Ottawa Gives $362 Million To Provinces As Stopgap Measure For The Immigration Problem It Created

The federal government has allocated an additional $362 million to assist provinces and cities in accommodating asylum seekers, in response to the growing influx of asylum claims across Canada. 

“This program is important because it gets shelters over people’s heads, particularly with the temperature that it is outside,” Immigration Minister Marc Miller made the announcement on Wednesday. The money will be coming from the federal government’s Interim Housing Assistance Program.

Out of the new funding, Quebec will receive $150 million. The province’s Immigration Minister Christine Fréchette called it a “first step.”

“We expect the federal government not only to reimburse us for the entire $470 million, but also to change the way it manages visas to reduce the flow of asylum seekers,” Fréchette said. 

Miller also mentioned that Toronto is expected to receive a “significant portion” of the funding, but did not disclose how much. 

Montreal and Toronto feel the pressure the most as asylum seekers tend to stay and begin looking for jobs in these cities where they can be with their communities. Ontario saw a record level of immigration in 2023. Toronto had, as of mid-January, 5,800 asylum claimants and was on track for 10,000 this year.

Paul Calandra, the province’s Minister of Municipal Affairs, and David Piccini, the Immigration said in a joint statement that the amount “doesn’t cover the needs of Toronto, let alone all the other municipalities facing the same pressures due to the increased numbers of asylum claimants.”

“The federal government needs to take responsibility for the crisis it created and provide the necessary funding to address it.”

During his announcement, Miller himself acknowledged that more change is necessary to address the problem.

“But it needs reform, and that’s something that will have to be worked on … in the coming months,” he said. “I think we owe it to Canadians to reform a system that has very much been a stopgap measure since 2017 to deal with large historic flows of migration.”

As of last week, approximately 7,300 asylum claimants were residing in 4,000 hotel rooms across six provinces due to a lack of housing options. 

Information for this story was found via The Canadian Press, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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