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Canada to open College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC) in 2021

To better protect newcomers and applicants to Canada from unscrupulous and fraudulent consultants, the Government of Canada announced in 2019 its intention to strengthen the regime governing immigration and citizenship consultants by implementing a new statutory College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants – CICC. The College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants Act came into force on November 2020, and the College is expected to open in 2021.

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The CICC will be replacing the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) which was set up in 2011 because of irregularities regarding how the previous body, the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC), created in 2003, was being managed. But the ICCRC itself has been the subject of complaints ranging from accounting fraud to human rights violations, forgery and conflict of interest. A parliamentary committee recommended that the ICCRC be disbanded in June 2017.

With the formation of the CICC the immigration consulting industry remains self-regulated and many have wondered that, in light of the failure of similar bodies (ICCRC and CSIC) in the past, the federal government has missed the opportunity to bring the regulation of immigration consultants directly under its oversight.

The CICC Mandate

The mandate of the CICC is to regulate the practice of immigration and citizenship consulting in the public interest, and it will operate as an arm’s-length institution.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) says the CICC will be subject to ‘significant government oversight’. The government will establish the code of conduct, set the composition of the College Board of Directors, and appoint up to a majority of directors, IRCC says.

“Our government is taking decisive action to hold immigration and citizenship consultants to a much higher standard as we do with other professions, such as lawyers and doctors. By introducing new legislation, we are going to protect Canadians, prospective newcomers and good-standing immigration and citizenship consultants against the fraudulent consultants who are preying on the most vulnerable.”

The CICC will be the official watchdog of consultants across the country with both the powers and tools needed for vigorous oversight, enforcement, investigations and punishment to root out fraudulent immigration and citizenship consultants and hold them accountable for their actions.

In addition, IRCC will work with the College to:

  • implement a mandatory and robust course for those wishing to obtain an immigration and citizenship consulting license
  • introduce transparency on fees
  • provide a better system for people to make formal complaints against a consultant
  • conduct investigations into a licensee’s conduct and activities
  • prohibit persons who are not licensees from using certain titles and representing themselves to be licensees and empower the CICC to seek an injunction for the contravention of those prohibitions
  • take or require action if the CICC determines that a licensee has committed professional misconduct or was incompetent