ARCHIVED – Report of the Selection Committee – Assessment of proposals from candidates interested in becoming the regulator of immigration consultants

Archived information

Archived information is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

Table of contents


Cover letter

January 27, 2011

Dear Minister:

In accordance with the Notice in the Canada Gazette of August 28, 2010, requesting submissions from candidates interested in becoming the regulator for immigration consultants, I am writing to you to advise you of the outcome of the Selection Committee’s deliberations and its recommendations on the submissions.

As Chair of the Selection Committee, I am pleased to inform you that the members of the Selection Committee reviewed the submissions from January 11 to January 24, 2011. During this time, the Committee held a series of meetings, including a two-day meeting in Ottawa on January 19 and 20, 2011, to review the four submissions that were received by the deadline of December 29, 2010. As you know, the committee was comprised of seven members and was served by a small secretariat. The Selection Committee members were as follows:

External expert members of the Selection Committee:

  • Mr. Tung Chan, Vice Chair, Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 
  • Mr. James K. Martin, President, JK & E Martin Consulting Inc.
  • Ms. Poonam Puri, Associate Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
  • Mr. Adnan Türegün, Executive Director, Centre for International Migration and Settlement Studies, Carleton University

Public Service members of Selection Committee:

  • Mr. Paul Haddow, Senior Advisor, Programs Branch, Canada Border Services Agency 
  • Ms. Sandra Harder, Acting Director General, Immigration Branch, Citizenship and Immigration Canada

The Committee also received expert financial advice from Ms. Pascale Legault, Director General, Financial Management, Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The secretariat was comprised of three persons from the Operational Management and Coordination Branch, namely, Mr. Andrew Brown, Mr. Grant Duckworth, and Ms. Melina Larizza and two from the Immigration Branch, Ms. Caroline Riverin Beaulieu and Mr. Simon Cardinal.

The Committee’s deliberations were guided by the selection factors established in the Canada Gazette notice; submitters were required to demonstrate how the proposed regulatory body has or will have the capacity to meet the factors as described namely, competence, integrity, accountability, viability and good governance.  In addition, each submission was reviewed from an overall perspective in order to assess how each proposal: i) provided a vision forward for  the immigration consultant regulator; ii) demonstrated an understanding of the depth and scope of the task; and iii) demonstrated the experience and expertise  that the candidate organization would bring to the function of regulator. The Committee’s assessment of how each of the submissions meets or does not meet the selection factors is contained in the attached report.

The Selection Committee has concluded that the submission of the proposed Institute of Chartered Canadian Immigration Practitioners (ICCIP) meets the selection factors of the Notice in the Canada Gazette, and that the submission of the existing regulator, the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC) largely meets the selection factors of the Notice in the Canada Gazette. It is also our assessment that two submissions, one from the proposed Federal Society of Citizenship and Immigration Councils Inc. (FSCIC) and the other from the proposed Association of Immigration Consultants of Canada (AICC) did not meet the selection factors.

With respect to the CSIC and ICCIP submissions, the Selection Committee would like to draw some additional points to your attention and for your consideration as each of these submissions may require further work, although of a different nature, prior to implementation. In this regard, the Department stands ready to work with the groups behind either of the submissions, should you wish us to do so.

In the case of the ICCIP submission, the proponents made a concerted effort to demonstrate how the ICCIP would fully address areas of concern that were expressed by the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration in their report of June 2008; and that gave impetus to the Notice in the Canada Gazette. In the Committee’s view, some further work is required to address implementation issues such as the need to revisit what appears to be an ambitious timeline and the need to clarify certain elements of the financial plan.

In the case of CSIC, the submission missed the opportunity to demonstrate how CSIC would address areas of concern that were expressed by the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration in their report of June 2008; and that gave impetus to the Notice in the Canada Gazette. In the Committee’s view, because CSIC has not demonstrated a forward-looking action plan, the additional work required is more difficult to ascertain with precision and could well be extensive.

I trust that you will find the recommendations of assistance to you and, should you wish further clarification, please do not hesitate to let me know.  On behalf of the Committee, whose efforts to complete our assessment in a timely manner have been substantial, I thank you for the opportunity to participate in this process.

Yours truly,

______________________________
Caroline Melis
Chair of the Selection Committee, and
Director General, Operational Management Coordination Branch
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
______________________________
Tung Chan
Selection Committee Member
______________________________
Paul Haddow
Selection Committee Member
______________________________
Sandra Harder
Selection Committee Member
______________________________
James K. Martin
Selection Committee Member
______________________________
Poonam Puri
Selection Committee Member
___________________________
Adnan Türegün
Selection Committee Member

Summary of the Assessment of Submissions

Candidate: Federal Society of Citizenship and Immigration Councils Inc. (FSCIC)

In the view of the Committee, this submission does not adequately address the selection factors outlined in the Gazette Notice.

The FSCIC submission does not include a coherent vision or a clearly defined strategy to meet the established organizational competencies that serve as selection factors. Furthermore, the submission does not address some basic elements of the Gazette Notice as evidenced by the fact that a statutory body is proposed rather than a non-profit corporation and several documents in the submission indicate that they were drafted before issuance of the Gazette Notice.

While the accountability factor has been addressed, the candidate fails to demonstrate that it has sufficient understanding of the scope and depth of the task at hand to effectively regulate immigration consultant activities in the public interest, to enhance public confidence in the immigration process and to preserve the integrity of the immigration system.

Candidate: Institute of Chartered Canadian Immigration Practitioners (ICCIP)

In the view of the Committee, the submission addresses the selection factors outlined in the Gazette Notice.

The submission presents a plan to be transparent, to build the relationship between the regulator and its members and is a comprehensive and positive response to the Gazette Notice. The submission demonstrates that the candidate will have the ability to meet the competencies outlined. This is demonstrated through innovative strategies, such as a hotline for Members of Parliament, unity of thought and a coherent vision. The submission demonstrates that the new regulatory body will have the depth and breadth of experience in the field to effectively regulate immigration consultant activities in the public interest, to enhance public confidence in the immigration process and to preserve the integrity of the immigration system.

The submission demonstrates the capacity to engage in strategic planning and performance management (statement of problem, background, process, timeline, deliverables, outcomes). The submission recognizes the good practices and trends in other regulated professions with respect to an arms-length relationship between a regulator and educational institutions.

Some of the timelines presented in the submission are ambitious and may not be feasible; however, the submission recognizes the importance of a smooth transition to a new regulatory body and demonstrates considerable effort in describing how such a transition could be carried out. The submission recognizes the challenges that would lie ahead and demonstrates a willingness to work further on refining the submission if certain aspects require development or adjustment.

Candidate: Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC)

In the view of the Committee, the submission technically addresses the selection factors outlined in the Gazette Notice.

The submission reflects that CSIC is the current regulator. The comprehensive supporting documentation regarding policies and processes currently in place demonstrates the complexity of the role as a self-regulatory body. While CSIC has undertaken an evaluation of several of its current practices, it is not clear in the submission how CSIC intends to implement recommendations found in those evaluations.

In the view of the Committee, the submission reflects an approach based largely on a continuation of the status quo if CSIC continues to be the regulator. The submission is not very forward-looking and does not provide an action plan to describe how CSIC would make changes or address areas of concern that were the impetus to the Gazette Notice. The Committee found the lack of a plan to respond more positively to these issues to be a weakness of the submission.

Candidate: Association of Immigration Consultants of Canada (AICC)

In the view of the Committee, this submission does not adequately address the selection factors outlined in the Gazette Notice.

The AICC submission fails to provide a substantive plan to address each of the selection factors, and due to the limited documentation and evidence in a number of key areas such as finance, governance and accountability, the Committee is not satisfied that the candidate demonstrated more than a superficial understanding of the scope and depth of the task at hand to effectively regulate immigration consultant activities in the public interest, to enhance public confidence in the immigration process and to preserve the integrity of the immigration system.

Candidate: Federal Society of Citizenship and Immigration Councils Inc. (FSCIC)

In the view of the Committee, this submission does not adequately address the selection factors outlined in the Gazette Notice.

The FSCIC submission does not include a coherent vision or a clearly defined strategy to meet the established organizational competencies that serve as selection factors. Furthermore, the submission does not address some basic elements of the Gazette Notice as evidenced by the fact that a statutory body is proposed rather than a non-profit corporation and several documents in the submission indicate that they were drafted before issuance of the Gazette Notice.

While the accountability factor has been addressed, the candidate fails to demonstrate that it has sufficient understanding of the scope and depth of the task at hand to effectively regulate immigration consultant activities in the public interest, to enhance public confidence in the immigration process and to preserve the integrity of the immigration system.

Selection factors from the Canada Gazette Assessment Comments

Competence

Does Not Meet

In the view of the Committee, the candidate has not demonstrated competence as a regulator as specified in the Gazette Notice.

The Committee notes weaknesses in a number of areas of the submission, including:

  • Individuals who appear to have experience as immigration consultants have been identified; however, biographies or résumés are not provided.
  • Plans to recruit knowledgeable employees in order to set standards of competence and official language standards are not clearly outlined.
  • Governance between FSCIC, its affiliates (Canadian Society of Immigration Practitioners, Canadian Bureau Association, College of Citizenship and Immigration Councils of Canada) and the proposed legislation (Regulated Citizenship and Immigration Professions Act) is not clearly defined.
  • Accreditation process is not clearly explained as it refers to both “full licensure” and “provincial licensure” as well as several stages to obtain a licence.
  • Although the need for fair policies and procedures to deal with complaints is addressed in the submission, the operation of a complaints mechanism is not sufficiently described.
  • No evidence of a compensation fund in the submission.
  • Proposed legislation refers to the right to use either official language in dealing with the College; however, there does not appear to be any reference to official language standards.

Integrity

Does Not Meet

In the view of the Committee, the candidate has not demonstrated how it will protect the Canadian public and those who use the services of immigration consultants, enhance public confidence in the immigration process and preserve the integrity of the immigration system.

The submission includes:

  • Integrity as a key factor for the organization and the board members.
  • A code of conduct for Council Members and a conflict of interest code for all members.
  • Creation of a Media Expert Advisory Committee.

The Committee notes weaknesses in a number of areas of the submission, including:

  • A coherent awareness campaign is not articulated nor is a strategy to evaluate its effectiveness.
  • Only a limited description of procedures to address disciplinary matters is provided.
  • Effective remedies to address breaches of the code of conduct by Council Members are not proposed. 

Accountability

Meets

In the view of the Committee, the candidate has demonstrated how it intends to foster a culture of transparency and openness so that the candidate can be properly accountable to its membership and to the Canadian public.

Examples include:

  • Review of candidate’s processes by outside authorities is proposed to ensure transparency.
  • Posting of certain information on its website such as meeting schedules and agenda of the Board of Directors and subcommittees is proposed.
  • A full disclosure policy for contracts with a value exceeding $5,000 is proposed.
  • A three-year term limit for board members is indicated.

The Committee notes weaknesses in a number of areas of the submission, including:

  • Structure of the Council is not clear and lack of proportionality between provinces in the election section is not explained.
  • Ability of members to access the nomination committee and challenge bylaws is not adequately explained.
  • The proposed bylaws do not include a provision for the recall of board members.

Viability

Does not meet

In the view of the Committee, the candidate has not demonstrated that it has expertise in financial management and reporting and the ability to ensure the same on an ongoing basis.

The Committee notes weaknesses in a number of areas of the submission, including:

  • Financial information is not clearly organized. 
  • Limited detail regarding the recruitment of qualified financial personnel.
  • Limited information to address business start-up or transition costs and there appears to be no evidence of secured credit.   
  • Lacking supporting calculations and assumptions on budgetary estimates. 
  • A plan to develop the membership base and financial sustainability is not sufficiently documented. 
  • A statutory body rather than a non-profit corporation is proposed.

Good governance

Does not meet

In the view of the Committee, the candidate has not demonstrated how the Board of Directors will contribute to the positive reputation of the regulator through good governance.

The submission includes:

  • The roles and responsibilities of Council Members (Board).
  • Competency requirements for the Council Members.
  • Remuneration is proposed in the bylaws.
  • Commitment to have Council meetings open to the public, with the exception of “in camera” meetings.
  • An undertaking to be respectful of linguistic diversity.

The Committee notes weaknesses in a number of areas of the submission, including:

  • Lack of a clear and well defined Human Resources plan to describe the recruitment and hiring process.
  • While remuneration is addressed in the bylaws, a process for establishing paid honoraria comparable to similar self-regulating bodies is not described.
  • Insufficient evidence of financial literacy within the FSCIC.
  • Insufficient demonstration of an ability to engage in strategic planning and organization performance measurement and evaluation.

Candidate: Institute of Chartered Canadian Immigration Practitioners (ICCIP)

In the view of the Committee, the submission addresses the selection factors outlined in the Gazette Notice.

The submission presents a plan to be transparent, to build the relationship between the regulator and its members and is a comprehensive and positive response to the Gazette Notice. The submission demonstrates that the candidate will have the ability to meet the competencies outlined. This is demonstrated through innovative strategies, such as a hotline for Members of Parliament, unity of thought and a coherent vision. The submission demonstrates that the new regulatory body will have the depth and breadth of experience in the field to effectively regulate immigration consultant activities in the public interest, to enhance public confidence in the immigration process and to preserve the integrity of the immigration system.

The submission demonstrates the capacity to engage in strategic planning and performance management (statement of problem, background, process, timeline, deliverables, outcomes). The submission recognizes the good practices and trends in other regulated professions with respect to an arms-length relationship between a regulator and educational institutions.

Some of the timelines presented in the submission are ambitious and may not be feasible; however, the submission recognizes the importance of a smooth transition to a new regulatory body and demonstrates considerable effort in describing how such a transition could be carried out. The submission recognizes the challenges that would lie ahead and demonstrates a willingness to work further on refining the submission if certain aspects require development or adjustment.

Selection factors from the Canada Gazette Assessment Comments

Competence

Meets

In the view of the Committee, the candidate has demonstrated competence as a regulator as specified in the Gazette Notice.

Examples include:

  • Individuals behind the submission have relevant experience and qualifications.
  • Commitment to have well trained staff in immigration and governance matters.
  • A Human Resources plan is provided including a recruitment strategy to hire staff based on merit, and willingness of the candidate to hire non-member staff of current regulator.
  • Robust accreditation process indicating that accredited educational institutions, rather than the candidate organization itself, would be the primary delivery mechanism for education programs (immigration as well as practice management).
  • Commitment to establishing Rules of Procedure for the Discipline and Appeal Committee within 60 days of an announcement.
  • Process to launch investigations will be established. A separate phone line for Members of Parliament for complaints/information to be created.
  • Commitment to liability insurance and errors and omissions insurance for all members, and an accessible compensation fund.
  • Commitment to create an Outreach Committee for regular communications with the public.
  • Availability of the complaints process to clients and members of the public in both official languages, and that the ICCIP will translate material of interest to clients into the languages most commonly spoken among immigrant clients.
  • A detailed plan on how the organization will ensure that members can obtain services in both official languages.

Integrity

Meets

In the view of the Committee, the candidate has demonstrated how it will protect the Canadian public and those who use the services of immigration consultants, enhance public confidence in the immigration process and preserve the integrity of the immigration system.

Examples include:

  • Plans for random and regular (planned) audits of the members.
  • Proposed code of ethical conduct reflects respect for client, client confidentiality and professional integrity.
  • A clear and detailed description for disciplinary mechanisms is reasonable and reflects natural justice.
  • A description of a communication strategy to promote the benefits of authorized consultants and to use languages in addition to official languages.
  • Outreach to settlement agencies.
  • Use of incentives and disincentives to address activities of “ghost” representatives.
  • Liaison with enforcement bodies such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
  • Periodic review of the code of conduct. 

The Committee notes weaknesses in a number of areas of the submission, including:

  • Limited information on client service standards.

Accountability

Meets

In the view of the Committee, the candidate has demonstrated how it intends to foster a culture of transparency and openness so that the candidate can be properly accountable to its membership and to the Canadian public.

Examples include:

  • A limited term for board members of two years, with potential re-election twice (up to six year maximum term), and that board members are subject to recall.
  • Public interest members of the Board of Directors.
  • Public posting of annual reports, minutes of meeting of the Board of Directors, externally audited financial statements and disciplinary decisions.
  • Procedures for members to call a special meeting of the membership and to amend the bylaws.

Viability

Meets but weak

In the view of the Committee, the candidate has demonstrated that it has expertise in financial management and reporting, and the ability to ensure the same on an ongoing basis.

Examples include:

  • Includes plans to segregate duties, approval controls (budgetary), an accounting system and monitoring controls.
  • Submission includes a proposed job posting for a Finance Manager requiring the possession of an accounting designation (CA or CGA).
  • Submission indicates that a credit line is available to cover working capital needs.
  • Financial plan in the submission presents a surplus with 15-20% contingency for the next five years and includes access to a $750,000 line of credit for start-up costs.

The Committee notes weaknesses in a number of areas of the submission, including:

  • Lacks contingency plan in case membership target not met. ICCIP details growth to 3800 members in the future which is very aggressive and more than double membership with the current regulator.
  • Confusion between the Director of Education’s role and the Financial Manager’s job description.
  • Inconsistencies in the calculation of expenses (such as membership administration) and in membership revenues for Year 1.
  • Plan for transitional funding is not clear.

Good governance

Meets

In the view of the Committee, the candidate demonstrates how the Board of Directors will contribute to the positive reputation of the regulator through good governance.

Examples include:

  • Policies and process to address governance issues and ensure the Board of Directors is well-trained.
  • Public interest members of the Board of Directors.
  • Open and fair hiring processes through various means and according to merit.
  • Honoraria comparable to similar self-regulating bodies to be regularly reviewed.
  • Commitment to strategic planning and performance management including regular audits and evaluation.

The Committee notes weaknesses in a number of areas of the submission, including:

  • Sole reliance on the organization’s website as a mechanism to inform members and consumers.

Candidate: Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC)

In the view of the Committee, the submission technically addresses the selection factors outlined in the Gazette Notice.

The submission reflects that CSIC is the current regulator. The comprehensive supporting documentation regarding policies and processes currently in place demonstrates the complexity of the role as a self-regulatory body. While CSIC has undertaken an evaluation of several of its current practices, it is not clear in the submission how CSIC intends to implement recommendations found in those evaluations.

In the view of the Committee, the submission reflects an approach based largely on a continuation of the status quo if CSIC continues to be the regulator. The submission is not very forward-looking and does not provide an action plan to describe how CSIC would make changes or address areas of concern that were the impetus to the Gazette Notice. The Committee found the lack of a plan to respond more positively to these issues to be a weakness of the submission.

Selection factors from the Canada Gazette Assessment Comments

Competence

Meets

In the view of the Committee, the candidate demonstrates competence as a regulator as specified in the Gazette Notice.

Examples include:

  • Members of CSIC have experience as authorized representatives.
  • Hired staff who have worked for government and administered the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
  • Detailed description of the accreditation process and an external evaluation indicated that CSIC’s consultant training programs are adequate.
  • Liability insurance (Errors and Omissions) is in place for all CSIC members and compensation fund has been established.
  • Developed adjudication process for disciplinary matters and sample disciplinary decisions.
  • Demonstrated the ability to establish a public communications strategy as complaint and appeal mechanisms are already in place.
  • External consultation with expert demonstrated that official language standards were adequate.
  • Commitment to providing services in both official languages.

The Committee notes weaknesses in a number of areas of the submission, including:

  • Standards to access the compensation fund are high as it appears that no claims have been paid to date.
  • The Canadian Migration Institute is a subsidiary of CSIC. An arms-length relationship between the regulator and the educational institution would be desirable to avoid the perception of a conflict of interest and more consistency with good practices and trends in other regulated professions.

Integrity

Meets

In the view of the Committee, the candidate demonstrates how it will protect the Canadian public and those who use the services of immigration consultants, enhance public confidence in the immigration process and preserve the integrity of the immigration system.

Examples include:

  • Complaints and discipline procedures in place.
  • Compliance policy that consists of spot audits, practice management reviews and professional inspections.
  • Reasonable disciplinary mechanisms for members.
  • Evidence of a multilingual media campaign in mainstream media and ethno-cultural media.
  • A code of conduct for members, a conflict of interest policy and a code of ethics.
  • CSIC is tracking close to 1900 ghost agents and has a strategy to encourage them to become authorized representatives.

The Committee notes weaknesses in a number of areas of the submission, including:

  • An evaluation of the effectiveness of the media campaign was not provided. Insufficient information provided with respect to a plan of outreach to various ethno-cultural groups and immigrant settlement service providers.

Accountability

Meets

In the view of the Committee, the candidate has demonstrated how it intends to foster a culture of transparency and openness so that the candidate can be properly accountable to its membership and to the Canadian public.

Examples include:

  • Current policies and codes in place are described and examples of quarterly and annual reports are provided.
  • All disciplinary decisions are provided in writing and made available to the public.
  • Current roles and responsibilities of the board members as well as the process for the nomination or election of board members is described.
  • Public interest members of the Board of Directors.

The Committee notes weaknesses in a number of areas of the submission, including:

  • A term limit or a removal process for members of the Board of Directors is not clearly indicated.
  • The nomination and appointment process for public interest directors lacks transparency.

Viability

Meets but weak

In the view of the Committee, the candidate has demonstrated that it has expertise in financial management and reporting, and the ability to ensure the same on an ongoing basis.

Examples include:

  • CSIC has an accountant (CGA), a Board of Directors including a financially literate board member, an audit committee and an external auditor.
  • Indication that CSIC could request funding should the scope of its current mandate expand.
  • Financial ratio analysis is currently favourable based on 2009-10 audited financial statements.

The Committee notes weaknesses in a number of areas of the submission, including:

  • Projected expenses for 2010-2011 that are 59% higher than 2009-2010 audited expenses. This is not sufficiently justified in the budget notes and there is no forecast beyond 2011.
  • Projections for growth in the membership base by 540 members in 2011 compared to the growth of 140 members in 2010. The submission does not provide a contingency plan if this target is not met.

Good governance

Meets

In the view of the Committee, the candidate largely demonstrates how the Board of Directors will contribute to the positive reputation of the regulator through good governance.

Examples include:

  • Current roles and responsibilities of the board to be accountable for performance of CSIC are outlined as well as a commitment to good governance.
  • External expert governance review that indicates the organization’s governance structure and processes are generally sound.
  • Staffing of positions at CSIC must be filled with candidates deemed to be the most qualified in relation to the documented selection criteria or job description.
  • Approach used by CSIC in the past to inform the public of its roles and responsibilities as a regulator is described. CSIC has launched multilingual public education campaigns.
  • Board of Directors has endorsed a recommendation by an external firm to reduce the rate of remuneration to directors through a benchmarking exercise.

The Committee notes weaknesses in a number of areas of the submission, including:

  • Ability to engage in strategic planning and organizational performance management has not been demonstrated.

Candidate: Association of Immigration Consultants of Canada (AICC)

In the view of the Committee, this submission does not adequately address the selection factors outlined in the Gazette Notice.

The AICC submission fails to provide a substantive plan to address each of the selection factors, and due to the limited documentation and evidence in a number of key areas such as finance, governance and accountability, the Committee is not satisfied that the candidate demonstrated more than a superficial understanding of the scope and depth of the task at hand to effectively regulate immigration consultant activities in the public interest, to enhance public confidence in the immigration process and to preserve the integrity of the immigration system.

Selection factors from the Canada Gazette Assessment Comments

Competence

Does not meet

In the view of the Committee, the candidate has not demonstrated competence as a regulator as specified in the Gazette Notice.

The Committee notes weaknesses in a number of areas of the submission, including:

  • Limited description of how expertise would be acquired to establish competency standards and an accreditation process.
  • Limited information demonstrating the capacity to develop corporate policies and learning plans for members involved in the adjudication process. 
  • No evidence of a compensation fund being created.
  • Requirement to provide service to members and to the public in both official languages is not addressed.

Integrity

Does not meet

In the view of the Committee, the candidate has not demonstrated how it will protect the Canadian public and those who use the services of immigration consultants, enhance public confidence in the immigration process, and preserve the integrity of the immigration system.

The Committee notes weaknesses in a number of areas of the submission, including:

  • Limited information on how a procedurally fair complaint mechanism would be established.
  • Limited information regarding an effective communication plan to raise awareness of fraud issues. 

Accountability

Does not meet

In the view of the Committee, the candidate has not demonstrated how it intends to foster a culture of transparency and openness so that the candidate can be properly accountable to its membership and to the Canadian public.

The Committee notes weaknesses in a number of areas of the submission, including:

  • Requirements and qualifications of board members as well as process to elect them are not sufficiently documented.
  • Insufficient plan for annual reporting including audited financial statements.
  • Lack of detail on processes to amend bylaws or the ability of members to call special meetings. 

Viability

Does not meet

In the view of the Committee, the candidate has not demonstrated that it has expertise in financial management and reporting, and the ability to ensure the same on an ongoing basis.

The submission includes:

  • A Chartered Accountant on the Board of Directors to support financial management and reporting.
  • A management training plan for the transition period of two years.

The Committee notes weaknesses in a number of areas of the submission, including:

  • Lack of detail on how internal controls would be addressed (segregation of duties, approvals control, an accounting system and monitoring controls).
  • A plan to address start-up or transition costs by inheriting memberships and funds from the current regulator.
  • No evidence of secured credit provided.
  • Lack of multi-year forecasting, and lack of supporting calculations or assumptions for budgetary estimates.

Good governance

Does not meet

In the view of the Committee, the candidate has not demonstrated how the Board of Directors will contribute to the positive reputation of the regulator through good governance.

The Committee notes weaknesses in a number of areas of the submission, including:

  • Limited information on the requirements and qualifications of the Board of Directors.  
  • Limited information on the roles and responsibilities of the board members.  
  • Insufficient information on plans for an effective communications strategy.

Notice requesting submissions from candidates interested in becoming the regulator of immigration consultants that was published in the Canada Gazette on August 28, 2010 (Gazette Notice)

Vol. 144, No. 35 — August 28, 2010

GOVERNMENT NOTICES

DEPARTMENT OF CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION

IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE PROTECTION ACT

Notice requesting submissions from candidates interested in becoming the regulator of immigration consultants

Further to the Notice of Intent published in the Canada Gazette on June 12, 2010, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism is inviting submissions from candidate entities interested in performing the responsibilities of a governing body for the regulation of immigration consultants. The candidate entities must demonstrate that their organization has or will have the capacity to effectively regulate immigration consulting activities in the public interest, thereby enhancing public confidence in the immigration process and preserving the integrity of the immigration system.

Focusing on membership, competence and compliance, complaints and investigations, and discipline, the body identified for recognition must demonstrate that it has or will have the capacity to meet established organizational competencies that serve as selection factors for this process. The regulator must also demonstrate an understanding of its public protection role and of the vulnerability of its primary constituency: would-be users of Canada’s immigration programs. As regulator of a self-governing profession, the body is expected to provide a procedurally fair and accessible complaint and discipline mechanism, a code of conduct, errors and omission insurance for members, liability insurance for the body itself, a compensation fund, and the commitment to provide full services in both official languages to both members and clients.

The regulator must be accountable, transparent and democratic. As regulator of immigration consultants, the organization’s primary objective must be to ensure that the public is well served by an honourable and competent body of consultants.

Background

On June 8, 2010, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism introduced the Cracking Down on Crooked Consultants Act in the House of Commons in order to strengthen the rules governing those who charge a fee for immigration advice, close immigration system loopholes currently exploited by crooked consultants, and improve the way in which immigration consultants are regulated. In addition to tabling this Bill, a Notice of Intent was published on June 12, 2010, in the Canada Gazette, announcing Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s (CIC) intention to launch a transparent public selection process to identify a governing body for recognition as the regulator of immigration consultants, under current authority. The Notice of Intent solicited comments from the public on the proposed selection process for the period ending July 2, 2010. A large number of comments were received suggesting measures to strengthen the transparency, accountability and effectiveness of the regulation of third party representatives.

Following this solicitation period and after considering comments received by the public, selection factors were developed to ensure that any entity serving as the regulator of immigration consultants has or will have the capacity to support Canada’s immediate and long-term immigration objectives as well as maintain public confidence in the immigration system.

While this process is proceeding under existing authorities under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, candidate entities should contemplate the potential of future regulation of consultants for purposes of the Citizenship Act as proposed in Bill C-37.

Selection process

A Selection Committee, comprised of officials from CIC, one or several federal government organization(s) as well as one or several external expert(s), will examine all submissions in relation to the competencies listed below, which serve as selection factors. Established candidate organizations may provide evidence of their direct experience to support their candidacy. Where a candidate entity does not yet have direct operational experience, the experience of the individuals making the submission, or of the proposed key employees or officers, in the context of the submission, will be assessed. If a selection factor is lacking in the candidate entity, the candidate must demonstrate how it will fulfil the particular selection factor, including the provision of supporting documents.

After considering the submissions and other relevant factors and assuming that at least one organization is identified by the Selection Committee as meeting the selection factors, the Committee will provide the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism with a recommendation as to which organization(s), if any, has or have demonstrated the necessary competence, integrity, accountability, good governance and viability to effectively regulate the profession so as to preserve the integrity of the immigration system. If the Committee is of the view that no organization meets the selection factors, this will be indicated.

Selection factors

1. Competence

Candidate entities must demonstrate competence as a regulator, as follows. Candidates must employ individuals with demonstrated knowledge of Canada’s immigration regime and issues pertaining to the regulation of immigration consultants.

Candidate entities must demonstrate that they have acquired or have developed a plan to acquire the expertise to set adequate standards of competence, practice and ethical conduct, and official language standards. They must describe proposed mechanisms for the rigorous assessment of competence of prospective members, procedurally fair and effective complaint and discipline mechanisms, as well as certification procedures and procedures to accredit consultant training and continuing education programs with high standards. The candidate entity must also be able to demonstrate that it will be able to obtain liability insurance and be able to establish a compensation fund to compensate the public in cases of member malpractice.

Candidate entities must demonstrate how they have, or will acquire, the experience necessary to adjudicate on disciplinary matters with procedurally fair policies and procedures.

The candidate entities must demonstrate their commitment to provide full services in both official languages to both members and clients. Complaint mechanisms, in particular, must be accessible to clients and members of the public, including consideration of various language profiles. Furthermore, candidate entities must ensure that their members are able to offer services in one of Canada’s official languages.

2. Integrity

andidate entities must specifically demonstrate how they will protect the Canadian public and those who use the services of immigration consultants, enhance public confidence in the immigration process, and preserve the integrity of the immigration system. Candidate entities must describe the tools or measures they will use, including the development of awareness campaigns on issues of fraud and available recourses among immigrant communities, immigrant service providers, as well as the general public.

Candidate entities must be able to establish a conflict of interest code for members of the Board of Directors, a written code of ethics for directors, staff and volunteers, as well as a code of conduct with a description of effective disciplinary mechanisms for immigration consultants.

3. Accountability

Submissions must demonstrate how candidate entities intend to foster a culture of transparency and openness so that they can be properly accountable to their membership and to the Canadian public. Candidate entities must describe the tools they will use, including the provision of draft by-laws. Each candidate entity must also demonstrate a commitment to annual public meetings with full and transparent participation, in order to maintain an open dialogue with members, communicate with its principal constituencies, and report on its activities and finances to members, the public and the Government of Canada. To help ensure accountability to the public, candidate entities must also attempt to ensure that public interest directors are on the Board.

Candidate entities will need to demonstrate that they have developed or will develop a process which will enable them to be accountable and transparent to their members and the public through external audits and regular reporting, including the publication of an annual report and audited financial statements. Provisions must also be made for members’ access to corporate records and audited financial statements. Reports to members and the public must include information on disciplinary proceedings, with information identifying the member at issue, the nature of the alleged misconduct, the process for reviewing the case, and the conclusions arrived at pursuant to the proceedings.

The democratic election of directors and the establishment of procedures to provide members with effective means to hold directors accountable and, where appropriate, to democratically change the by-laws of the organization will ensure accountability.

4. Viability

Candidate entities must be able to demonstrate that they have acquired or have developed a plan to acquire expertise in financial management and reporting, and the ability to ensure the same on an ongoing basis. This will ensure the support of member consultants, increase public faith in the profession, and ensure that the candidate entity plays its full role in maintaining the integrity of Canada’s immigration system.

Submissions must demonstrate how the candidate entity will establish a plan, including the parameters of such a plan, to ensure a membership base which would provide for the sustainability of the body, promote membership to qualified practitioners, and demonstrate the ability to implement transitional measures, with respect to the membership, if necessary.

Candidate entities must be incorporated or capable of being incorporated as a non-profit corporation under federal law. Candidate entities that are not currently incorporated by federal law must provide an undertaking to do so as soon as is reasonably practicable. As it is expected that the regulator would be funded by its members on an on-going basis, candidate entities must demonstrate the ability to be financially stable by the development of a sustainable financial plan. Financial assistance may be available to assist the successful candidate during an interim period for the purpose of establishing the governing body. Candidates should provide details on the amount and type of expenses, along with the time period for which such financial support would be of assistance.

5. Good governance

Submissions must demonstrate how the Board of Directors will contribute to the positive reputation of the regulator and the profession, and how governance expertise will be developed and reflected in the composition and training of directors.

A candidate entity must demonstrate that it has taken steps to hire — or will hire — staff according to merit.

Candidate entities must also ensure that their directors are paid honoraria comparable to similar self-regulating bodies.

In addition to demonstrating sound corporate governance and financial expertise, candidate entities must demonstrate an ability to engage in strategic planning and organizational performance management and evaluation. The regulator must be able to demonstrate sound financial management and stewardship, monitor its progress in meeting objectives, and carry out its activities in a transparent manner.

Candidate entities must demonstrate how they will inform members and consumers of the services of immigration consultants so that members and consumers have a clear understanding of the activities, finances, purposes of the regulator as well as of their rights and obligations.

Evaluative process

Candidates will need to demonstrate that they have or will have the capacity to meet the established organizational competencies that serve as selection factors for this process. Candidates will be evaluated on their vision, their understanding of the scope and depth of the task at hand, and the experience and expertise they can bring toward establishing and running a regulatory body. It is up to the candidate entity to demonstrate that it has or can acquire sufficient understanding, skills, experience and member support to build and run a competent regulator for the immigration consultant profession.

Candidates must set out, in detail, how they respond to the selection factors, and must provide supporting documentation to demonstrate how the selection factors are met, such as a financial plan, a human resources plan, codes of conduct or other appropriate documents. Supportive documentation on resource requirements and potential sources of funding must be provided.

If candidates have prepared draft or existing material for similar organizations, such as by-laws or codes, they may wish to include them and explain the individual or group’s role in their creation and implementation, and how that experience would be applicable to the process of creating a regulator of immigration consultants.

Publicly available information will also be used by the Selection Committee to evaluate applicants.

Only those submissions which clearly indicate how the candidates satisfy the selection factors will be chosen for further consideration.

This Call for Submissions does not obligate the Minister, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration or the Government of Canada in any way, or to take any action.

An agreement or arrangement may be entered into between the successful entity and the Government of Canada.

Deadline

The deadline for submissions is 4:00 p.m. (EST) on December 29, 2010.

Submissions

CIC is not liable under any circumstances for any costs associated with the preparation of submissions.

Submissions should bear the following title: “Immigration Consultants Regulatory Body: Submission for Consideration.”

Submission should clearly indicate the contact details including: name, address, phone number, email.

Submissions may either be delivered via email or regular post:

Email: Consultants@cic.gc.ca

Regular mail: Attention: Fraud Deterrence and Verifications Division, B1435
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)
14th Floor, Jean Edmonds Tower South (JETS)
365 Laurier Avenue W
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 1L1

Correspondence

All correspondence pertaining to the submission should be directed to the following email address: Consultants@cic.gc.ca, and as per the following format:
Title: Immigration Consultants Regulatory Body: Submissions for Consideration
Issue/Question:
Name/Company:
Email address:
Telephone number:

Date Modified: