Coming Into Force of Bill C-35, An Act to Amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Authorized Representatives)
Citizenship and Immigration Canada: Operational Bulletin 317 – June 30, 2011
Bill C-35, An Act to Amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), comes into force on June 30, 2011. The Bill strengthens the rules governing those who provide immigration advice or representation for a fee or other consideration. Instructions are given to the field on how to process applications during the 120 day transitional period which accompanies the coming into force of this legislation.
The purpose of this Operational Bulletin (OB) is to provide guidance on the coming into force of Bill C-35, An Act to Amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), along with related amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR).
Bill C-35 makes several important changes to the IRPA:
It creates a new offence by extending the prohibition against representing or advising persons for consideration—or offering to do so—to all stages in connection with a proceeding or application under the IRPA, including before a proceeding has been commenced or an application has been made, and provides for penalties in case of contravention.
It includes the recognition of paralegals who are members in good standing of a provincial or territorial law society as authorized representatives, under paragraph 91(2)(b).
It provides the Minister with the authority to make regulations to designate or revoke the designation of a body responsible for the regulation of immigration consultants under subsection 91(5).
It gives the Minister the authority to provide for transitional measures, by regulation, in relation to the designation or revocation of the body responsible for regulating immigration consultants under subsection 91(7).
Facilitates information sharing with regulatory bodies regarding the professional and ethical conduct of their members under subsection 91(6).
For the purposes of this OB, the following issues are addressed:
Designation of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) and associated transitional provisions with regard to immigration consultants.
Lawyers, paralegals, and members of the Chambre des notaires du Québec.
Other third parties authorized to represent and advise on immigration matters
Bill C-35 also deals with other important issues, including information sharing and gathering measures. These issues will be clarified in an upcoming update to manual chapter IP 9, or in a further OB if necessary.
Throughout this OB, a “representative” is defined as a person who is authorized to represent or advise an applicant for consideration. A “consultant” is a specific type of representative, one who is a member in good standing of a body which has been designated by the Minister as the regulator of immigration consultants.
Designation of the ICCRC and associated transitional provisions with regard to immigration consultants
Pursuant to subsection 91(5) of the IRPA, the Minister has designated the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) as the governing body for the regulation of immigration consultants. The Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC) is no longer the governing body.
Members in good standing of the ICCRC are therefore recognized as persons who may represent or advise an applicant, for consideration, under paragraph 91(2)(c) of the IRPA.
As a transitional measure, the Minister has indicated by regulation that all members in good standing of CSIC on June 30, 2011 are also, temporarily, deemed to be members of the ICCRC. This measure will last for one hundred and twenty (120) days, until October 28, 2011. The transition period is in place for the following reasons:
To provide operational continuity for authorized immigration consultants and their clients.
To give CSIC members time to register with the ICCRC and become members in good standing of the new governing body.
To give the ICCRC time to bring their operations on-line.
On October 29, 2011 the transition period will end, and CSIC members who were in good standing on June 30, 2011 must have formally registered with the ICCRC to continue to be recognized.
From October 29, 2011 onwards, only immigration consultants who have formally registered with the ICCRC and been recognized by that body as members in good standing will be recognized as authorized to represent or advise clients as immigration consultants by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).