For those self-filing their application for a visa to Canada (aka Do It Yourself-ers) , an additional basis to refuse your case may arise: if you fail to declare that you hired someone advise you on the application. The relevant law is in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations at section 10 which state in part:
(c.3) if the applicant has been advised, for consideration in connection with the application, by a person referred to in any of paragraphs 91(2)(a) to (c) of the Act, include the information referred to in paragraphs (c.1) and (c.2) with respect to that person;
(c.4) if the applicant has been advised, for consideration in connection with the application, by an entity — or a person acting on its behalf — referred to in section 91(4) of the Act, include the information referred to in paragraph (c.1) with respect to that entity or person;
Failing to declare that a licensed professional reviewed your application for a fee would, based on the above result in an application that is incomplete. An incomplete application may be returned as unprocessed by the immigration department, resulting in delays or perhaps a failure to qualify (in the event that the criteria changed or a cap was reached upon resubmission).
Even worse, the application may be accepted for processing but then refused and you may be banned from entering Canada for five years on the basis of misrepresentation. I recently came across the following email from a visa officer in Hong Kong:
Furthermore, paragraph 40(1)(a) of the Act states that a permanent resident or a foreign national is inadmissible for misrepresentation for directly or indirectly misrepresenting or withholding material facts relating to a relevant matter that induces or could induce an error in the administration of this Act;
As the information on your file appears to indicate that you have used the services of an unauthorized immigration representative, yet you have not submitted a Use of a Representative form, I have concerns that you have not met the obligation of subsection 16(1) of the Act that you be truthful and provide documents reasonably required, and I also have concerns you may be inadmissible to Canada on grounds of misrepresentation pursuant to paragraph 40(1)(a) of the Act.
In the above case, the person who received this email did, in fact use an unlicensed representative and did not declare that representative’s services. There is some authority for the position that the Regulations do not require unauthorized counsel advising the person to be declared nor those who are only providing interpretive services.
There is nothing wrong of course with getting advice before filing your application. However, to help avoid the problems described above, it would be advisable to indicate in your application that a lawyer has reviewed your application, or said lawyer has given advice on the application that is being submitted. Our office has provided such a reviewing services for a client’s application. We subsequently drafted a certificate stating that the application was reviewed by me and advised the client to include that as part of their application for a visa. This clarifies to the visa officer what role may have been played by an authorized representative.