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2004-07

MINISTERS SGRO AND McLELLAN ANNOUNCE NEW REGULATIONS FOR IMMIGRATION REPRESENTATIVES

OTTAWA, April 8, 2004 — Judy Sgro, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, and Anne McLellan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, today announced new regulations that will, on April 13, 2004, stipulate that the Government of Canada will only recognize an immigration representative who is a member of a self-regulating association.

“It is no secret that some individuals prey upon people who wish to come to Canada, by providing bad information and poor advice, and charging exorbitant fees,” said Minister Sgro. “With these new regulations, everyone will have access to accredited, qualified and ethical representation.”

The regulations, to be published on April 14, 2004, in the Canada Gazette, will define who may, for a fee, represent, advise or consult with an individual who is the subject of any application or proceeding related to their immigration or refugee status. Under the new regulations, only the following people may act as paid representatives:

  • Immigration consultants who are members in good standing of the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants.
  • Lawyers who are members in good standing of a Canadian law society and students-at-law under their supervision.
  • Notaries who are members in good standing of the Chambre des notaires du Québec and students-at-law under their supervision.

The Government of Canada does not oblige anyone to have a representative. Furthermore, the regulations do not apply to friends, family members or organizations that do not charge a fee for providing advice and services.

The regulations affect individuals who pay a representative to provide advice and assistance on immigration and refugee matters with Citizenship and Immigration Canada and in proceedings before the Immigration and Refugee Board and the Canada Border Services Agency.

“Incidences of fraud and other questionable practices should be greatly reduced, while at the same time increasing the Canada Border Services Agency’s ability to meet its immigration enforcement mandate,” said Minister McLellan.

Individuals with applications or proceedings already under way as of April 13, 2004, may continue to use the services of their paid representative until April 13, 2008. After this date, if their representative is not a member of one of the organizations listed above, the individual may choose to either continue unrepresented or hire an authorized representative.

For more information on these regulations, please go to http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/consultants/index.html.

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For more information:

Citizenship and Immigration Canada:
Simone Mac Andrew
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister
(613) 954-1064

Claire Despins
Media Relations
Communications Branch
(613) 941-7035

Immigration and Refugee Board:
Media relations
(613) 947-0803

Canadian Border Services Agency:
Amélie Morin
Media Relations
(613) 948-5977

Visit the IRB Internet site: http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/
Visit the CBSA Internet site: http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/

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BACKGROUNDER

WHO CAN BE A REPRESENTATIVE

 
In some cases, individuals who wish to come to, or stay in, Canada choose to obtain the help of a representative for additional support or advice. The new regulations apply to:

  • those applying for a visa or making any other application under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, and
  • the subjects of proceedings for immigration or refugee matters before the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) or the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA).

There are two types of representatives: paid and unpaid.

Paid representatives

As of April 13, 2004, paid representatives must be authorized in order to conduct business on behalf of clients when dealing with the Government of Canada in immigration and refugee matters.

Authorized, paid representatives may be only:

  • immigration consultants who are members in good standing of the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants;
  • lawyers who are members in good standing of a Canadian law society and students-at-law under their supervision; and
  • notaries who are members in good standing of the Chambre des notaires du Québec and students-at-law under their supervision.

As of April 13, 2004, individuals who submit new applications, indicating that they have used a paid representative who is not authorized, may have their application packages returned by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). Proceedings before the IRB will continue, but the subject of the proceeding will be treated as unrepresented and the IRB will not deal with the unauthorized representative. Similarly, officers with the CBSA will deal only with the subject of the proceeding and not the unauthorized representative.

Individuals with applications or proceedings that are already under way as of April 13, 2004, may continue to use the services of their paid representative until April 13, 2008. After this date, if their representative is not a member of one of the above organizations, the individual may choose to continue unrepresented or hire an authorized representative.

Unpaid representatives

Some CIC clients and individuals appearing before the IRB or CBSA may choose to be represented by a person or an organization that does not charge a fee for the service. For example:

  • Non-governmental or religious organizations
  • Friends
  • Family members

Please note: No one is obliged to hire an immigration consultant or a lawyer to make a visa application to Canada, or to appear before the IRB or CBSA. The Government of Canada treats all matters equally whether a representative is present or not.