In this edition:
Message from John Murray, President & CEO, Registrar
Over the past year, the College has made significant progress in support of our operational and strategic objectives.
We rolled out our 2023-2025 Strategic Plan in June. The Strategic Plan is the College’s roadmap through the transitional provisions of the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants Act (College Act) to the introduction of the new College Act Regulations that will govern our future work. We continue to work towards the College’s Vision 2025 to ensure that every person who seeks Canadian immigration and citizenship advice has informed choice and access to a College licensee who consistently offers professional services.
Effective July 1, our RCIC-IRB class of licence was recognized by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada as a mandatory requirement for licensees who choose to represent clients before IRB tribunals.
Our investments in human, technological, and other foundational resources provided a strong foundation for our work this year. We were able to align our programs and gateways-to-entry for new and current licensees. We transitioned our Entry-to-Practice Exams to full, competency-based assessments, ensuring that our licensees possess the essential skills and knowledge to deliver competent, ethical immigration consulting services.
We also introduced a Mentoring Program for new licensees, launched a robust accreditation program for providers of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and reinforced our commitment to excellence by continuing to align standards, education and policies with the Essential Competencies and the Code of Professional Conduct.
We were also very pleased to launch Professional Standards of Practice, which were developed in collaboration with licensees. The Professional Standards of Practice provide a framework of principles that define the values, business ethics, practices and expectations for licensees to adhere to the College’s Code of Professional Conduct.
In October, we hosted the College’s Inaugural Research Symposium: Safeguarding the Lifecycle of Immigration.
This event engaged diverse stakeholder groups, including academics and regulators from Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and focused, in part, on the global issue of combating Unauthorized Practitioners.
This past year, we actively engaged with federal and provincial government stakeholders; met with Ministers, individual Parliamentarians and civil servants, and conducted regular briefings with members of Parliament, senators and their constituency staff to advise them of the role of the College and the high standards met by our licensees.
We held our Annual General Meeting in Ottawa, Ontario, on November 30, 2023. The AGM was attended in-person by more than 300 licensees and more than 1,100 participated virtually.
Proactive communication with our licensees remains a strong priority, and earlier this month we shared a Licensee Communication Survey to gather feedback from licensees to help us make data-driven decisions.
The College Portal will launch in the coming weeks and will streamline processes and provide an all-in-one portal for licensees. It will allow licensees to use a single sign-on to renew licensees, update contact information, log Continuing Professional Development activities, pay annual fees, and much more.
I also had the opportunity to participate in the College’s first-ever Ask Me Anything session on Instagram on November 21, 2023. Thank you to all those who submitted questions about our College Portal. In total, the Ask Me Anything earned nearly 1,300 unique views. We look forward to hosting more of these social media events in the future.
All of our efforts to date have focused on increasing public trust by creating a stronger foundation for our profession. We have accomplished a great deal this past year and we look forward to working in partnership with all of our important stakeholders as we continue to drive progress in 2024 and beyond.
John Murray, BA, LLB, LLM
President & CEO, Registrar
Board of Directors Meeting Highlights – November 30, 2023
The College Board of Directors met on November 30, 2023, following the Annual General Meeting of licensees. All directors attended either in person or via Zoom. Mr. Peter Christensen, Assistant Director, Admissibility, Ms. Sabrina Kabir, Senior Policy Analyst, Ms. Dhan Lamba-Thebeau, Policy Analyst and Ms. Alexanderia Thompson, Policy Analyst, all of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) attended the meeting as Ministerial Observers pursuant to s. 76 of the College Act.
The Board of Directors approved the following items of interest to licensees:
- Reappointment of the members of the Board Standing Committees, the Tribunal Committee, and reappointment of the Independent Complaints Review Officer; and .
- Reappointment of Goodman Mintz, LLP, Chartered Professional Accountants, Licensed Public Accountants as Auditor of the College for the financial year-ended June 30, 2024.
Other items before the Board of Directors included:
- Review and discussion of recommendations contained in the Independent Complaints Review Officer’s Q4 Report on professional conduct activities.
- A presentation on the anticipated College Act Regulations and the College By-laws drafting timetable.
Full minutes of this Board meeting will be posted on the College website upon approval by the Board at its next meeting on March 21, 2024.
Note that College Board meetings are open to the public and licensees who wish to observe.
College Portal Launch
The College Portal – the all-in-one platform designed to simplify your regulatory tasks, will be released in the coming weeks.
With a single sign-on to the College Portal, licensees will access their annual renewal, courses and programs, report CPD activities, pay their annual fees and more.
Here are some tips that will help you get started with the College Portal:
- Confirm your data: Licensees should verify their migrated data in the College Portal when they log in for the first time and communicate with the College if there is any update or mistake. The College will migrate your data for ease of access, and you will only need to confirm the accuracy of your data, making way for a seamless onboarding experience.
- Check status changes: All your important updates can be accessed directly through the College Portal. It will be simpler to check invoices, leaves of absence or resignations – all displayed on your confidential Dashboard.
- Communicate directly: The College Portal will become your communication hub. You will be able to communicate directly with the College and access your communication history.
- Compliance simplified: There will be no more guesswork when it comes to compliance. Any compliance-related issues will appear on the front of your Dashboard, helping you stay on top of your obligations.
- Payments: Invoices and fees can all be securely paid online.
Note: Licensees will be notified when the College Portal is live and will be provided with instructions on how to access the platform.
For more information on the College Portal, visit: https://college-ic.ca/whats-on/college-portal.
The College’s 2023 Annual General Meeting
The College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants held the 2023 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of College licensees on November 30, 2023, in the City of Ottawa, Ontario. The College welcomed Member of Parliament Paul Chiang, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, who delivered remarks.
The AGM was attended in-person by more than 300 licensees (RCICs and RISIAs) in good standing, with an additional 1,100 taking part online. Licensees received information about the activities of the College throughout 2023 and had the opportunity to ask questions of the Board and College management.
The AGM was followed by two licensee educational sessions on the Professional Standards of Practice and how to develop Service Agreements. Licensees are encouraged to review the following:
Professional Standards of Practice – framework of principles that define the values, goals and outcomes expected from licensees.
Retainer Agreement Regulation – details the duties of a Licensee and Client so that all parties have clear expectations regarding their Agreement.
Questions that were not addressed at the AGM are being reviewed. In the new year, answers to relevant and appropriate questions will be shared, grouped by topic.
The College thanks all licensees who took part in the AGM.
This fall the College undertook several engagement opportunities with key stakeholders.
The College was pleased to co-host its seventh information session for Members of Parliament, Senators and parliamentary staff in October. For this French-language session, the College was joined by Arielle Kayabaga, Member of Parliament for London West, as well as Stan Belivici, Chair of the College Board of Directors, Normand Beaudry, Board Member, and Michael Huynh, the College’s Director, Professional Conduct.
These information sessions provide an opportunity to share important updates with parliamentarians on the immigration consulting profession, as well as useful resources for the constituencies they serve.
In November, College staff attended the last Canadian Immigrant Fair of the year, hosted by Canadian Immigrant. The fair took place at the Livings Arts Centre in Mississauga and attracted newcomers, international students, and individuals in the settlement sector.
The College also took part in the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) Fall Consultation in Calgary, Alberta. John Murray, President & CEO, Registrar, and Michael Huynh, Director, Professional Conduct, delivered a workshop to CCR members on the role of the College.
Complete Your Licensee Communication Survey
Effective communication with our licensees is a strategic priority for the College. We are committed to providing relevant, timely and clear communications across all our channels.
Licensees are encouraged to complete a brief survey, which was sent out via email in early December, to help us inform our licensee communications approaches going forward.
Your feedback will play a crucial role in shaping how the College communicates important information to licensees.
Regardless of your communication preferences, please note that all licensees must continue to comply with Section 5 of the By-laws. This requires that licensees must at all times maintain full, accurate and up-to-date contact particulars, including a valid email address, for the purposes of receiving communications from or delivering documents to the College.
RCIC ID Theft & Impersonation
“Someone is impersonating you”. The immediate shock and despair felt by the victims of identity theft is palpable, as the consequences can be devastating. For RCICs, the impacts could be far reaching – to the unsuspecting public, to their career, and to the wider immigration consulting profession.
Why would someone impersonate an RCIC?
To make money fraudulently by soliciting clients using an RCIC’s identity and reputation without that RCIC’s knowledge. With greater levels of global economic uncertainty and with many people around the world continuing to secure immigration pathways for themselves and their families, it’s clear that the problem of RCIC identity theft must be taken seriously.
What constitutes RCIC ID theft?
An RCIC can be impersonated with information such as their name, photo, College ID Number, business name, email address, and website – most of which can be easily found online. Currently, the most common platforms that facilitate the theft of such information are LinkedIn, Rocketreach, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), Telegram, Kijiji ads and Craigslist ads. The impersonation of an RCIC is often conducted through platforms that the RCIC is not using themselves. Impersonators can also deliberately use business names and website domains that are remarkably similar to legitimate ones to dupe the unsuspecting public. For an RCIC, other indicators of potential ID theft and impersonation include online reviews from people they have never represented and inquiries from individuals requesting confirmation or proof that they are licensed or authorized representatives.
How can RCICs protect their identity?
Identity theft is a problem with no easy solutions. However, there are several steps that an RCIC can take to reduce the likelihood of it happening to them. It should be noted that many of these preventative steps are even more important when an RCIC is inactive - such as when they have resigned, been revoked, are suspended, or are on an approved leave of absence.
Proactive actions – What to do to reduce the likelihood of impersonation/ID theft
- Use the same official name under which you are listed in the Public Register, in accordance with the Code of Professional Conduct, when advertising services. Using a nickname on promotional material makes it difficult or impossible for consumers to find you on the Public Register and invites fraud.
- Perform regular online searches of your name or company name. Review the platforms on which you are listed (your name and/or image). It is best practice to know what online information exists about you and your business.
- Be cautious when sharing personal information on social media. It can be used with your pictures to commit fraud.
- Be extra careful when you are on leave, as fraudsters might attempt to use your name or likeness.
- When advertising services, ask potential clients to always use the contact information that matches what is on the Public Register. This is the only way to ensure they are contacting the right person.
- Remove any online advertisements or social media posts with your photo identification or licensing certificate immediately, in accordance with the Reproduced Certificate or ID Regulation.
- To help consumers distinguish between you and an impersonator, you may want to:
✓ Use branded corporate emails (such as email@example.com) and avoid using generic web-based email providers (such as Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo).
✓ If you promote your business on social media or apps, do not conduct business on them and clarify on your website how you communicate with clients.
✓ On your website, remind the public to verify the identity of any RCIC by writing or phoning the RCIC through the contact information listed on the Public Register.
✓ Share our tips on how to spot fraud on any public-facing platforms relating to your business (such as on your LinkedIn account and/or your website).
Reactive actions – What to do if you are being impersonated
As with all forms of ID theft, time is of the essence. If you suspect that you are a victim of ID theft and are being impersonated, you must act quickly to minimize the damage to the public, to your reputation and - by extension, the immigration consulting profession. You should report the unauthorized activity to law enforcement immediately and notify the College of any known or potentially fraudulent activity.
The College recognizes that identity theft and impersonation is a troubling experience for RCICs. It is important for RCICs to implement the measures noted above to prevent impersonation. If targeted, RCICs must notify and work closely with the College to minimize any harm done harm to themselves, to prospective clients, and to the profession. The College continues to develop and implement approaches and resources to help RCICs deal with this issue. If you have any suggestions or ideas on how the College can help prevent and/or mitigate the effects of ID theft and impersonation, you may share with the College via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Introducing Our Professional Standards of Practice
On Thursday, November 30, 2023, the College announced Professional Standards of Practice for RCICs and RISIAs, a framework of principles that define the values, goals and outcomes expected from licensees.
The College establishes and maintains standards of practice 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.
Visit the College website to read the new Professional Standards of Practice.
The College’s Tribunal Committee is an independent adjudicative committee that hears and decides regulatory cases about licensees in accordance with the College’s core values of fairness, transparency, and public protection.
Below is a summary of the most recent decision of the Tribunal Committee. Full decisions are available, without charge, on the Canadian Legal Information Institute’s (CanLII) website at:
https://www.canlii.org/en/ (please enter “ICCRC” or “College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants” in the “Document text” field).
Discipline Committee Decision
Liza Lucion, R506401
|Canada Immigration Services
Vancouver, British Columbia
|Motions in writing
|The RCIC is facing 2 disciplinary proceedings and is currently subject to an Interim Suspension Order. This proceeding involves 11 complaints. The evidence and submissions have been filed with the Discipline Committee but the decision on the merits has not yet been issued.
The RCIC brought a motion requesting the Interim Suspension Order be vacated and for the reinstatement of their licence with the College. In the alternative, they requested to be permitted to provide immigration consulting services and/or to operate their immigration business under supervision.
The College opposed the motion on the basis that the RCIC had not fully complied with the Interim Suspension Order and continued to practise while under suspension.
Motion was dismissed.
|Costs of this motion are fixed at $3,333 payable by the RCIC to the College at a date set by the Discipline Committee hearing the matter on its merits.
The College is looking for some talented professionals to join our team.
Do you or someone you know want to be part of a team that protects the public by overseeing regulated immigration and citizenship consultants and international student advisors?
Investigator, Open-Source Intelligence
Interested in any of these opportunities? Submit your resume and a brief cover letter indicating why you feel you are a fit for the role.
For more information on these positions and the most up-to-date College career postings, visit the College's Career page.