CBC News is reporting that the Canadian Consulate office in Buffalo will be closing. The Canadian government says the closing is due to budget cuts and changes in immigration rules.
The main function of the Buffalo office was to help foreign students and temporary workers extend their visas to stay in Canada, but that will now be handled online and in immigration offices in Canada. Other consular functions in the Buffalo office will be transferred to New York City.
The immigration services provided at the Canadian consulate in Detroit will also be terminated, but the consul office there will remain open.
The closing would mean the loss of another tenant at the HSBC Tower downtown, even though the consulate recently renewed its lease there and spent $12 million in office renovations in the past 18 months.
A formal announcement is expected from Ottawa sometime next week. About 75 jobs, both American and Canadian, are at stake.
Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz released the following statement Friday:
“Canada is our nation’s most important trading partner, with nearly $500 billion in goods and services crossing our borders each year. With a concerted effort, both locally and nationally, to increase trade and cooperation with one another, now is not the time to close consulates, especially not one in Buffalo, which is less than 100 miles from Canada’s economic hub—Toronto.”
“Since taking office, one of my prime objectives is to finally take advantage of our strategic international border. And in doing so, I have developed a strong relationship with Consul General Marta Moszczenska and her staff at the Consulate. I strongly urge Prime Minister Harper to reconsider any decision that would compromise the great progress we have made in the past few months in strengthening our ties and economic futures.”