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Federal funding of $362M to help provinces house asylum seekers

Immigration Minister Marc Miller recently announced that an additional sum of $362.4 million has been pledged by the federal government to aid provinces, territories, and municipalities in effectively managing and accommodating the escalating influx of asylum seekers. Since 2017, the Government of Canada has disbursed nearly $750 million to alleviate housing pressures related to asylum seekers for provinces and municipalities.

The new funding will be drawn from the Interim Housing Assistance Program, which is designed to support provincial and municipal governments in covering the operational expenses of shelter facilities for refugees, including those managed by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), such as hotels.

In response to a request for federal help and financial assistance from the province of Quebec in addressing the issue of migrants entering the province, Immigration Minister Marc Miller specified that $100 million of the $362.4 million will be allocated to Quebec. Furthermore, Toronto’s mayor anticipates that the expenses associated with providing shelter for 4,000 refugees in the city will amount to $240 million for the current year, and Toronto will receive a substantial allocation from this funding as well.

As of January 2024, the federal government reported that approximately 7,300 asylum claimants in need of housing were being accommodated in 4,000 hotel rooms across six provinces. It’s important to note that this new funding is in addition to the $212 million previously allocated through the Interim Housing Assistance Program in the preceding summer.

Regarding the Interim Housing Assistance Program, Immigration Minister Marc Miller emphasized, “This program plays a crucial role in providing shelter to individuals, especially given the current weather conditions. However, it requires reform, and this is a matter that will be addressed in the upcoming months. We owe it to Canadians to reform a system that has primarily served as a temporary solution since 2017 to manage significant historical migration flows.” The Immigration Minister acknowledges the necessity of reform to align migration flows with the available resources for provinces and municipalities.

Source: Global News