Canada commits $362 million to assist cities and provinces in lodging asylum seekers.

lodging asylum seekers in provinces

In order to support cities and provinces in providing temporary housing for asylum seekers, the federal government is committing an additional $362 million. The statement was made on Wednesday, January 31, 2024, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Minister Marc Miller.

Addressing Immediate Needs

Longer-term adjustments are required, he says, but Ottawa recognizes the urgent need to give support that takes into account the impact of refugee petitions across the nation.

Approximately 7,300 housing-insecure asylum seekers were residing in 4,000 hotel rooms across six provinces as of last week.

A “significant amount” of the additional funds, according to Miller, will go to the city of Toronto.

He contends that although being a temporary solution to the unprecedented volume of asylum petitions, the program is far from ideal.

Given the outside temperature, this initiative is crucial because it provides people with shelter over their heads, according to Miller.

Federal and Local Government Roles

While housing and assistance for asylum seekers fall under the purview of state and local governments, Ottawa has previously provided several top-up payments, such as this one, to lighten the burden.

Since 2017 the system has essentially been a stopgap mechanism to deal with big historic volumes of migration, and I believe we owe it to Canada to modernize it.”

Distribution of Additional Funds

Approximately 7,300 asylum seekers who were in need of lodging as of last week were residing in 4,000 hotel rooms throughout six regions, according to Miller.

He claimed that $100 million of the extra funding would go to Quebec.

Although he wouldn’t say how the remaining funds will be allocated, he did say Toronto will receive a “significant amount.”

Provincial Dissatisfaction with Funding

Paul Calandra, the minister of municipal affairs and housing for Ontario, expressed dissatisfaction, saying that even if the entire amount was given, it would still not be sufficient.

In a joint statement with Immigration Minister David Piccini, he stated that it “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 must acknowledge its role in creating the crisis and provide the resources required to resolve it.”

The demand is typically higher in large cities like Montreal and Toronto, where newcomers often begin their employment search and seek out established ethnic communities.

The current method is “not perfect,” according to Miller, and it is not a long-term fix.

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