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What’s New with the Immigration Legal Assistant Certificate Program

By: Ashley Fazekas

Published On: June 22, 2022

One of the few programs in Canada like it, Ashton College’s Immigration Legal Assistant Certificate Program develops your knowledge and understanding of the Canadian Immigration system, policies, and procedures. Recently updated to keep up with this growing industry, here is a recap of how we have improved the program.

Immigration numbers in Canada

Immigration to Canada is on the rise as a growing business with many new career opportunities. In 2021, Canada welcomed the most immigrants in a single year, reaching its goal of 401,000 new permanent residents. To help these individuals, Canada launched new programs to engage essential workers, health care professionals, international graduates and French-speaking newcomers. Immigration Practitioners, along with their team of immigration legal assistants, worked extremely hard this year to reach this goal by processing more than half a million applications.

Canada aims to welcome 431, 645 new permanent residents in 2022.

Immigration Level Plans are even higher for the next two years with targets of over 447, 055 new permanent residents in 2023, and 451,000 in 2024. The number of applications exceeded their target in 2021, which suggests that the number of opportunities for immigration legal assistants will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.

These careers could include:

  • Legal Assistant in an immigration consulting office or law firm
  • Legal Administrative Assistant
  • Office Administrative Assistant
  • Immigration Processing Assistant
  • Clerical Assistant
  • Immigration Application Assistant

This program would be useful for individuals who are foreign-trained lawyers or who have legal experience outside of Canada, and are looking to gain some Canadian knowledge and experience. Additionally, if you are a legal assistant already and looking for a specialization, this certificate is an excellent option. The skills involved with this certification would support anyone working towards a career in the Canadian immigration sector.

Changes to Our Program

Being a specialized career program, we have recently made some improvements to the program to ensure maximum benefit and learning potential. Our accessible program is available online or in-person, and the Immigration Legal Assistant Certificate Program courses have been updated to include more focused topics spread out over 10 classes instead of 6. It extends the program length to 320 hours overall from the previous 240 hours. This allows for more focused course work in each section, and more time to fully understand the material instead of it being jam-packed into fewer classes.

Course additions, name changes, and updated descriptions:

ILAC 01 (Working in a Legal Environment, 30 hours): This course has been improved to further outline the Canadian Justice System, time management and file management, and the role of the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants. Students will differentiate between the various documents needed to support clients through legal proceedings. The course learning objectives have been updated with more details about the technicalities of the legal system and understanding the organization required surrounding the various documents.

ILAC 02 (Legal Accounting, 30 hours): The course has improved to include more detailed accounting terminology, as well as a practical application of understanding the material through the production of accounting documents. A more hands-on approach is applied to the course content, and students will acquire an understanding of legal terminologies more conversationally. Basic accounting principles are used in this course.

ILAC 03 (Legal Research and Informatics, 30 hours): Updates include further application of students' understanding of legal research and a more detailed practice in identifying numerous laws and regulations.

ILAC 04 (Communications for Legal Professionals, 30 hours): Students understand their role in a legal setting, and have the practice of hands-on drafting and editing legal correspondence. The previous version of ILAC 04 included more details about immigration policies and temporary residents, which has now been extended into a new course.

ILAC 05 (Immigration Fundamentals and Admissibility, 30 hours): Introduction to the fundamentals of immigration, refugee and citizenship law, as well as admissibility. Students will look at how this relates to Canadian laws.

ILAC 06 (Temporary Immigration Programs, 30 hours): Students will look into temporary immigration programs, paperwork and visa applications, and work permits. Explores LMIAs through Service Canada centers and Employer Compliance requirements.

ILAC 07 (Permanent Residence Program, 40 hours): Looks into the permanent status application process by classes of entry and decision-makers. Students will be able to complete the necessary forms and applications.

ILAC 08 (Refugees and the Immigration and Refugee Board, 40 hours): Explains the international conventions and government assistance programs process protecting refugees. Practical exploration of forms and supporting documents related to protected persons and refugees will be used.

ILAC 09 (Enforcement and Appeals, 30 hours): Provides an overview of the Immigration Division: Immigration Hearings and Detentions and Immigration and Refugee Appeals. Understand and explain the roles of the division, and examine reports, hearings, removal orders, etc.

ILAC 10 (Citizenship and Legal Professionals – Ethics and Regulatory Processes, 30 hours): Learning the process of citizenship acquisition in Canada. Gives an overview of legal parameters of practice for Immigration Legal Assistants with Authorized Representatives, and reviews examples of relevant codes of conduct.

Please note that this program DOES NOT qualify graduates to practice as Regulated immigration Consultants or Lawyers.

Working with potential Canadian immigrants can provide a fulfilling career with many opportunities for advancement. To learn more about the program or apply, see our website.

We look forward to hearing from you!



The information contained in this post is considered true and accurate as of the publication date. However, the accuracy of this information may be impacted by changes in circumstances that occur after the time of publication. Ashton College assumes no liability for any error or omissions in the information contained in this post or any other post in our blog.


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