The Canadian government announced in late May, 2012, that it would be closing its busy Buffalo consular office and reassigning all 75 staff members to the New York City consulate. Foreign Affairs announced that they were changing visa renewal application procedures that have required international students and temporary workers to leave the country to renew their papers.

Buffalo Skyline By Stephen Zimmermann.THWoodman at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Buffalo Skyline [Public Domain]

  • Canadian Government announces that it will close Buffalo consulate as it tries to find “efficiencies”
  • This despite the fact that the Canada had recently signed a 10 year lease and paid for a $1.5 million renovation.
  • Businesses on both sides of the border call for a reversal of the decision.

The former home of the Canadian Government in Buffalo

This is a boon to the thousands of visa-holders in Southern Ontario who have had to take the trouble (and expense) of a visit to the office in Buffalo, but business leaders in the border region are crying foul, calling on Foreign Affairs to reverse the decision and keep government ears within shouting distance of relevant commercial interests, who account 30% of all Can-Am cross-border trade.

The Peace Bridge, from Buffalo, NY By Doug Kerr from Albany, NY, United States (101908 702) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

30% of trade between Canada and the US passes through the Niagara peninsula by Dour Kerr / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

Perhaps the most surprising element of the announcement is its timing, just one year after $1.5 million worth of office renovations were completed, and just months after Canada signed a new 10-year lease in one of Buffalo’s most prominent (and pricey) downtown business towers. Between the lease-breaking, renovation, and staff relocation levies, the closing of the consulate will put Canadian taxpayers back over $8 million.


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