Without Lizette Nel, the small town of Merritt, BC will find it hard to recover. One by one recreational programmes are shutting down and now there are no more programmes left for girls specifically to attend. The Love To Dance Academy hosted a variety of programmes which catered for dance lovers ranging in age from 3 months to 80 years. Special Needs programmes, Outreach Programmes, Sport Fitness (PE) programmes to name but a few.
The small town of Merritt, BC have been fighting for 3 months to save their ballet teacher from being deported.
Press Release, End March, 2014: "It is with great sadness that the Merritt Dance Society has to announce the final closure of the Love To Dance Academy. The slow wheels of government have made it impossible to continue to keep the dance school open and our beloved teacher Elizabeth Nel in Canada.
After years of searching for a qualified dance teacher, in 2012 the Merritt Dance Society finally had the best possible candidate in Lizette Nel who has 30 years experience as a Ballet teacher and who is highly respected in the dance world.
During the renewal process of the work permit, the Merritt Dance Society began the process of obtaining a new Labour Market Opinion (LMO), which is required when hiring a temporary foreign worker. During a random spot check by Service Canada an investigation was launched due to the discrepancy in salary. The Merritt Dance Society was ordered to give Lizette back pay to make up for the salary discrepancy as well as pay the employers portion of taxes and associated deductions.
This huge amount of money was raised by the community of Merritt and every penny was paid as ordered and hopes were high that this ordeal would soon be over.
We were told an investigation typically takes about 65 days; we are now at 110 days and counting. The investigator has no concern for Lizette's looming deportation date or the community's loss of the dance school. Insisting on communicating only by snail mail, taking weeks to respond to letters and unanswered phone calls slowed the process even more. The unwillingness of the Immigration Department and Service Canada to synchronize and work together has created an unwinnable situation."
Lizette was ordered to leave Canada by April 10, 2014. The community of Merritt is desperate to turn this situation around. Please help our community!