Update: This post has been updated to reflect additional information provided by Citizenship and Immigration Canada in August 2012 with respect to the impact of the introduction of Bill C-35 on education agents based outside of Canada. Please see our related post from 8 August 2012 for additional background and detail.
In 2011, the Government of Canada passed new legislation—Bill C-35—that makes it illegal for anyone other than an accredited immigration representative to provide advice or otherwise represent a client during an application or proceeding with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). This post aims to help affected agents understand how Bill C-35 impacts their business; it’s based on a presentation from Citizenship and Immigration Canada officials at the ICEF North America Workshop in Montreal in April, which we recently received permission to share.
Which agents does Bill C-35 affect?
Bill C-35 applies both to agents based in Canada as well as those based outside the country.
What is meant by “accredited immigration representatives”?
Those who are either members in good standing of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council or lawyers authorised to practise in Canada.
What are the penalties for not abiding by Bill C-35?
Penalties for convictions under the act include fines of up to CDN$100,000 and/or imprisonment of up to two years. Any prosecutions arising from the legislation would necessarily occur in Canada.
What can education agents do under Bill C-35?
- Direct someone to the CIC website to find information on immigration programmes
- Direct someone to the CIC website to find immigration application forms
- Direct someone to an authorised immigration representative
- Provide translation services
- Provide courier services
- Provide medical services (e.g., medical exams)
- Make travel arrangements
- Advise an international student on how to select their courses or register
What are education agents not permitted to do under Bill C-35?
- Explain and/or provide advice on someone’s immigration options
- Provide guidance to a client on how to select the best immigration stream
- Complete/submit immigration forms on a client’s behalf
- Communicate with CIC and the Canada Border Services Agency on a client’s behalf (except for direct translation)
- Represent a client in an immigration application or proceeding
- Advertise that they can provide immigration advice
This summary is also available to download as a PDF file. Special thanks to CIC for allowing us to share the presentation.