Interesting article in the Toronto Star about the experience and difficulties some have encountered when dealing with unregulated immigration consultants. The article deals specifically with Sophie Boutzis and her 'firm' - Scot & Associates. The Star has a great piece on unscrupulous immigration 'advisors' here.
Regulated immigration consultants are subject to the overview of the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants. While there has been some questions regarding governance, there is at least an ability for an aggrieved client/immigrant to lodge a complaint against a CSIC member. Lawyers have always been subject to the code of conduct of the Law Society. In terms of fee/billing issues, these can be addressed in what is termed 'taxation' proceedings.
Unfortunately, given that it is highly unlikely that unregulated immigration 'advisors' will ever be subject to any law, immigrants are still subject to both exploitation, and a resultant inability to seek redress. One couple (victim) of Sophie Boutzis was removed from Canada after securing judgment against her and her 'firm'.
The unlikelihood of being penalized for treating people shabbily is one reason immigration consultancy remains a lucrative and often exploitative trade – despite years-old government attempts to clean it up.
Complaints to Toronto police, the RCMP, Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Better Business Bureau got her nowhere, so she [Rozana Popadapoulos] took on the case herself.
"I was running around, serving legal papers on people, investigating, doing the things that I would have hoped that police were going to do," sighed Papadopoulos, who came to Canada from Greece as a toddler. "Everywhere we went to, we hit a dead end. It has been extremely stressful for us."
She learned that Boutzis is neither a registered member of the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC) nor a lawyer, and therefore isn't even authorized to represent paying clients before immigration authorities – though no law prohibits her from hanging out a shingle as an adviser.
CSIC simply doesn't have the legal teeth to do anything for Papadopoulos because it has no jurisdiction over non-members.