Lululemon says committed to Canada after comment on HQ location
By Catherine Ngai
VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Lululemon Athletica Inc (LULU.O: Quote) is deeply committed to staying in Canada, the yoga wear retailer said on Friday, after comments it made in a government submission raised fears it was looking to move its headquarters from Vancouver.
In the July submission to a Canadian Parliamentary committee, Lululemon said its growth and ability to remain headquartered in Vancouver would require greater flexibility to hire skilled workers under the country's foreign worker program.
The remarks were posted online and this week caught the attention of policymakers, union leaders and the media. Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson told broadcaster CBC that he was "very concerned" that companies could consider leaving because of immigration policies.
Lululemon on Friday clarified no change was imminent.
"As a company firmly rooted in Vancouver for eighteen years, we are proud of our Canadian heritage and deeply committed to remaining here for the long term," Lululemon's chief executive Laurent Potdevin said in an e-mailed statement.
The company said in the submission it wanted the federal government to grant them an exemption that is already commonplace in the film industry and universities.
That exemption would allow Lululemon to hire workers without filing a labor market impact assessment transition plan. These plans requires Canadian employers hiring temporary foreign workers to outline how they intend to transition to a Canadian workforce.
"In order to keep growing, our industry needs to continue to attract and retain top international talent, from specialized design roles to specialized technical product development and testing roles," Lululemon said in the government submission. Continued...