Immigration consulting regulator marks six years of consumer protection

TORONTO, April 13 /CNW/ - Today the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC) looked back at six years of progress on protecting consumers of immigration consulting services.

"Six years ago today the federal government recognized that immigration consulting had become like the wild west," said John Ryan, one of the strongest advocates for regulation, and CSIC's Chair and Acting CEO. "Unscrupulous consultants just did whatever they wanted and consumers were at the mercy of these sharks. The government of Canada introduced regulation to control who could appear before Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the Immigration and Refugee Board and Canada Border Services Agency. This regulation heralded CSIC as a force for positive change, and every year since CSIC has made considerable progress on its consumer protection mandate."

Today Certified Canadian Immigration Consultants must meet high standards of education and competence and they are held accountable to strict rules of professional conduct. In addition, consumers who have concerns about their consultant can file a formal complaint with CSIC. Consumers also have financial protection because all consultants must carry insurance and contribute to a compensation fund.

However, CSIC is not resting on its laurels. This year it engaged consumers with an ad campaign that warned of the dangers of hiring a ghost agent. CSIC also started a referral line that makes it easier for consumers to find an accredited consultant. In addition, CSIC's new compliance unit will audit members to ensure they conform to its rules of professional conduct.

"It's amazing to look at the progress CSIC has made in just six years," said Ryan. "There's still a lot of work to be done, but more than ever hiring a CSIC member, known as a Certified Canadian Immigration Consultant, is an assurance of competence and consumer protection."

Visit http://www.csic-scci.ca/content/history to view a detailed timeline of CSIC's progress on consumer protection.

The Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants is the professional regulatory body for Certified Canadian Immigration Consultants. Established in 2004 it currently has nearly 1,700 members. CSIC's mandate is to protect consumers of immigration consulting services. Consequently, it is responsible for ensuring the education, competency testing and the discipline of its members. CSIC also requires its members to carry errors and omissions insurance and to contribute to a compensation fund. The best way to find a CCIC is via CSIC's toll free referral line, 1-877-311-7926.

SOURCE CANADIAN SOCIETY OF IMMIGRATION CONSULTANTS

For further information: For further information: Nancy Tibbo, Communications Manager, ntibbo@csic-scci.ca, (416) 945-6271, Toll free: 866-308-2742, ext. 2252

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CANADIAN SOCIETY OF IMMIGRATION CONSULTANTS

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