It’s being described as a loss for the Canadian fashion industry.

In an unexpected announcement, model agency powerhouse , Ford Models, is pulling out of Canada, closing its offices here in Toronto at the end of January  AND releasing its models to find work with other agencies.

Other agencies such as  Elmer Olsen Models Management.

Olson says the loss is regrettable because Ford was an asset to the Canadian fashion industry.

Ann Sutherland, president at Sutherland Models, says she was surprised to hear the news but moved quickly to sign five new clients today as the word spread.

She says the agency’s phones are ringing off the hook.

Cathy LeDrew is director of the Ford’s Toronto operation and says only that the decision to close its only Canadian talent office came from head office in Manhattan.

Ford has had an office  here since 1995.