Any type of lawyer in Canada can be a representative on an immigration application; they are not required to have any specialized knowledge of Canadian immigration law or processes.
The job that is done by an immigration lawyer and an immigration consultant is nearly identical. The application process is the same. The documents are the same. The only difference is that there are very few certified specialists in Canadian immigration law, who are highly respected in the profession, and there are many dabblers who take any type of file that comes into the office whether it is real estate, wills and estates, criminal law, or immigration.
If you need to file for leave for Judicial Review with the federal court, only a lawyer can represent you. We recommend that for such a complex process you hire a certified specialist in Canadian immigration and citizenship law – a certification given by the Law Society only to lawyers who truly do specialize in application of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Citizenship Act.
In Ontario, paralegals are allowed to represent clients for a fee in front of tribunals such as employment regulation, traffic, and immigration hearings. They are licensed by the Law Society of Upper Canada.
Paralegals are not allowed to represent clients on any type of immigration application including sponsorship, Express Entry, work permits, study permits, or criminal inadmissibility. They are only allowed to represent at a tribunal hearing such as an appeal or detention hearing.