The Complaints Process

Making a Complaint about a Global Immigration Specialist

Before making a complaint about a Global Immigration Specialist, GSIS recommends that the individual first discuss his/her concerns directly with the Specialist.

If one wishes to proceed with the filing of a complaint, he/she must provide:

  • The name(s) and contact information of the complainant(s).
  • The name(s), full mailing address, and telephone number of the Specialist(s) involved.
  • A written and detailed statement regarding the nature of the complaint (please indicate the date that the GSIS member was retained, and the date when the GSIS member ceased representation).
  • The dates or specific timeline of events.
  • Copies of all supporting documentation (the contract/retainer agreement, receipts/proof of payment, email, and or other correspondences and communication).

In the alternative, one may also complete and submit a Complaints Form which can be obtained from the GSIS website under the tab entitled For the Public.

All complaints must be made in writing and, under normal circumstances, be made within six months from the day upon which the individual first became aware of the matter giving rise to the complaint. In accordance with the principles of administrative law, the name of the complainant must be disclosed to the member. Therefore, GSIS does not accept anonymous complaints.

Information concerning a complaint can be sent to the Society’s Complaints and Discipline Department by regular mail/courier/fax, or can be sent via email to: info@gsis.org

For further informationon how to file a complaint see the Complainant Guidelines.

Why Does GSIS Investigate its Members?

  • Investigating complaints is one of the ways that GSIS can address concerns about the quality of service provided by a Global Immigration Specialist. In order to ensure the professional conduct of its members, the Society has developed a mandatory code of conduct, entitled the Rules of Professional Conduct, by which all of its members must abide.

GSIS can address complaints about a member by:

  • Engaging in mediation between the complainant and the member where appropriate.
  • Investigating complaints about a Specialist’s behavior or conduct.
  • Disciplining a Specialist if he/she is found guilty of contravening one of the Society’s Rules of Professional Conduct or By-laws.

GSIS cannot:

  • Address complaints about non-members. A search of GSIS’s membership list will show all members who are in good standing with the Society.
  • Determine the amount someone should pay for immigration services or the reasonableness of an invoice issued by one of its members.
  • Assess professional liability issues. If a member appears to have made a mistake or has failed to take action on behalf of the complainant, resulting in the financial loss or other damages to the complainant, this may constitute professional negligence. This is a matter to be addressed with the member’s insurer or through a civil action. GSIS does not have the authority to determine whether a member was negligent or the extent of the losses or damages the complainant has incurred.
  • Provide the public with global immigration specialist advice.
  • Provide the public with legal advice. Only lawyers entitled to practice law can provide legal advice.

What is the Purpose of an Investigation?

The purpose of the investigation is to gather all relevant information and documentation in order to determine whether or not the member has breached the Rules of Professional Conduct. The member is notified of the complaint and is required to respond to the allegations within a given time frame.

This information is then reviewed by the Manager of Complaints and Discipline to determine whether the matter presented by the Investigator(s) is resolvable, reveals breaches of the Rules of Professional Conduct or the By-Laws, or whether a disposition other than referral to a Discipline Hearing is appropriate. Investigators are trained in mediation techniques and will attempt to resolve appropriate matters where possible.

An attempt to facilitate a resolution between the parties and provide remedial assistance to the members is one of the goals of the Complaints Process.

What is the Role of the Investigator?

The investigator acts as an impartial or objective fact finder. The investigator is required to provide the Manager of Complaints and Discipline with sufficient information pertaining to the allegations in order for the Manager to make an informed decision concerning the disposition of the matter. In order to do so, the investigator may request the complainant and/or the member to produce documents or other information that are relevant to the allegations.

The investigator may also interview the complainant or the member during the investigative process, as well as any other individual(s) whom the investigator determines to be relevant to the matter.

The investigator does not express an opinion during the investigation process. The investigator ensures that both the member and the complainant understand the process and are treated fairly during the investigation.

Outcome

When the investigation is completed, the investigator prepares a written report concerning the outcome of the investigation. After reviewing this report, the Manager of Complaints and Discipline decides what action, if any, will be taken. The Manager of Complaints and Discipline may decide to:

  • Advise the Specialist in writing about a more appropriate practice.
  • Issue advice about how the Specialist can practice more effectively or efficiently. This may include remedial measures, such as educational training.
  • Issue a letter of caution if the breach is more serious, to educate the Specialist about problems in his/her practice so that similar situations can be prevented in the future.
  • Require the Specialist to appear before the Manager or her designate to be cautioned in person.
  • Require the Specialist to sign an Undertaking obliging the member to undertake to certain actions to improve his/her Global Immigration Specialist practice.
  • Refer the matter to a Discipline Hearing for a conduct proceeding.
  • Refer the matter to a Disciplinary Hearing for an incapacity proceeding.
  • The outcome of the investigation will be communicated to the complainant and the member.