had great meetings in Delhi yesterday with Min. Kenney focused on cracking down on corrupt immigration consultants
When the Cracking Down On Crooked Consultants Act legislation was introduced this summer, the local media in Barrie missed out on an important point in their coverage: Under current regulations and the proposed legislation, lawyers are not required to be registered with the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants or any future regulatory body that may replace the CSIC.
Prior to his becoming the Member of Parliament for Barrie, young lawyer Patrick W. Brown seems to have had some first hand experience with immigration consulting.
An article from the Toronto Star summarizes the scenario:
ISSUE: Unregulated foreign recruiters earn a profit by touting Canada as a place where jobs are practically guaranteed, but can't always deliver on their promises.
Recruiters team up with a local immigration consultant or someone billing himself as an "employment consultant" – a title that puts him outside the scrutiny of the regulatory body.
If things fall apart and hopes are dashed, it's shrugged off as a bad business deal.
The article goes on to detail the plight of a group of Korean immigrants who've paid the equivalent of between $7,000 and $13,400 in hopes of landing high-paying truck-driving jobs in Canada.
Details of Patrick Brown's involvement in the immigration scheme come from the discipline file of a CSIC member named Yolanda Simao:
8. At the time that these agreements were made or entered into the promotional literature for ULSC referred to a Patrick W. Brown from the law firm of Brown & Company in Barrie, Ontario. The literature did not refer to Ms. Simao. Ms. Simao was not in attendance at the seminar, and neither was her name mentioned at the seminar. The 24 Koreans who entered into their respective or collective contracts with ULSC did so at that time without the involvement of Ms. Simao. Ms. Simao did not enter into the overall picture until April of 2006.
9. In early 2006 ULSC began to receive complaints from a number of the Korean truck drivers. At some point in time, Mr. Patrick Brown ceased to be a part of the picture. The Panel was not provided significant testimony in this regard, but learned that, after discussions, Ms. Simao agreed to participate with ULSC to assist the 24 Korean truck drivers.
47. Additional mutually agreed upon facts were presented by both counsel. They are that on April 10, 2007 after the individual complaints were filed, Mr. Yakimovich, an Investigator, was retained by CSIC.
On July 23rd, 2007, Mr. Yakimovich interviewed Mr. Patrick Brown, the lawyer listed on the brochure at Exhibit 1 Tab C-1 and Member of Parliament for Barrie since 2006.
I wrote to one of the authors of The Star's articles on this case, Nicholas Keung, asking why Patrick Brown's involvement was not mentioned in any of The Star's articles. Here is Keung's reply:
Thanks for the email. We actually looked into Mr. Brown’s connection to the scheme during the initial investigation, but there was no paper trail and he really didn’t deliver much for the Korean recruiter. The bulk of the work in Canada was done by Ms. Simao. That’s why we ended it there.
As a result, we haven’t mentioned that in any of our stories because that wasn’t the focus of the investigation.
Here was my reponse to Keung's reply:
Thank you for your quick reply. In the course of your investigation, did you happen to see ULSC's "promotional literature" that referred to Patrick Brown that is mentioned in the CSIC tribunal decision for Ms Simao? If Mr. Brown "didn't deliver much" for the Korean recruiter or their clients, why didn't the article mention that? I thought the point of the articles was to show that people acting as immigration consultants weren't delivering on their promises? If Ms. Simao was picking up a ball that was dropped by Mr. Brown, I think it's only fair to Ms. Simao to at least mention Mr. Brown's involvement.
I did not receive a reply to my second email. Interestingly, it seems that Ms. Simao herself read one of my comments about Mr. Brown's involvement in the immigration scheme in an article on the Maclean's web site:
Before Mr. Brown can 'crack down' on corrupt consultants, perhaps he should come clean about his own, apparently brief career in immigration consulting.