I heard that there are only a few law firms that are verified by Quebec's government that can provide immigration support.
All lawyers members of the Barreau du Québec and notaries (see note) of the Chambre des notaires du Québec are authorized to represent clients with the Quebec government on immigration matters. This is as far as government verification goes for lawyers and notaries. The membership in the professional associations (Barreau or Chambre) is the minimum requirement for someone to practice law in Quebec.
Of course, lawyers have their fields of specializations (in contracts, personal injury, immigration, criminal defence etc.). But the government does not directly regulate this; in some cases practicing outside one's knowledge may be an ethical violation which can be sanctioned by the law society.
Different rules apply to regulated immigration consultants who are members of the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants. They are not lawyers but are authorized to provide immigration-related advice and represent clients with the Government of Canada (i.e. the federal government) and in some cases before the Immigration and Refugee Board (but not the courts).
Under federal law, only lawyers, Quebec notaries, Ontario paralegals (if their scope of practice includes immigration), and regulated immigration consultants can provide advice or represent clients, for consideration (e.g. a fee), in relation to immigration matters in Canada.
Recognition of immigration consultants in Quebec
Immigration is also a shared power under the Canadian constitution and provinces also have a role within their sphere. This is particularly true to Quebec who selects its own immigrants and does not participate in federal programs.
Quebec imposes additional requirements on regulated immigration consultants. For them to represent clients with the Government of Quebec or provide advice related to Quebec immigration law, they must fulfill certain requirements (knowledge of French, passing a test on Quebec immigration law etc.) and be recognized by the Quebec Minister of Immigration, Francization and Integration (MIFI).
To verify if one is authorized to provide immigration advice on Quebec's immigration programs
- The Barreau du Québec provides a directory service to find lawyers by area of law. You can verify if a claimed Quebec lawyer is a member in good standing in Quebec.
- For notaries, there is a directory service by area of practice (incl. immigration and citizenship] provided by the Chambre des notaires du Québec. A verification service is also available on the same page.
- For regulated consultants, the list is available at the page from MIFI (which also includes a list of persons whose licence is revoked!) and the government data register.
- The College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants also provides a public register of its members. Note that unless a regulated consultant is recognized by MIFI, they are not authorized to provide advice or assistance on Quebec immigration law or represent clients before the Quebec government.
Note: Other than for criminal and public law, Quebec follows the civil law (or continental law) tradition. Notaries are fully trained legal professionals (with the same undergraduate degrees as lawyers with specific postgraduate training as notaries) who can offer legal advice in all domains of law in Quebec. It is in a limited way comparable to solicitors in some jurisdictions since notaries generally do not represent clients before a court in a controversial litigation. It is not comparable to notaries publics in most common law jurisdictions (incl. all other provinces in Canada). Notaries in other provinces are NOT allowed to provide advice on immigration matters.