Backgrounder — Bill C-35 — Highlights

Bill C-35, An Act to Amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (formerly called the Cracking Down on Crooked Consultants Act) received Royal Assent on March 23, 2011 and is coming into force on June 30, 2011.

At its core, the Act amends the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), making it an offence for anyone other than an authorized representative to conduct business, for a fee or other consideration, at any stage of an application or proceeding. This includes the period before a proceeding begins or an application is submitted and means that anyone who provides paid immigration advice at the pre-application stage will need to be an authorized representative, as identified in section 91 of the Act.

Unpaid third parties, such as family members and friends, can still act on behalf of an applicant.

The Act also:

  • Includes the creation of a specific offence and doubles penalties from $50,000 to $100,000 and/or imprisonment for up to two years upon conviction by indictment; and from $10,000 to $20,000 and/or imprisonment for up to six months on summary conviction;
  • Provides the Minister with the power, by regulation, to designate or revoke the designation of a body responsible for governing immigration consultants and to provide for transitional measures with respect to such a designation, or revocation of a designation;
  • Authorizes the Governor in Council to make regulations requiring the designated body to provide the Minister with information regarding its activities. This information would be used to assist the Minister in evaluating: the effectiveness of the body in ensuring the integrity of the immigration program; whether the designated body is regulating its members in the public interest; and whether its members are providing their services in a professional and ethical manner; and
  • Includes a provision allowing the disclosure of information relating to the professional or ethical conduct of individuals to those responsible for governing or investigating that conduct.

While the Act will be in force as of June 30, 2011, regulations regarding information gathering and disclosure will be enacted at a later date.

June 28, 2011

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