Laval immigration office to close next week

By Robert Frank

Immigration Quebec’s office in Laval is slated to shut down, Dec. 5.

The move will affect the 18 employees who work in the Laval, Lanaudière and Laurentians regional office, which is located there.

Of the 15 permanent staff, 14 will be transferred to Immigration Quebec’s Montreal office and the remaining one will be assigned to work in Employment Quebec’s Laval office. The three remaining employees—two students and a contract worker—will lose their jobs.

Despite the office closure, spokeswoman Karine Baribeau reassured The Suburban that the office transfer to Montreal will have no effect on services to Laval’s burgeoning immigrant population. The last federal census showed that the city’s non-francophone population jumped by a third in five years. It rose from nearly 30 per cent of the population to nearly 40 per cent between 2006 and 2011.

As previously reported in The Suburban, Laval’s non-francophones also experience significantly higher rates of unemployment and poverty, concentrated in neighbourhoods like Chomedey, where they have congregated in greater numbers.

“For the past 10 years, we’ve coordinated with partner organizations to deliver services to immigrants,” she said in an interview, “so there will be no change from their perspective.”

“The job of the Laval office was to maintain the liaison between the government and our partners,” Baribeau added. “By moving the regional office from Laval to Montreal, we will save [taxpayers] $166,000 during the coming fiscal year. Together with the closure of other regional immigration offices elsewhere in Quebec, those savings will amount to some $4.6 million a year.”

Employment Quebec has, during the past year, encouraged employers to consider hiring more non-francophones, as demographics dwindle inexorably the number of old-stock Quebecers of working age during the coming decade.
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