The College’s Professional Standards of Practice for Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) and Regulated International Student Immigration Advisors (RISIAs) provide a framework of principles that define the values, goals and outcomes expected from licensees to protect the public interest.
While the Code of Professional Conduct is the legislative authority for licensee conduct and behaviour, the Standards of Practice are basic, fundamental principles and values that licensees have self-identified to guide good practice.
The Professional Standards of Practice for RCICs and RISIAs was developed in collaboration with licensees in 2022 and approved by the Board of Directors in 2023.
The College establishes and maintains standards of practice to protect the public interest. Licensees have a professional obligation to identify, correct or report any colleague’s violations of the standards.
College Professional Standards of Practice
The College’s Professional Standards of Practice are grouped into 4 categories – Professional Practice, Responsibility to the Client/ Entity, Accountability to the Profession and Business Ethics and Practices. The standards provide RCICs and RISIAs with high-level guidance and direction to help them adhere to the College’s Code of Professional Conduct and to protect the public interest.
- In all matters the licensee must maintain the standards of practice for the profession and perform their professional obligations honourably and with integrity.
- A licensee must act in accordance with applicable Canadian federal and provincial laws, including regulations and by-laws, as they relate to the licensee’s practice, whether the licensee is within or outside of Canada.
- A licensee must conduct themselves and carry out their professional practice with honesty and courtesy and must be fair and not discriminate against any person, maintaining both the reputation of the profession and the principle of protecting the public.
- A licensee must only communicate accurate information about another licensee, the College, or others involved in providing immigration and citizenship services.
- A licensee must respond appropriately and within a reasonable time to a written inquiry from the College.
Responsibilities to the Client/Entity
- A licensee must foster and maintain a relationship of trust with the public, including by not taking advantage of their clients’ vulnerabilities, cultural norms, values, and beliefs.
- A licensee has a duty to represent the clients’ best interests, bound by the legal and regulatory expectations throughout the Standards of Practice and other College documents, including being committed to their clients’ cause and avoiding conflicts of interest.
- A licensee must maintain professional boundaries with clients, as defined in the Code of Professional Conduct.
- A licensee must practise only within the scope of their professional and individual competence and within the scope of their specific class of licence.
- A licensee must maintain their competence throughout their practice.
- A licensee must maintain the confidentiality of all information in relation to clients, whether current or former, subject to legal and regulatory disclosure requirements. This requirement for confidentiality extends to those who work for or with the licensee.
- A licensee must provide thorough and timely communication to clients, as described in the Code of Professional Conduct and other College documents.
Accountability to the Profession
- A licensee must self-report to the College should a situation arise where a licensee is in any of the situations described in the section related to “Mandatory Reporting” in the Code of Professional Conduct.
- A licensee must notify the College if they are aware that another licensee has engaged in conduct as described in the section on “Conduct of fellow licensee” and “Reportable conduct” in the Code of Professional Conduct.
- A licensee must supervise and assume all responsibility for all services that are contracted by them or that they assign to any individual who assists them in providing immigration and citizenship services and must ensure that these individuals comply with the Code of Professional Conduct.
Business Ethics and Practices
- A licensee must keep records in accordance with the standards of practice for the profession and the requirements of the College.
- A licensee must only charge fees that are fair and reasonable, have been discussed with the client, and to which the client has consented in writing.
- A licensee must adhere to the Code of Professional Conduct and other applicable regulations when withdrawing or terminating services, whether initiated by the licensee or client.
- A licensee’s use of advertising and marketing services must be done in good faith and accurately, truthfully, and fairly present verifiable information to assist a client in deciding whether to engage the services of the licensee.
Note: While the Standards of Practice apply to all licensees of the College, licensees who work for a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) will be exempted from standards 15, 17, and 18 in light of their unique operating environment and business mode.