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COMPLIANCE CHECKLIST

A. PURPOSE

The primary purpose of the compliance checklist is to serve as a tool for you, the
member, in ensuring the highest quality of service to your clients. Members should be
able to answer YES to each of the questions posed on the checklist. By following the
compliance checklist and doing a self-check of your immigration practice, the member
also gains education, minimizes exposure to risk and will be better prepared for auditing
by CSIC.

While the compliance checklist is intended to assist you, the member, in the management
of your immigration practice, it is NOT an exhaustive list of the forms or types of
situations which may arise in the course of your practice as an immigration consultant
and is NOT intended to be a substitute for your own research and judgment. You have a
separate and independent obligation to understand and operate your practice in
accordance with CSIC’s By-laws, Rules and Policies as they presently exist and as may
be amended or added to from time to time [see Section C – References].

B. DEFINITIONS

“Agent” means a person who:


a- Represents an immigration consultant with respect to clients;
b- Solicits clients on behalf of an immigration consultant; or
c- Liaises with a client with the intent to provide information to
assist the immigration consultant in representing, advising, or
consulting with the client

Commentary:
1. An agent is not an immigration consultant and may not
represent, advise, or consult with a client. Any person, either
domestic or foreign, assisting immigration consultants with
obtaining clients or information regarding clients, will be deemed
to be an agent.

“Board” means the Immigration and Refugee Board, which consists of the
Refugee Protection Division, Refugee Appeal Division,
Immigration Division and Immigration Appeal Division.

“By-laws” means the By-laws of CSIC from time to time in force and effect.

“Client” means a person on whose behalf an immigration consultant


undertakes to represent, advise or consult with in respect of any

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proceeding or application before the Minister, an Officer, or the


Board.

“Client means a savings or chequing account in which the Member holds


account” funds received from or on behalf of one or more clients, which is
designated in the member’s records as a client account and which
is opened at a Canadian:
(i) chartered bank;
(ii) loan or trust company;
(iii) provincial savings office;
(iv) credit union or league to which the Credit Unions and
Caisses Populaires Act, S.O. 1994 applies; or
(v) registered trust corporation.

“CSIC” means the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants, a


corporation designated by the Minister pursuant to section 91 of
the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c. 27, as
amended, (the “IRPA”) or subsequent provisions of the IRPA
Regulations pursuant to IRPA section 91 to establish standards and
regulate the conduct of immigration consultants.

“CSIC Chief means any person appointed pursuant to the provisions of the
Executive subsection 9.7(f) of By-law 9.
Officer”

“Immigration means any person who is a member of CSIC who is thereby


Consultant” authorized to represent, advise, or consult with a person in respect
of a proceeding or application before the Minister, an Officer, or
the Board.
 
“Lawyer” means a member in good standing of a law society of a province or
territory in Canada and shall include students-at-law, acting under
the supervision of a member in good standing of a law society of a
province, who for a fee, represent, advise or consult with a person
who is the subject of a proceeding or application before
Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the Immigration and Refugee
Board, or Canada Border Services Agency.

“Members” means the full members of CSIC as defined in the By-laws and
“member” means any one of them.

“Minister” means the Minister or Ministers responsible for the administration


of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act of Canada. The
Minister or Ministers are the members of the Queen’s Privy
Council designated as such by the Governor in Council.

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“Money” includes current coin, government or bank notes, cheques, drafts,


credit card sales slips, post office orders and express and bank
money orders.

“Officer” means any person or class of person designated as Officers by the


Minister to carry out any purpose of any provision of the IRPA.

“Rules of” means the rules established by resolution of the Board of Directors
Professional to govern the professional conduct of members, and student
Conduct” members.

“Student has the meaning ascribed to it in By-Law 10.4.


member”
 

C. REFERENCES

All questions within the compliance checklist are in reference to CSIC:

(a) By-laws
(b) Rules of Professional Conduct;
(c) Client account rules;
(d) Retention of records and file management guidelines;
(e) Guidelines for advertising, solicitation and making services available; and
(f) CSIC logo guidelines & terms of use.

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Section 1. File Management and Record Keeping √


1.1 Do you have a record of all materials received from each client in every
client file?
1.2 Do you have a properly executed authorization to communicate with any
third parties in every client file, where applicable?
1.3 Do you maintain documentation concerning the client’s instructions or
change in instructions in every client file?
1.4 Do you keep copies of receipts given to the client for materials received
from them in every client file?
1.5 Do you ensure that you do not hold any original immigration documents,
passports, or other property belonging to the client in any closed1 or
terminated2 client file?
1.6 Do you keep copies of all incoming and outgoing correspondence
(including copies of e-mails) in every client file?
1.7 Do you track the progress of outgoing documentation, applications and/or
submissions for every client in every client file?
1.8 Do you keep copies of documentation submitted by the client in support of
an application or submission in every client file? (for example: academic
transcripts, police clearance certificates and reference letters etc.)
1.9 Does every client file contain copies of applications or submissions you
have made on behalf of a client?
1.10 Does every client file contain copies of cheques, bank drafts, bank receipts
or money orders paid to the Receiver General and/or any other competent
federal/provincial authority on behalf of the client?
1.11 Does every client file contain documentation of in-person meetings with
the client?
1.12 Do you keep copies of research material, including copies of reports or
studies in every client file, where applicable?
1.13 Does every client file include copies of medical reports or medical receipts,
as applicable?
1.14 Does every client file contain job offers and Human Resources and Skills
Development - Labour Market Opinions, if applicable?
1.15 Does every client file contain appeal documents and/or court records, if
applicable?
1.16 Do you keep memoranda and/or notes to files in every client file?
1.17 For every client file, are there copies of interim and final reports to your
client?
1.18 Do you record time spent on the matter in every client file?
1.19 Do you have a filing system in place for your client files?
1.20 For every client file, do you keep notes in regards to significant dates (i.e.
                                                                                                               
1
A file is considered “closed” when representation by the Member is fulfilled, and the retainer agreement is
completed.
2
A file is considered “terminated” when representation by the Member has been withdrawn, and the
retainer agreement is not, and shall not be completed.

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hearing dates) and dispositions for each matter?


1.21 Do you organize all correspondence related to the matter chronologically in
every client’s file?
1.22 Do you have an alphabetical list or numerical list of all your clients?
1.23 When a client entrusts you with more than one matter, do you open and
maintain a separate file for each matter?
1.24 Do you periodically review the contents of your filing cabinets to ensure
that no client files are missing?
1.25 Do you maintain off-site backups of client files (for example: scanned
copies, removable drive etc.)?
1.26 Do you maintain separate client lists for active files and closed and/or
terminated files?
1.27 Do you keep active client files in a separate filing system from the closed
and/or terminated client files?
1.28 Do you keep active client files on-site in your office?
1.29 Do you keep closed client files on-site in your office for a minimum of six
(6) years after completion?
1.30 Do you keep terminated client files on-site in your office?
1.31 Do you store all of your client files securely?
1.32 Is your filing system secure with access being restricted to authorized staff
of your practice?
1.33 Do you have a reminder system in place to track undertakings, matters that
are coming up to their expiry date, and/or other outstanding items?
1.34 Do you have copies of all original client documents?
1.35 Do you have a procedure in place in the event a transfer of any client file
material is to be made to another consultant, a lawyer, or any other
authorized party?
1.36 Once a client file is completed, do you return the client documents (as
defined in the Retention of Records and File Management Guidelines) to
the client?
1.37 Do you keep a record of all client documents (as defined in the Retention of
Records and File Management Guidelines) that have been returned to the
client at the completion of a file?

Section 2. Financial Management √


2.1 Do you keep your financial records current?
2.2 Do you ensure that your financial records are permanent (pursuant to
subsection 12.3 of By-law 12 – Record Keeping Requirements)?
2.3 Do you issue a receipt when you receive money from the client?
2.4 Do you retain a copy of every receipt you issue?
2.5 Do you receive and retain a receipt for payment of fees or disbursements on
behalf of the client?
2.6 Do you keep a copy of every receipt you retain in the client file?
2.7 Do you have an electronic or paper backup to all your financial records?

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2.8 Do you keep accounting records and completed client account records on-
site for a minimum of six (6) years?
2.9 When money is received from a client, do you record in a book of original
entry:
a) The client for whom the money is received? ___
b) The name of the person from whom the money is received, and their ___
relationship to the client?
c) The date on which the money is received? ___
d) The method by which the money is received? ___
e) The amount of money received? ___
2.10 When a disbursement is made out of money held on behalf of a client, do
you record in a book of original entry:
a) The client on whose behalf the money is disbursed? ___
b) The person to whom the money is disbursed? ___
c) The date on which the money is disbursed? ___
d) The method by which the money is disbursed? ___
e) The amount of money disbursed? ___
2.11 Do you maintain a clients’ account ledger showing separately for each
client for whom money is received:
a) All money received from the client (credits) ___
b) Disbursements and fees paid on behalf of the client (debits)? ___
c) Any unexpended balance? ___
2.12 If you have more than one client account, do you keep a record showing all
transfers of money between any of the client accounts, with detailed
explanations in regards to the purpose of each transfer?
2.13 Do you maintain a fees book, or a chronological file of copies of billings
(invoices) showing:
a) The identity of each client? ___
b) The fees charged to each client? ___
c) The dates on which the fees were charged to each client? ___
2.14 Do you perform a detailed monthly reconciliation of your client account(s)?
2.15 Do you keep copies of all client account bank statements and general
account bank statements directly related to your practice?
2.16 If you perform pro bono work as an immigration consultant, do you handle
money, and keep proper records of all moneys received and disbursed, in
the same manner as with a charged client?
2.17 Do you keep all invoices and receipts for all payment of fees in the client
file?
2.18 Do you send out final invoices to the client within thirty (30) days of
termination of the retainer?
2.19 Do you provide detailed information on the invoices and receipts you issue,
such as:
a) Your CSIC membership number? ___
b) Your tax identification as appropriate? ___
c) CSIC contact information? ___

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Section 3. Client Accounts √


3.1. Do you maintain a client account in either your name, the name of your
firm or the firm by which you are employed in a Canadian chartered bank,
loan or trust company, provincial savings office, credit union or a league to
which the Credit Unions and Caisses Populaires Act, 1994 applies, and/or
a registered trust corporation?
3.2 If you maintain any client-specific client accounts, and interest is earned on
such accounts, do you pay out the complete sum of the interest earned from
each client account to the appropriate client?
3.3 Do you ensure that only CSIC members are authorized as signing officers
for your client account(s)?
3.4 Did you provide the details of all your client accounts to CSIC within thirty
(30) days of their opening?
3.5 Do you perform monthly bank reconciliations no later than sixty (60) days
after each month’s end?
3.6 Do you keep reconciliations and the supporting documents relating to each
reconciliation (for example: bank statements and a detailed list of money
held for each client etc.) in the office of your Canadian business address for
a minimum of six (6) full years?
3.7 Do you deposit all moneys received on behalf of clients into your client
account(s) within two (2) banking days after receipt?
3.8 Do you keep track of all withdrawals from your client account(s) in an
agenda or book of accounting?
3.9 Do you provide an invoice to your clients before the withdrawal of any
money from any of your client accounts for appropriate payments of fees or
disbursements?
3.10 Do you record in the client file withdrawals made from your client
account(s) in the following instances:
a) Money required for disbursements for which you have received __
written direction to perform in the retainer agreement?
b) Money required for payment of fees for services rendered by you __
following the issuance of an invoice to the client?
c) Money directly transferred at the written direction of a client into __
the client account of another CSIC member, trust account of a
lawyer or trust account of a Quebec notary?
3.11 Do you always have appropriate authorization from the client for any
withdrawal from the client account?
3.12 Do you only carry out the withdrawals from your client account(s) in one
or more of the following manners:
a) By cheques payable to yourself? __
b) By cheques payable to your personal bank account or a money
transfer to your personal bank account? __
c) By cheques payable to your practice’s bank account or a money
transfer to your practice’s bank account (of which you are an __

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authorized signing officer of the account)?

Section 4. Retainer Agreement and Fees √


4.1 Do you establish a written retainer agreement with every client?
4.2 Do you sign every retainer agreement?
4.3 Does every client sign a retainer agreement?
4.4 Do you verify every client’s signature against their identification?
4.5 Do you properly and fully disclose the matter and scope of services for
which you are retained in each retainer agreement?
4.6 Do you clearly define all moneys receivable and payable in connection to
your representation (including the commissions paid to and/or by any third
party) in each retainer agreement?
4.7 Do you ensure that you do not receive other remuneration outside of that
discussed in the retainer agreement for the matter disclosed in the retainer
agreement?
4.8 Do you include all payment terms and conditions in each retainer
agreement?
4.9 Do you clearly indicate in each retainer agreement the identity of the paid
immigration consultant(s) working on the matter?
4.10 Do you disclose in the retainer agreement that you are a CSIC member,
along with your CSIC membership number?
4.11 Are the address, phone numbers and emails of CSIC indicated in the
retainer agreement to allow the client to contact CSIC if required?
4.12 Are the fees you charge to each client fair and reasonable?
4.13 Do you have a clause in each retainer agreement that requires clients to
raise their complaints directly with you when they are not satisfied with
specific services (in accordance with Part 9 of the Rules of Professional
Conduct)?
4.14 Are the following factors, justifying the costs of the fees, stated in the
retainer agreement?
a) The nature of the service required? ___
b) The time required? ___
c) Your experience as an immigration consultant? ___
d) The ability and the degree of responsibility assumed? ___
e) The benefits that will accrue to the client? ___
4.15 Do you have documentation of withdrawals from representation?
4.16 In the event of a withdrawal from representation, do you return all client
documents (as defined in the Retention of Records and File Management
Guidelines) to the client?
4.17 In the event of a withdrawal from representation, do you advise Citizenship
and Immigration Canada in writing?
4.18 Do you indicate whether a refund is applicable in each retainer agreement?
4.19 If it is indicated in the retainer agreement that a refund is applicable, do
you clearly indicate in what circumstance the refund is applicable?

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Section 5. Immigration Consulting Practice √


5.1 If your practice is a partnership, do you have a written partnership
agreement in place?
5.2 If your practice includes work with any individuals whose membership in
a designated professional body has been removed or suspended, do you
have an appropriate authorization from CSIC to work with the individual
(Part 3.7 of the Rules of Professional Conduct)?
5.3 Do you have a procedure in place for individuals who wish to refer clients
to you?
5.4 If you employ any agents in your immigration practice, have you disclosed
the details to the CSIC?
5.5 If you employ an agent, is there a written contract in place which clearly
describes the role, responsibilities, and limitations of the agent in
accordance with the CSIC Rules of Professional Conduct?
5.6 Are all business affiliations of your practice disclosed to the CSIC?
5.7 If you use an interpreter/ translator, do you ensure that he/she signs a
confidentiality or nondisclosure agreement with you?
5.8 Does your practice have procedures and/or policies in place with respect
to:
a) Verifying the identity of clients ___
b) Maintaining a record of incoming and outgoing client ___
communications
c) Client confidentiality, including the safeguarding of client ___
documents
d) File management ___
e) Tracking of regular, registered and electronic mail ___
f) Tracking deadlines ___
g) Monitoring delays ___
h) Periodic review of files ___
i) Distribution of work ___
j) Retention of records ___
k) Destruction of files ___
5.9 In the event of your inability to practice as an immigration consultant, have
you made any provisions for succession planning?
5.10 Have you made arrangements for alternate coverage during periods of your
absence (for example: in case of emergencies, vacation, or a leave of
absence)?
5.11 In the event that access to your practice is restricted, are emergency
documents (blank cheques, software licenses, emergency contact info, etc.)
kept off-site in a secure location?
5.12 Is the work of your support staff regularly reviewed and supervised by
you?
5.13 Are your staff members aware of their work limitations?
5.14 Do you ensure that your employees who are not CSIC members DO NOT:

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a) Have access to the client account(s)? ___


b) Advise clients on the process to follow? ___
c) Advise clients on immigration matters? ___
d) Maintain the company’s financial records? ___
e) Submit immigration applications? ___
5.15 Does the set up of your office allow for confidential conversations with
clients?

Section 6. Client Services and Communication √


6.1 If the client meets with you and has another person or persons present, do
you ensure that the other person or persons are aware that you are not
acting for them as an immigration consultant?
6.2 Do you advise clients about privacy issues around emails, communicating
details of a case by electronic media, and the sharing of information with
any third parties?
6.3 Following an initial consultation, if you are not yet retained, do you
communicate with the prospective client that you are not retained by them
and that you will not take any action on their behalf until they retain you?
6.4 Before accepting a retainer from a new client, do you ensure that the
retainer will not place you in a position of conflict of interest?
6.5 Have you established internal procedures for dealing with client complaints
regarding fee disputes, ownership of file documents and client property,
and transfer of files?
6.6 Do you review each client’s file(s) with the client at appropriate stages of
each matter?
6.7 Do you keep clients informed about new legislation that might concern
their file?
6.8 Are each client’s instructions, including any changes to his/her instructions,
confirmed in writing?
6.9 Do you advise clients of the importance of informing you of changes in
their personal situation, which may affect their application status?
6.10 When you become aware that the personal situation of a client has changed
such that it may affect their application status, do you advise the client that
their past testimonials/declarations should be revised?
6.11 When a matter involves a deadline, do you advise the client in writing that
the client is responsible for ensuring that the deadline is not missed?
6.12 When advising a client who does not speak English or French, nor any
other language in which you are fluent and proficient, do you make every
reasonable effort to engage the services of an interpreter when
communicating with the client?
6.13 Do you read all correspondences and documents before signing and
presenting them to the client?
6.14 Do you regularly send clients copies of notices and important
correspondences?

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6.15 Do you keep copies of proceedings and correspondences for your records?

Section 7. Advertising, Solicitation and Use of the CSIC Logo √


7.1 Is your advertising factual, accurate and verifiable?
7.2 Is all information contained in your advertisement(s) clear and
comprehensible, dignified, and in good taste?
7.3 Does your advertising indicate your company’s full name, your full name,
the full names of all of the CSIC members employed by your company and
that each of you is a “Member of the Canadian Society of Immigration
Consultants (CSIC)”?

7.4 If you operate a web page, does the homepage contain a link to the official
CSIC website?
7.5 If you operate a website, are your full name, the full name(s) of all CSIC
member(s) employed by your company, and your membership with CSIC
clearly stated on the homepage of the website, or via a hyperlink button
connected to your homepage?
7.6 If you have an agent or business affiliate who advertises your immigration
consultancy services, do all the agent and/or business affiliate
advertisements of your immigration consulting services properly list your
full name and indicate that you are a “Member of the Canadian Society of
Immigration Consultants (CSIC)”?
7.7 Does the stationery you use in your practice indicate your full name, the
full names of all the CSIC members employed by your company, and that
each of you is a “Member of the Canadian Society of Immigration
Consultants (CSIC)”?
7.8 Do your business cards list your company name, your full name, and that
you are a “Member of the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants
(CSIC)”?
7.9 If you use the CSIC logo, is it used in accordance with the CSIC Logo
Guidelines & Terms of Use?
7.10 If you use the CSIC logo, do you have written approval from the CSIC
Chief Executive Officer or his/her designate to use the CSIC logo?
7.11 In the event that CSIC amends the CSIC logo, and you use the CSIC logo,
do you update any and all advertising materials within thirty (30) days after
you have been notified by CSIC of the amendments to the logo?

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