Order Fixing the Date of Continuance as the Day on Which Section 293 and Subsections 296(1) to (3) of that Act Come into Force: SI/2021-31
Canada Gazette, Part II, Volume 155, Number 13
SI/2021-31 June 23, 2021
BUDGET IMPLEMENTATION ACT, 2019, NO. 1
Order Fixing the Date of Continuance as the Day on Which Section 293 and Subsections 296(1) to (3) of that Act Come into Force
P.C. 2021-534 June 10, 2021
His Excellency the Administrator of the Government of Canada in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, pursuant to subsection 300(2) of the Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1, chapter 29 of the Statutes of Canada, 2019, fixes the “date of continuance”, as defined in section 83 of the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants Act, as the day on which section 293 and subsections 296(1) to (3) of the Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1 come into force.
(This note is not part of the Order.)
This Order fixes the “date of continuance,” as defined in section 83 of the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants Act, as the day on which section 293 and subsections 296(1) to (3) of the Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1 (formerly Bill C-97) come into force.
The objective of this Order is to fix a date for the coming into force of legislative amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and the Citizenship Act to name the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (the College) as the new regulator which would allow licensees of the College to represent or advise clients for a fee or other consideration in connection with a proceeding or application under those acts. This is in keeping with the Government's mandate commitment for the full implementation of the new professional governance regime for immigration and citizenship consultants.
This Order is a necessary step for the implementation of the College. By aligning to the coming into force of the legislative amendments naming the College as the new regulator with the date of continuance (i.e. opening of the College), it will ensure licensed consultants continue to be authorized to provide advice and representation to clients from the day the College opens.
Immigration and citizenship consultants who are members of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) are authorized to provide, for a fee or other consideration, advice and representation under section 91 of the IRPA and section 21.1 of the Citizenship Act. Consultants are authorized to provide clients with advice and represent clients on immigration or citizenship applications by communicating with the Government on the client's behalf.
The role and regulation of consultants have been a recurrent issue over the past decades. There have been instances of unscrupulous or fraudulent consultants misleading or exploiting newcomers or applicants due to their lack of knowledge of Canadian laws and regulations, which can have serious negative impacts on clients and jeopardizes the integrity of Canada's immigration and citizenship system. In June 2017, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM) published a report entitled Starting Again: Improving Government Oversight of Immigration Consultants. CIMM studied the framework governing immigration and citizenship consultants and found it inadequate, highlighting three areas of concern: (1) weakness in governance; (2) insufficient resources for investigations and enforcement; and (3) lack of public awareness and the need to better service clients.
In response to the CIMM findings, the Government of Canada announced in 2019 a new governance regime, including the establishment via statute of a strengthened self-regulatory body for consultants in the form of the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants. The College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants Act (the College Act) received royal assent in June 2019 as part of the Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1 and came into force in December 2020. The College Act provides for a new self-regulatory body for immigration and citizenship consultants with strengthened authorities and significant government oversight mechanisms. With the establishment of the new College, for the first time, the regulator will be equipped with a statutory framework that provides for the responsibilities and authorities required to govern the profession and hold licensed consultants to high standards of professional and ethical conduct. The purpose of the College, once established, is to regulate consultants in the public interest and to protect the public from unscrupulous and fraudulent consultants.
Under the College Act, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration would approve the current regulator's (ICCRC) application to continue as the new College and specify a date of continuance (i.e. the date when the College opens and is operational) via ministerial order. It is anticipated that the College will open later in 2021.
This Order brings into force legislative amendments to the IRPA and the Citizenship Act which would allow licensed members of the College to represent or advise clients for consideration.
Specifically, these amendments would replace references to members of a “designated body” (currently the ICCRC), to members in good standing of the College.
The College will be a fundamentally different organization than the current regulatory body. The College Act provides for expanded authorities necessary for the regulation of a profession, including strong investigative powers to enter premises of consultants' offices and search and seize documents to support complaints and discipline processes; power to compel witnesses to appear before a disciplinary committee; power to suspend and/or revoke licences to practise as part of disciplinary decisions; and power to seek court injunctions against unauthorized consultants.
The College Act also provides for greater ministerial powers for oversight over the new regulatory body, including power to appoint a majority of public interest directors to the College's Board of Directors (the Board) who will be independent and not consultants; power to make regulations concerning governance of the College; power to direct the Board to make, amend, or repeal a by-law; and the power to appoint a temporary administrator to act in place of the Board if necessary.
The College Act was tabled as part of the Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1 on March 19, 2019. The College Act was considered by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration in May 2019 and then by the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, with stakeholders representing interests and giving testimony on the legislation and its anticipated impact. Public and stakeholder feedback was generally positive, with most supporting the need for an effective regulator that can adequately discipline consultants for misconduct or incompetence.
Following the royal assent of the College Act in June 2019, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada officials have engaged with provinces and territories to provide an overview of the College Act and forthcoming regulations and to proactively notify where possible consequential amendments may need to be made to provincial/territorial legislation or regulations.
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