All representatives who charge a fee or receive other forms of consideration for the provision of advice or representation regarding an Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) application or proceeding must be authorized. To be authorized representatives they must be registered, and a member in good standing, with the appropriate regulatory body. For lawyers, and in some cases, paralegals, these are the Canadian provincial/territorial law societies, or the Chambre des notaires du Québec. For both citizenship and immigration consultants, the regulatory body is the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC). Members of the ICCRC are called Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs). IRCC, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) will only deal with members in good standing of one of the regulatory bodies if the representative in question is receiving any compensation for their services, including payment.
Members of Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC)
As an independent, not-for-profit organization and self-regulating body, the ICCRC operates at arm’s length from the Government of Canada. The ICCRC is responsible for regulating the activities of citizenship and immigration consultants who are its members.
Membership as a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) is granted by the ICCRC to individuals who have demonstrated their knowledge and ability to advise and represent people who seek to immigrate or sponsor a family member to Canada, or seek Canadian citizenship. Members must demonstrate their good character and meet the Council's membership standards (i.e. knowledge, ethics, and language requirements). See the ICCRC Code of Professional Ethics.
To ensure the competent and professional conduct of its members, the ICCRC has a number of regulations by which all of its members must abide.
RCICs can practice anywhere both in Canada and overseas as long as they remain in good standing with the ICCRC. They may be retained for services by other companies/institutions such as immigration consulting agencies, educational institutions or employers.
Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) Agents
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) must register their agents with the ICCRC. IRCC will not work with agents who are not registered. Agents and staff members are able to provide assistance to the RCIC. However, the RCIC must sign the IMM 5476 and is responsible for all advice and guidance given to the client by the agent. Agents and staff members are subject to the same rules and regulations that apply to RCICs (see Employees of lawyers and consultants). Agents and their associated RCIC can be verified on ICCRC search page.
Lawyers and Quebec notaries
Lawyers and Quebec notaries are regulated by their provincial and territorial law societies.
A law society’s mandate is to govern the legal profession and safeguard the public interest. It aims to ensure that clients are served by lawyers who meet high standards of learning, competence and professional conduct, and to uphold the independence, integrity and honour of the legal profession for the purpose of advancing the cause of justice and the rule of law.
A lawyer can be a member of any Canadian law society, and does not necessarily have to be registered in the province or territory where their client is located in order to provide citizenship or immigration advice or representation. To confirm if the person is in good standing, it may be necessary to confirm law society membership with the lawyer.
Lawyers may be retained by a company, a citizenship or immigration consultant firm, an educational institution or an employer to provide citizenship or immigration advice and guidance to clients or staff.
For more information see Number formats for authorized representative membership.
Students-at-law may represent and/or advise, for consideration, a person who is the subject of a proceeding or an application under IRPA or the Citizenship Act, provided that they are under the direct supervision of a member in good standing of a Canadian provincial/territorial law society or the Chambre des notaires du Québec.
Students-at-law are authorized to complete and sign the IMM 5476. The supervising lawyer maintains responsibility for the advice and guidance that is provided to the client. The supervising lawyer’s details (contact info/ ID #) must be included on the IMM 5476. Officers should verify students-at-law on the websites of the provincial/territorial law societies and Quebec notaries’ association. The Regulations apply to students-at-law in the same manner as they would to a lawyer.
Paralegals are authorized representatives if they are a member in good standing of a Canadian provincial/territorial law society or the ICCRC.
Currently, only the Law Society of Upper Canada in Ontario admits paralegals as members.
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