Closure of immigration office creates gaps
People encouraged to go online or travel to Toronto for help
Community groups say the closing of the federal government's Citizenship and Immigration Centre in Sudbury is making it more difficult for immigrants to access services and information.
They now have to either travel out of town or contact the government by phone or over the Internet.
"It's going to make a huge impact on time and also on my finances," said Jason Huang, who immigrated to Canada from India three years ago.
"If the office was here in the city it would have been … easier to access. I think the nearest [Citizenship and Immigration office is] … in Toronto."
The Sudbury office closed in April.
Sudbury MP Glenn Thibeault hosted a roundtable discussion on immigration Wednesday to find out how community groups that deal with immigrants are affected by the office's closure.
"There are some services that the CIC office was the only one … to provide," said Sylvie Montpellier, who attended the meeting on behalf of the employment and newcomer services at the YMCA.
"We received notice that the office was closing and that created many gaps."
Thibeault said that, since the closure, the number of immigration cases his office is dealing with has increased by a tenfold.
At the time of closure, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration told the CBC that it is increasing the number of online services to make the system more efficient and easier to access.
The offices in Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay have also closed.