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Canada cracks down on immigration fraud


New rules making it easier to investigate the professional or ethical misconduct of an immigration representative are now in effect. Until recently, when Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) became aware of misconduct by an immigration representative – either an immigration consultant, a lawyer, a paralegal or a notary – the department did not have the authority to share this information with the appropriate governing body.

“Sharing information on the misconduct of an immigration representative with the regulatory body will help protect the integrity of our immigration system, and immigrants themselves,” said Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney.

These regulatory provisions allow officials from CIC, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) to provide information regarding an immigration representative’s professional or ethical conduct to people governing or investigating that conduct.

When CIC, CBSA or the IRB believes that immigration representatives have contravened their professional or ethical obligations, it can share this information with the governing body, in a manner consistent with the Privacy Act.

The information-sharing provisions were published in the Canada Gazette (Part II) and came into force in April. Recently, CIC officials shared with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) – the governing body for immigration consultants – credible information that the department received on one of its members.

Phil Mooney, Chief Executive Officer of the ICCRC, joined Kenney at the announcement.

“My department regularly receives tips from the public about crooked representatives,” said Kenney. “Now we can finally ask the regulatory body to investigate these tips.”

Examples of information that can be shared are allegations or evidence of:
• Making false promises to an applicant;
• Providing false information about Canada’s immigration processes;
• Failing to provide services agreed to between the representative and the client; or
• Counselling to obtain or submit false evidence.

New regulatory provisions also include an oversight mechanism requiring that the ICCRC provide information to the government to ensure it is governing its members in the public interest.

Information on how to find an accredited immigration consultant, lawyer or other representative, and tips on avoiding unscrupulous representatives, are available on CIC’s website at www.cic.gc.ca/antifraud.

Posted: Aug 1, 2012

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