The mayor of a central Alberta town says he was blindsided by Ottawa’s decision to relocate a federal immigration and refugee processing centre.
Workers at the Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Case Processing Centre in Vegreville were told Thursday the office would relocate to Edmonton when the current lease expires in 2018. Mayor Myron Hayduk says the office has been the community’s major employer since 1994. He says federal officials didn’t inform him about the plan which he learned about through an anonymous call from workers.
An official with with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada says the decision was a difficult one to make. But Sonia Lesage says the move will put the Centre closer to universities, public transit and housing operations, and make it easier to recruit and retain qualified staff.
Hayduk says the loss of 280 jobs will devastate the town and surrounding area. He and area MP Shannon Stubbs are calling on federal officials to reverse the decision.