Mr. Speaker, in May, the visa office at the Consulate General of Canada in Buffalo ceased operations. Some 12,000 applications for permanent residence were transferred to Ottawa. Several of those applications are from people living in Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.
When they submitted their applications for permanent residence as skilled workers in Quebec, processing time at the Buffalo office was approximately 15 months. On the rare occasions when applicants can speak to a Citizenship and Immigration agent, they are told that they will have to wait another 12 months because their case has not yet been assigned to an officer in Ottawa. Those who never manage to speak to someone on the phone are left entirely in the dark.
For many people, the extra wait time means that they have to leave Canada, where they are working, contributing to the economy, paying taxes and putting down roots in their communities.
The government is not fooling anybody when it says that cuts will not affect services to the public. It is not the same level of service when people are waiting 80% longer.