Alexandra Miekus - 09 December, 2020
An Act that provides a legal framework to regulate immigration and citizenship consultants is now in effect.
Called the "College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants Act", the new legislation is a step towards the future creation of the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants, which is scheduled to open in 2021.
The College will help address concerns raised over the past few years around non-lawyer representatives and protect Canadians and potential newcomers against fraudulent consultants.
Immigration consultants are not lawyers but are authorized to provide legal services in immigration and refugee matters. They are currently regulated by the self-governing, not-for-profit Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC), which was designated by the Government of Canada in 2011.
The Government of Canada proposed the act to create a new body to govern and regulate immigration and citizenship consultants and ensure their professional conduct back in April 2019.
The legislation would make the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants Canada’s official regulatory and oversight body.
To ensure the protection of the public, the new College will be subject to close government oversight, which will include the government's authority to establish a code of professional conduct for College licensees, the composition of the College's Board of Directors and the appointment of a majority of directors.
This Board of Directors will be responsible for the management of the activities and affairs of the College.
"The selection process for public interest directors is open, transparent and based on merit criteria. It will help to ensure the development of competent, diverse and well-qualified directors." the government said in its media release.
Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, said in the statement that the government is "taking decisive action to hold immigration and citizenship consultants to account by improving oversight and increasing accountability to protect both the public and consultants in good standing from dishonest consultants who are taking advantage of vulnerable people."