A long overdy on immigrairo polcies
Canada is one of the top destinations in the world, with millions of people from across the globe hoping to come here every year to settle, visit or work. To navigate the immigration system, many people turn to consultants or other services for help. While nearly all operate honestly, unscrupulous actors can exploit the system and take advantage of people. That’s why the Government of Canada is strengthening the regulation of immigration consultants to protect those who wish to come here
Yesterday, the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, marked the official opening of the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants. The College is now the official regulator of immigration and citizenship consultants across the country. All paid consultants must be licensed by the College to work with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
The College regulates immigration and citizenship consultants under the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants Act. It has new powers and tools to investigate professional misconduct and to discipline consultants. The College can also protect the public from unlicensed consultants by
- entering a consultant’s premises to gather information for an investigation
- compelling witnesses to appear and testify before its Discipline Committee
- requesting court injunctions to address unlicensed actors providing immigration or citizenship advice without authorization
New, higher standards for consultants have also been introduced. Going forward, completing the new competency-based graduate diploma program will be the only way for aspiring consultants, who must already hold a bachelor’s degree, to enter the profession. College licensees must also complete annual continuing professional development requirements and an annual practice assessment.
The new College is a key part of the government’s efforts to fight fraud in Canada’s immigration system. It builds on significant action over the past few years, including an investment of $50 million to fight fraud and new educational tools to help applicants identify fraudulent activity. It also fulfills a mandate commitment to strengthen oversight, uphold the integrity of Canada’s immigration system and protect all those who wish to come here.
“We have an obligation to protect those who wish to come to our country—and we’re fulfilling it. The new College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants will ensure that aspiring Canadians get the professional and honest advice they deserve, and strengthen our immigration system so it can continue building the Canada of the future.” –The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
“It is the beginning of a new era in the regulation of the immigration consulting profession. We thank the Government of Canada for bringing in the College Act and helping us move forward to this historic day.”–John Murray, President and CEO, College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants
The opening date of the College was established in a Ministerial Order, which was published on August 14, 2021. This Order also formally approved the previous regulator, the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council, to continue as the new College.
The College is an arm’s-length institution, regulating the profession and protecting both the public and consultants in good standing from those who take advantage of vulnerable people.
The College’s initial board of directors will be comprised of 5 public interest directors (appointed by the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship) and 4 members of the College (consultants).
A code of professional conduct for the College will play a major role in establishing and maintaining strong ethical and professional standards by which all licensed consultants must abide.