Toronto Mayor Pleads for Federal Help to Offset Refugee Crisis Costs


Mayor Olivia Chow of Toronto is pressing the federal government for financial support to compensate several city churches for their services to asylum seekers. In a private discussion today with Marc Miller, the federal Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, Chow requested aid in handling the financial strains created by the ongoing refugee crisis.

Just last week, the council decided on a proposition to implore the federal government to repay churches and community establishments that have been financially supporting refugees, a sum that could reach as high as $750,000. Toronto has further requested that Ottawa reimburse the city for $200 million in future 2023 shelter costs. This sum includes the $97 million that was pledged by the federal government in July, reducing the outstanding amount to $103 million.

At an unrelated follow-up event, Chow stated to the press that she must know if the federal government will shoulder the $750,000 by the following Monday. If not, the city of Toronto will be responsible for absorbing the full cost. “Toronto has repeatedly called for support,” Chow lamented, recounting her plea to Minister Miller on the refugee situation. “They are considering it,” she added.

Minister Miller highlighted the conspicuous absence of the Ford government at the meeting, emphasizing that the provincial government also has a significant role to fulfil. “They have billions at their disposal,” Minister Miller asserted. “These funds can definitely be utilized in Toronto and the surrounding regions.”

The minister further expressed his belief in the potential for a “more humane and humanitarian response” to the asylum crisis. He stressed the goals of the meeting as to strategize ways Canada’s largest city can warmly welcome refugees, many of whom risk their lives to come to Toronto.

Toronto’s shelter system has been grappling with overcapacity for several months. Currently, over 10,000 people are being sheltered in the city, with refugees making up 35 per cent of this population.


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