The council that oversees thousands of immigration consultants in Canada is in the midst of what many describe as a crisis, beset by resignations, infighting and harsh criticism from lawmakers and lawyers.
The chief concern about the apparent crisis confronting the ICCRC (Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council) is that those who will suffer most are the immigrants and refugees who often use consultants in their efforts to live in Canada.
The regulatory council, which was set up in 2011, sets the rules for how immigration consultants conduct themselves, providing education, licensing and discipline. It’s needed to help and protect those who want to come to Canada, overseeing approximately 4,000 consultants. It is run by a 15-member board of directors.
“The council is there to protect the public,” said immigration lawyer Richard Kurland. “It’s not going after the crooked consultants adequately and at risk is the public — the immigrants, refugees and vulnerable visitors.”
Everyone agrees that most immigration consultants do a good job of representing their clients.
“I am deeply, deeply concerned about the status of operations and governance with the board (of directors) right now,” said Conservative MP Michelle Rempel, a member of the Commons immigration committee that has been looking into the immigration consultant industry.
When board representatives appeared before the committee last month, Rempel upbraided them for allowing internal disputes to spill over into their professional work, labelling one letter submitted to the committee by the board of directors “garbage” that was “deeply disappointing.”