Madam Speaker, it is not surprising that the Canadian Bar Association would prefer anyone practising immigration law to be a lawyer. However, our amendment says that paralegals would be able to practice immigration law without being regulated by this body. That is a compromise.
I do not agree completely with the Canadian Bar Association that everyone giving advice on immigration matters needs to be a lawyer. There are very competent consultants who understand the law. They are able to fill in applications and give advice but they are not able to represent their clients in federal court, for example. If we are talking about legal matters in a court of law, then it would still be up to lawyers and not immigration consultants.
As to why this body would not be an independent corporation, I have been persuaded that it will take some time. If we look at the history of the Canadian Bar Association, it took quite a few years for the Canadian Bar Association to be formed. This immigration consultant industry is still relatively new. It would be helpful for the government to ensure that everyone practising is doing so in a way that is acceptable under Canadian law. Ultimately, when the industry matures to the extent that it can, an independent, non-share corporation can be established. The body could form itself. If the body is ready in two years from now, it will be able to regulate all immigration consultants. That day may come but we do not know when.
In the meantime, it is important that we have this regulation and this legislation in front of us.