François Legault is calling on the federal government to reimburse Quebec for the cost of supporting illegal migrants coming from the US.
In a joint statement, the Quebec premier along with Ontario premier Doug Ford said they are committed to working together on this issue following discussions at the First Ministers’ Meeting in Montreal this week.
They said they want to ensure that the federal government fully compensates the provinces for the costs resulting from “this political decision.”
“The offer currently on the table from the federal government is not acceptable to us, because it does not take into account the significant costs incurred by Quebec and Ontario in receiving migrants in the current context,” said Premier Legault. “The federal government must assume its responsibility and ensure that our two governments are fully reimbursed.”
According to a report from the federal Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO), each migrant costs the federal government more than $14,300 (or $340 million total in 2017-18).
The PBO projects that costs will increase to over $16,600 per migrant, $396 million total, in 2019-20.
The report does not include the hundreds of millions of dollars already spent by Ontario and Quebec to cover the cost of providing shelter, legal aid, social assistance and educational supports.
Legault and Ford have also called on the federal government to demonstrate that they have a credible plan going forward for managing the border.
“The impact on our social services and educational systems are being felt by the most vulnerable in cities and communities across Ontario and Quebec,” said Ford. “The federal government made a deliberate decision to encourage illegal border crossers to enter Canada, while leaving the provinces to pick up the bill. It is time that the federal government took full responsibility for its own failed policies and paid its fair share.”