A Message from the Interim President and CEO,
ICCRC has been working tirelessly toward a better solution for consumers of immigration services, as well as the protection of the public in response to the concerns raised in the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration’s report on Immigration Consultants. The following highlights the progress made in each of the areas of concern:
Education competencies have been developed and shared with the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) for feedback regarding a specialization program for RCICs representing clients at the IRB. The specialization program is slated to be developed in October/November 2018.
ICCRC continues to develop licensing exams that are reliable, valid and legally defensible in order to meet international standards and best practice. The most recent Full Skills Exam/Entry to Practice Exams were administered on May 6, 2018.
The Board has approved upgrading the language requirement for those professionals qualifying in the future, representing clients in immigration/citizenship matters the implementation date is scheduled to be July 1, 2019. Exam-taker applicants will have to demonstrate the equivalent of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB)/Niveau de competence Linguistique Canadien (NCLC) level nine (up one level from level eight) to be admitted to the profession. Upgrading the language standard is part of ICCRC’s goal to better protect the public interest by establishing higher entry qualifications for membership.
A transition plan is currently being developed to support the implementation of a post-graduate diploma over a period of time thus phasing out the current Immigration Practitioner Program (IPP). This will be combined with a rigorous marketing strategy to support the implementation of this new higher credential.
The survey regarding Continuing Professional Development (CPD), Practice Management Education (PME) and the Compliance Audit sent to RCICs in February resulted in responses from six hundred and sixteen (616) RCICs, representing thirteen percent (13%) of the Council’s membership. A report analyzing the findings is currently being prepared and is anticipated to be released in June 2018.
The Compliance Audit process review to increase efficiencies recognising the record growth of licensed consultants is ongoing. An analysis of the compliance audit framework of other regulatory bodies is being considered in the proposed revisions of the compliance audit process. It is anticipated that Regulation changes will be presented to the Registration and Education Committee (REC) at its November 22nd meeting.
Based on approval by the Board in September 2017, a mandatory experiential, interactive, online Practice Experience Program (PEP) will be implemented for prospective RCICs. Individuals will have to complete the PEP before taking the entry-to-practice exam. Consultations are underway with other regulatory bodies and trade associations in Canada and overseas to gain an understanding of the online platforms that are used to support the implementation of such programs. Early to mid-2020 is the targeted completion date as per the timeline in the Report on the Feasibility of Implementing a Mandatory Practical Experience ComponentReport on the Feasibility of Implementing a Mandatory Practical Experience Component.
Seventy-five percent (75%) of the new complaint resolution streams have been implemented.
A new Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process has been implemented.
The By-law has been amended to permit the Complaints Committee to request that the member participates in a Voluntary Resolution Program (VRP) and to issue cautions to the member.
New processes have been applied for expedited handling of urgent, high-risk cases in force and to make failure to comply with an agreed Order a professional offence.
A prosecutorial viability assessment (PVA) process has been outlined and implemented.
The By-law has been amended to create a new “Fee Mediation Committee” as part of the ICCRC tribunals. We are seeking input from the profession to develop fee guidelines to inform the Committee.
The By-law has been amended to create the position of the Independent Complaints Review Officer (ICRO). A protocol has been developed and further necessary By-law amendments and Regulations are pending Board approval.
Meetings with Provincial Law Societies are underway to improve identification of authorized representatives.
Additional staff have been hired to assist in preparing the pending complaint files to expedite the complaints process.
A Director of Professional Conduct, Michael Huynh, a lawyer has been hired to oversee the entire Professional Standards and Tribunals function. He has held litigation, advisory and adjudicative positions with the federal Department of Justice, the Ontario Legislature, the University Health Network, and at IRB.
A mediator, a team of new Independent Legal Counsel and a legal advisor have been retained to expedite the complaint process. Additional lawyers are being hired and a Case Review Coordinator has also been hired.
A bilingual in-house complaints investigator, based in Montreal, has been hired.
Membership ratified the proposed changes to the By-law at the November 2017 Annual General Meeting (AGM) to increase required qualifications of RCICs to serve on the Board. This includes a minimum five years in-good-standing membership and meeting a skills matrix for qualification.
The Board is currently in transition to a new configuration of seven RCIC directors and five Public Interest Directors (PIDs) thus meeting the recommendation to increase the number of PIDs to make up at least forty percent (40%) of the Board. This change, marking a transition to an oversight Board and committee structure, will take place over three years due to provisions in the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (CNCA) that do not allow the corporation to re-structure the Board in one single year. Further By-law amendments have been passed and will be ratified at the November 2018 AGM to reduce the number of Board committees.
The Council would welcome the nomination of at least one public director by either Ministerial-appointment or a Governor-in-Council appointment.
A complete review and update of the By-laws are currently taking place for presentation to the Board in September with the assistance of the new Chief Executive Officer and General Counsel. A skills matrix for qualification to serve on the Board of Directors has been completed and is being implemented.
Wendy Kelley, J.D.
Interim President and CEO