The Law Society of Upper Canada and the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) are working together on a streamlined admissions process for licensed paralegals who want to become Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants.
Without the ICCRC designation, paralegals may represent a client before the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), and may provide legal services to clients for matters relating to an IRB hearing. Other immigration-related legal services that are not connected to an IRB hearing are outside of the paralegal scope of practice. Federal law requires professionals to be registered with and regulated by the ICCRC.
The ICCRC has published a Registration Guide for paralegals in good standing with the Law Society.
The organization notes that a paralegal must have been a recipient of an accredited Immigration Practitioner Program diploma since 2004, and/or have been, or is a member of a previous regulatory body of Canadian immigration consultants, to qualify.
Special admissions for paralegals includes:
- Waiver of initial $500.00 exam fee
- Recognition of non-ICCRC accredited education and membership in the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants
- Reduction, by 25 per cent, for initial partial-year membership dues and subsequent year
Questions? Contact the Office of the Registrar at 1-877-836-7543, or by email at email@example.com.
Cathy Corsetti, who chairs the Paralegal Standing Committee (PSC), says the PSC played a role in these changes. The working group on the Morris Report had met with representatives of the ICCRC to discuss ways to make it easier for licensed paralegals to acquire membership in the ICCRC.
After meetings between the ICCRC Board of Directors and the Law Society, the ICCRC amended its regulations to permit the changes announced Aug. 15.
“This is an exciting development in expanding paralegals scope of practice, while ensuring that the proper training is in place,” Corsetti said. She adds that the move announcement supports Recommendation 11 of the landmark Morris Report:
Consistent with Recommendation 5 above, that the Law Society considers implementation of sub-classes of paralegal licences and/or other forms of accreditation to which, following specialized and substantive training, is attached the right to practice in specific areas of law that might currently fall outside of the scope of permissible paralegal practice.
Corsetti says the Law Society succeeded in obtaining amendments to the federal Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, to permit paralegals to appear at the Immigration and Refugee Board. This new step will allow paralegals to provide additional services. “I believe that Paralegals having this further accreditation will provide a much needed Access to Justice in an under-serviced area in immigration and refugee law.”
The next exam is November 3, 2013. Apply by October 11, 2013.
May, 2013 Paralegal SCOPE article: Paralegals Plea for Clarity
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