The Government has decided to close the Canadian Consulate in Buffalo, CBC reports. This comes only 18 months after the government spent an impressive amount of money on renovations and signing a ten-year lease in one of the tallest buildings in downtown Buffalo. This closure decision will leave Canadian taxpayers on the hook for $8 million in rent until the end of the leasing agreement in 2020. The closure comes as a result of the federal budget cuts as well as the changes to the Canadian immigration rules.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has already announced – as part of its budget cutting efforts- of its plans to close five trade offices in the States, but Buffalo Mission is the first full-service consulate being closed eliminating such walk-in services as lost passports or visa applications. All the remaining function of the Buffalo Consulate will be taken by the NY city consulate.
For years, foreigners on various types of visa in Canada were forced to go through the so-called “Buffalo Shuffle” – they had to leave Canada to extend their stay. The government officials say that from now on these temporary visa holders will be able to extend their documents online and meet with the immigration officials within Canada. According to the Department of Foreign Affairs the move to the online application and processing system no longer justifies keeping open the Buffalo Consulate Mission.
CBC’s article cites one of the immigration officials stating that by this closure the government is saving the Canadian taxpayer’s money. But the question remains, is $8 million too high a price to pay for the convenience of the new system?
To read the full CBC article please click here