusions to the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism as to which organizations demonstrated the necessary organizational competencies to effectively regulate the profession. Based on these conclusions, the ICCRC is being proposed as the regulator best placed to govern immigration consultants.

The Selection Committee’s report in available on CIC’s website at www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/publications/selection/index.asp.

The ICCRC’s Submission

Focusing on membership, competence and compliance, complaints, investigations and discipline, the ICCRC demonstrated the capacity to meet established selection factors. The ICCRC demonstrated a commitment to enhanced standards of competence, integrity, accountability, viability and good governance in the immigration consulting industry.

The ICCRC has proposed innovative strategies, including: 

  • ways to ensure accountability and transparency to its membership;
  • a hotline for members of Parliament for complaints and questions;
  • robust certification procedures to accredit consultant training and continuing education programs;
  • the development of a fair and effective complaint and discipline mechanism; and 
  • public awareness campaigns and the creation of an outreach committee for regular communications with the public.

The ICCRC was incorporated under Part II of the Canada Corporations Act on February 18, 2011.

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