Minister for Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Bill Blair met with Toronto Mayor John Tory August 3 to talk about housing help for asylum seekers.
Due to the pressures Toronto is facing with the ongoing arrival of asylum seekers in its shelter system, the Government of Canada has booked hotel and motel rooms within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to assist in accommodating the individuals who are currently staying in two college dormitories. The dorms were opened as part of the City’s emergency response earlier this year. As of August 2, there were approximately 376 individuals in the dorms.
The federal government continues to monitor the situation with the City of Toronto and other municipalities over the coming months. They will re-evaluate on September 1, 2018.
The federal government has located, booked and paid for these alternate accommodations, but the City of Toronto continues to be responsible for the transportation and logistics of the individuals.
The Government of Canada also continues to work closely with city officials in Ontario to plan for a triage system, which will be up and running in the coming weeks. “It is essential that all levels of government work together as Canada fulfills its international obligations to those seeking asylum,” Blair said. This is in order to manage flows and ensure that asylum seekers are able to be housed in municipalities that have the capacity to do so.
The federal Government has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) allowing it to directly provide the City of Toronto with $11 million to help offset the costs associated with the recent influx of asylum seekers. These initial funds have been allocated to help alleviate immediate pressures. “Toronto has stepped up to help anyway we can, but there is a limit to what we can do on our own,” Tory said. According to the City of Toronto, there were 675 people living in college dorms, and 1750 people living in hotels. 15-20 people new claimants enter the city each day.