Who are the immigration authorities?

Someone contacted our office recently and asked for a list of Federal Court cases I had represented. Of course, the answer was none. I am an immigration consultant. Only lawyers may represent people to the Federal Court. However, the answer was confusing for that person because the follow-up question was, “how come you say Al represents clients to the immigration authorities?” The question made me think about writing this piece and explaining the actors in the field of immigration to Canada.

The elephant in the room: the immigration authorities!

I’d probably be better off answering the question at hand first. Generally speaking, the following organizations deal with visa and immigration cases directly. Therefore, they are the immigration authorities.

  • The policy-maker and decision-maker IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada): This organization affects immigration in various ways. First and foremost, they are the policy-makers. IRCC drafts the policies that affect the immigration process. However, they do so by following the Immigration Law (IRPA). IRCC officers are the delegates of the Minister. Therefore, they review applications and decide whether to approve or refuse them. For example, they determine the fate of the following applications: TRV, immigration, work permit, study permit, visitor record extension, TRP, ARC, PRRA, etc.
  • The enforcerCBSA (Canada Border Services Agency): The officers of this organization enforce IRPA. Therefore, they handle matters such as removing people from Canada and detention. However, they sometimes deal with the decision-making aspect of immigration. For example, they process work permit and study permit applications for eligible applicants at a port of entry. Flagpoling is one practice that turns a CBSA officer into a decision-maker.
    CBSA is under the supervision of the Minister of Public Safety. The Minister posts the list of terrorist entities which helps CBSA and IRCC process inadmissibility under security grounds.
  • The judgeIRB (The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada): IRB members act as judges in a quasi-judicial environment. They hold hearings or ADR conferences. Eventually, they decide on sponsorship appeals, detention under IRPA, refugee claims, etc.

These entities take other roles as well. However, I only focused on their visa and immigration process role.

What about provincial authorities?

Provinces could also make immigration decisions. We could then consider the provincial officers, and immigration authorities. However, their decisions are partial and limited to their province. Partial means they cannot issue visas, permits, or permanent residence. Moreover, they may not go beyond their own province. The final say is always by the authorities I mentioned in the previous section. Therefore, I dub the provincial authorities the mouthful title of quasi-immigration-authority.

Who may represent you to the immigration authorities for consideration?

The term “for consideration” usually refers to receiving money. However, it could also refer to any bartering or quid pro quo situation:

  • Bartering: Compensating the service provider with something other than money (e.g., a carpet or a free air ticket)
  • Quid pro quo: Offering the service provider an advantage or a favour (e.g., allowing them to become a member of an elite club)

Assuming your arrangements are legally accepted, the following groups may represent you to the immigration authorities for consideration (section 91 of the IRPA).

  • Lawyers who are members in good standing of a Canadian provincial law society
  • Paralegals in Ontario only
  • Notary publics in Quebec only
  • RCICs or rather members in good standing of CICC

Please consider the following:

  • If the paid representative is not authorized, they could face up to five years in prison and $200,000 fines.
  • Starting from July 1, 2022, only those RCICs that hold the designation of RCIC-IRB may represent you to the IRB. However, CICC is currently running training sessions for RCICs and issues the designations for those who successfully complete the training.
  • The Law Society of Ontario has limited the practice of paralegals to the IRB hearings only. Moreover, paralegals from other provinces may not offer immigration advice or representation.
  • Notary publics in Quebec usually deal with immigration to Quebec only. Also, both Quebec and Saskatchewan have licensing procedures in place for RCICs. Therefore, only some of the RCICs may represent clients to the authorities of these provinces.

Paralel organizations

The following organizations are not immigration authorities but get involved with the relevant matters.

  • The Federal Court of Canada: Judicial review (JR) is an administrative hearing process to decide if a government decision-maker has done their job reasonably. Many immigration applicants file for JR at Federal Court. However, the Federal Court (FC) judges generally do not approve or refuse immigration applications. Nonetheless, they may allow the JR application and force IRCC, CBSA, or IRB to reopen a case.
  • Federal appeal courts: The Federal Court of Appeal (FCA) and the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) may hear appeals to the decisions by the FC and FCA, respectively. The findings of these courts could affect the world of immigration immensely. Regardless, we do not call them immigration authorities.
  • RCMP and CSIS: These organizations assist the immigration authorities with the security screening of the applicants. Moreover, RCMP could assist CBSA in specific enforcement aspects of immigration, such as irregular border crossings.

Of course, other entities could also assist the immigration authorities. Consequently, the list of parallel organizations is beyond this list.

Let me help!

If you need my help in handling immigration cases, consider booking a consultation session with me. Alternatively, you may fill out our assessment form or the following form.

    Full Name (required)

    Email (required)

    Have you entered your email address correctly?

    WhatsApp number(optional)

    Are you inadmissible to Canada?
    YesNoI don't know

    Have you received a removal order from Canada?
    Yes, DepartureYes, ExclusionYes, DeportationYes, type unknownNoI don't know

    Any other issues (select all that apply)?

    Do you believe humanitarian and compassionate grounds apply to you?
    YesNoI don't know

    Please explain the issue briefly:

    Upload a file that could help us better understand your situation - only PDF, JPG or PNG and less than 0.5MB

    Read this in Spanish 

    Related Posts

    countries where people would most like to live

    Canada ranks first among countries where people would most like to live

    Oct 2, 2022
    Ontario candidates invited

    Ontario held a major draw: 1,179 candidates invited

    Oct 1, 2022
    Immigrate to British Columbia after graduation International Students

    Immigrate to British Columbia after graduation – International Students

    Sep 30, 2022
    New Amendments for Temporary Foreign Workers are Now in Force

    New Amendments for Temporary Foreign Workers are Now in Force

    Sep 29, 2022

    Would you please fill out our free assessment form if you wish to visit or move to Canada? We will review it for free, but we will contact you only if we find an opportunity for you. Alternatively, you may book a consultation session. Consultation sessions are not free, but you will receive formal immigration advice from a licensed practitioner.

    Al Parsai, LLM, MA, DTM, RCIC
    Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
    Adjunct Professor – Queen’s University – Faculty of Law
    Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
    Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

    Fill our Free Canada Immigration Assessment Form in your language!

    Disclaimer:
    This article provides information of a general nature only. Considering the fluid nature of the immigration world, it may no longer be current. Of course, the item does not give legal advice. Therefore, do not rely on it as legal advice or immigration advice. Consequently, no one could hold us accountable for the content of these articles. Of course, if you have specific legal questions, you must consult a lawyer. Alternatively, if you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment.

    The characters and places in the articles:
    All the characters and locations in the articles are fictional, unless otherwise clearly stated. Therefore, any resemblance in names, dates, and places is coincidental.

    Important Notes:
    For our official addresses, trust this website only. We currently do not have offices outside Canada. Therefore, anyone who claims to be our agent is committing fraud. Also, note that we do not issue any work permits or study permits or similar documents. The government of Canada has the sole authority to issue such material.

    Click to read the disclaimer.

    Al Parsai

    Al Parsai is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (class L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) in Toronto, Canada. He is an adjunct professor at Queen's University Law School and Ashton College. Al, who holds a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University, is a member of CICC and CAPIC organizations. Al, the CEO of Parsai Immigration Services, has represented thousands of applicants from more than 50 countries to the immigration authorities since January 2011.

    Do you have any questions?