Bill C-35, An Act to Amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), came into force on June 30, 2011. The bill strengthens the rules governing those who provide immigration advice or representation for a fee or other consideration. Bill C-35 creates a new offence by extending the prohibition against representing or advising persons for consideration — or offering to do so — to all stages in connection with a proceeding or application under the IRPA, including before a proceeding has commenced or an application has been made, and provides for penalties in case of contravention.
The Bill amends section 91 of the IRPA to recognize paralegals in good standing as authorized to act as paid representatives if they are members in good standing of a Canadian provincial/territorial law society. Paralegals who are licensed by the Law Society are now eligible to provide certain legal services in the field of immigration law. Paralegals who are licensed by the Law Society can appear before the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) to represent a client or clients in an IRB hearing and can provide legal services to clients for matters relating to an IRB hearing. Drafting of documents or other legal services practices that are not related to an IRB hearing remain outside of a paralegal’s scope of practice. For additional information, paralegals are encouraged to consult the Law Society’s Bylaw 4, section 6 (2)(iv) on this matter.
At the time of writing this Operational Bulletin 317, dated June 30, 2011, only the province of Ontario’s law society, the Law Society of Upper Canada, admits paralegals as members.
RCICs are regulated by an independent, not-for-profit organization and self-regulating body, the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council. ICCRC operates at arm’s length from the Government of Canada. ICCRC is responsible for regulating the activities of the immigration consultants who are its members and who provide immigration advice and representation. Membership is granted only to those individuals who have demonstrated their knowledge and ability to advise and represent people who seek to immigrate to Canada. Members must demonstrate their good character and meet the council’s membership standards (knowledge, ethics and language requirements).
Ms. Tyyebi, the principal of Can-Imm Solutions, is a member in good standing with ICCRC and LSUC