Full support for government plans to restructure CSIC
May 25, 2010
News that Immigration Minister Jason Kenney may bring radical changes to the ways immigration consultants are regulated is being well received by consultants themselves.
The rumoured changes come close to the recommendations made by the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration in 2008, says Peter Bernier, President of the Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants (CAPIC). We have been calling for such changes for a long time, and are in full support of them.
CAPIC is the largest non-profit association representing immigration consultants who are licensed by the regulatory body, CSIC.
Phil Mooney, past-President of CAPIC, echoes the need for change. When the government moved to regulate the industry in 2004, it set up a non-profit Society, CSIC. But CSIC has no mandate to prosecute unregulated agents, and has been challenged with governance problems ever since 3 initial directors resigned in protest over spending practices in 2005, says Mr Mooney. It needs an overhaul.
Mr Mooney also points to serious concerns with how the regulatory body operates. Members have long complained about the lack of transparency in the Boards operations. Members report being unable to get basic financial information such as what each director is making, or how the Board managed to lose more than $1 million dollars in its commercial subsidiary CMI Inc. in 2009 alone.
Show us the money has been a continual refrain from members according to Mr Mooney. The Board runs a very expensive operation, focussed on too many things outside their core mandate for example, in addition to the wholly owned CMI, they have their own TV studio, professional lobbyists, an online academy, a Coat of Arms, a CSIC merchandising store, etc. All CSIC resources should be marshalled solely to protecting consumers, says Mr Mooney, but we receive consumers comments that their complaints are not handled effectively. As regular members, we have no say on how our funds are spent.
Members who do speak out can face disciplinary penalties. Mr Mooney was recently fined $1000 for a website posting calling for the very changes recommended by the Standing Committee. That matter is now in Federal Court. He is one of several CSIC members in litigation with the Board over alleged violations of their rights under the CSIC By-laws and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
When organizations deviate from their core mandate, responsibility must be taken at the top, says Mr Mooney. Mr John Ryan, The Board Chair since 2005, has also served as the CEO of CSIC for the past two years, and thus has exercised both governance and management responsibilities. We believe in light of the obvious loss of confidence by the Minister in the way CSIC has been led, he must resign, says Mr Mooney. Clearly his vision for CSIC is no longer valid.
CAPIC applauds Minister Kenney for initiating changes to make the regulator more effective and more accountable. Our members very much look forward to seeing the details, and will work with the Minister to strengthen the regulatory initiative said Mr Mooney. Two more years have been wasted that could have been spent building a better regulator. The governments patience has not been rewarded, so now it is time to turn the page.
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Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants
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