By Candian Immigrants Magazine
By Candian Immigrants Magazine
Although born in Montreal to immigrant parents, Daniel Roukema was raised around the world and feels like an immigrant at heart. So it came natural for the communications professional to focus his career on helping newcomers. And, as the director of communications at the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC), Roukema is being recognized this month with the 2016 Consumer Protection Award by the Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation’s (CLEAR) as a champion for protecting consumers of Canadian immigration services.
The U.S.-based organization recognizes one individual annually, selecting Burlington, Ontario-based Roukema for launching the ICCRC’s confidential whistleblowing tool to inform law enforcement of unauthorized or fraudulent consultants providing immigration services.
You say you feel more like an immigrant than a Canadian-born. Why?
I left Montreal at a very early age and was raised in Ontario, Nigeria, Switzerland and Tanzania. I also lived in Senegal and Rwanda as a young adult, and studied in Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Belgium and the United States.
I have always considered myself a Canadian-born immigrant because being Canadian is not just about documentation, it’s also about Canadianism —the culture, language and a sense of belonging. I was 14 when we first returned to Canada from Africa and even though my passport is Canadian, I did not feel Canadian. I had to acculturate myself by studying the way people spoke, making myself dress as they did, becoming interested in the music people liked and getting active in their sports.
Is that why you are pursuing a career in the immigration arena?
I am very passionate in immigration because I have a sense of understanding of the challenges and opportunities immigrants face. I am both a communications and not-for-profit organizational development professional with a strong understanding and interest in government relations and political affairs. ICCRC is the perfect place to positively influence the experiences of people seeking new and better lives.
ICCRC the national regulatory body for immigration consultants. What should immigrants do to ensure they are hiring a legitimate one?
They should check our website (iccrc-crcic.info). All regulated Canadian immigration consultants are listed there, and their status must be listed as “active.”
What are the tell-tale signs of an unlicensed, fraudulent consultant?
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If an immigration consultant guarantees your acceptance to Canada, accepts undocumented cash, does not require you to sign a contract, that should all be considered suspect. If anyone says they’re an immigration consultant and are not on our website, they are fraudulent and should be reported.
What should immigrants do if they’ve been the victims of fraud?
They should contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca).
How has your personal journey shaped your approach to protecting immigrants?
I’ve seen the horrors of war and narrowly escaped myself. People who come to Canada are seeking a better life, not just for fun, but because they seek opportunities for a brighter future for themselves and their children. Working at ICCRC is not a transaction for me. I’ve seen and heard the cries for help. This is personal.