Ottawa: The College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants Act is now in force.
This Act provides a statutory framework to regulate immigration and citizenship consultants and will make the forthcoming College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants the official regulator of immigration and citizenship consultants across the country, Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced on November 26.
The coming into force of the Act means that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is one step closer to the opening of the new College, which is anticipated in 2021.
The College will be an arms-length institution mandated to regulate the profession in the public interest by protecting both the public and consultants in good standing from dishonest actors who take advantage of vulnerable people.
The new College will be subject to significant government oversight to ensure public protection. This includes government authority to establish a code of professional conduct for licensees of the College, to set the composition of the College Board of Directors, and appoint up to a majority of directors.
With this announcement, the Minister is honouring his mandate commitment to advance the full implementation of the new professional governance regime for immigration and citizenship consultants
While coming into force of the Act is a required step, opening the College will also require the appointment of public interest directors to the College board by the government. A notice of opportunity is posted on IRCC’s website for interested parties to apply for the public interest director positions on the College board.
The board’s mandate is to manage the activities and affairs of the College. The selection process for the public interest directors is open, transparent and based on merit criteria. Mendicino said: “We’re 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.”
• The College Act stems from the 2019 Budget Implementation Act, which proposed to improve the oversight of immigration consultants in Canada.
• The College will have the authorities necessary for the regulation of consultants, in particular tools to investigate professional misconduct and discipline its licensees. This includes the power to enter the premises of a consultant for the purpose of gathering information to support an investigation, and compelling witnesses to appear and testify before the Discipline Committee.