July 16, 2018 – Ottawa, ON – Building on previous commitments to support Toronto and other municipalities facing temporary housing pressures, the federal government announced today that it will actively support Toronto through housing support for asylum seekers currently housed in two college dormitories.
With Toronto facing pressure to find housing for this cohort of individuals, in-depth discussion have resulted in strong collaboration between Toronto and the federal government to ensure this matter will be resolved in advance of the early August deadline, when the temporary dormitory housing facilities need to be vacated. Specific details will be forthcoming as plans advance.
The federal government also continues to work closely on the development of contingency plans with its provincial and municipal partners to reduce the pressures the influx of irregular border crossers has had on temporary housing in major cities such as Toronto.
Toronto has a long history of welcoming refugees and newcomers, and in recent months has accommodated many asylum claimants in an already strained shelter system.
Although the number of irregular border crossers in June dropped for the second month in a row, the lowest in the last year, the federal government continues to actively engage with its partners to develop contingency plans in order to support the municipalities in the provision of temporary housing.
On June 1, the Government of Canada pledged an initial $50 million to assist the provinces and municipalities that have borne the majority of costs associated with the recent influx. Of these funds, $11 million will be provided directly to the City of Toronto in the coming weeks. Direct funding was required after the Province of Ontario chose to withdraw from its jurisdictional responsibility around housing.
As part of the contingency planning activities, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and Canada Border Services Agency are increasing their capacity to provide temporary beds for those crossing near Roxham Road in St-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec.
In addition, a contract has been signed with the NAV Centre in Cornwall, Ontario, to provide additional temporary accommodations to asylum seekers should it be required.
These temporary accommodations will allow the government to better manage the flow of asylum seekers, helping reduce the strain placed on municipalities.