After months of requests from the City of Toronto, the federal government has given the municipality an initial $11 million in funding to help offset the costs associated with the influx of refugees and asylum seekers.
According to the City, Mayor John Tory met with Bill Blair, Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction, on Friday to discuss details about the Government of Canada’s response to the ongoing arrival of refugee/asylum claimants in the City of Toronto’s shelter system.
Toronto is facing a deadline of August 9 to relocate refugee and asylum claimants who are temporarily housed in Centennial and Humber College dormitories, as the colleges require the space for the upcoming school year.
The City said that it doesn’t have the resources or the space to relocate the refugees to other locations within the City’s shelter system.
Besides the monetary funding, the Government of Canada has also booked hotel accommodation within the GTA for the refugee/asylum claimants currently housed in the dormitories. Meanwhile, the City will cover the costs of transporting to new facilities.
“Toronto has stepped up to help in any way we can, but there is a limit to what we can do on our own,” said Tory in a release. “We will continue to work with all levels of government, including our municipal partners, to establish a coordinated, regional response to the ongoing pressures of irregular migration.”
At its peak, there were about 675 people in the two college dormitory programs, according to the City. And besides the dormitory program, there are over 1,750 refugee/asylum claimants currently in the City of Toronto hotel program on a nightly basis.
The City also said it continues to see 15 to 20 new refugee/asylum claimants entering the system each day.
From November 2016 to date, Toronto has served a total of 5,315 unique refugee clients in the shelter system, and moved 2,636 refugee/asylum claimants from shelters into permanent housing during that time period, including 31 families from the dormitory program.