This is the wrong way to handle a dispute with immigration. The company needs a good immigration lawyer to assist them.
Company threatens to leave Canada over immigration headache Toronto & GTA News Toronto Sun
Company threatens to leave Canada over immigration headache
By TOM GODFREY, Toronto Sun
Last Updated: March 13, 2011 4:57pm
One of the country’s oldest companies, a 133-year-old firm that makes high-security products, is considering moving south of the border because of a dispute with Immigration Canada.
Lockwood Industries, of Burlington — a producer and supplier of fire-grade goods such as fastening devices and locks — has been fighting with Ottawa for more than six months to bring two skilled workers to Canada for two weeks to install newly purchased state-of-the-art equipment.
Company president Edward Milic said his firm, which was formed in 1878, has spent years and millions of dollars to design, order and transport the custom-made equipment from China.
“We are not asking for money or favours,” he said. “We are asking the government to allow in our experts so they can train our staff.“
The equipment is designed to shape metal for some of the 4,000 products manufactured by Lockwood, Milic said.
The firm can’t accept new manufacturing contracts and has had to lay off five workers, leaving the company with 30 employees, he said.
“We are laying off people when we have enough work to hire more,” Milic complained. “We are trying desperately to get someone’s attention so we can get some help.”
If the Chinese technicians are not allowed into the country soon, the iconic Canadian firm will move to the U.S. or Mexico, he said.
“We have had offers from different U.S. states and we have to do something soon,” he said from his 14,000-square-metre plant, on Corporate Dr.
The machinery includes electrical panels and a 31-metre assembly line.
Much of the firm’s output is sold to the U.S. military or to meet required changes to buildings due to anti-terror laws, Milic said.
He has phoned his local MP and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney for help without luck.
The technicians were twice refused visas after officials at the Canadian embassy in Beijing contacted their employer, he said.
The visa officials suspect the men may not return home, Milic said, adding he has offered to post a bond to ensure their return.
Federal immigration spokesman Douglas Kellam said it is common practice for workers to be admitted to Canada for installing equipment.
“Persons entering Canada from countries that are not visa exempt must obtain a visitor’s visa and must be deemed admissible by the visa officer,” Kellam said by e-mail.
“Our mission (embassy) in Beijing is being diligent in assessing the applications for these two workers and the visa officer has concerns over the admissibility of the two.”
Kellam said he privacy laws prevented him from discussing specifics of the applications.