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Canadian Consulate here to close Aug. 27 75 will lose jobs as operation ends

The Canadian Consulate in Buffalo will close Aug. 27, employees learned Tuesday.

The immigration section, which employs about 45 people, will close in 30 days, and the remaining 30 employees who work in trade, public affairs, administration and other sections of the consulate will lose their jobs in the last week of August, an employee who attended Tuesday's meeting told The Buffalo News.

Consul General Marta Moszczenska made the official announcement four days after news of the proposed closing was reported in The News and other media outlets, the employee said. A spokesman for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada did not respond to a request to comment.

"Obviously, there was anger and frustration. There's still a sense of disbelief," said the employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Employees asked why the consulate is closing if Ottawa isn't concerned with employee performance.

Officials said the consulate is closing because of Canadian budget cuts and a shift in immigration policy that now lets foreign nationals living in Southern Ontario make changes to their visas online instead of at the consulate in Buffalo.

"They said all of the missions in the United States would be affected, but this is the biggest move," the employee said.

While a number of politicians and business representatives on this side of the border have vowed to fight the looming closing, the employee said there is no chance Ottawa will reverse the decision.

"This is final," the employee said. "[The American response] doesn't matter. It's a done deal."