Federal government transfers consenting asylum seekers from Roxham Road to Ontario

Radio-Canada has learned that fewer asylum seekers crossing at a popular, unofficial border point south of Montreal will stay in Quebec.

This is because Ottawa has accepted a repeated request from the provincial government to transfer some people directly to Ontario, if they wish to go there.

With a record number of claimants currently crossing the makeshift border point, called Roxham Road, the federal government said it was working to ease some of the pressure on Quebec to provide temporary resources and housing to people.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has stated that “a number of [asylym seekers] do not intend to stay in Quebec. The first transfers to Ontario began on June 30.

The agency did not say how many people will be sent to Ontario daily, but “a small number” will go to Niagara Falls, it said.

“IRCC is working with the City of Ottawa and the Municipality of Niagara Falls to help asylum seekers find alternative housing and access the community supports available to them,” said Julie Lafortune, spokesperson for IRCC. .

While the cost of social services, including housing, remains the responsibility of the province and the municipalities, the federal government promises to help pay the bill substantially.

More than $500 million has been disbursed to Quebec to help ease housing pressures for asylum seekers from 2017 to 2020, as well as the rising costs of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the IRCC.

More reception capacity near the crossing site

Last month, Quebec Premier Francois Legault called on the federal government to close Roxham Road, saying the province lacked the capacity to care for migrants while they wait for their asylum claims to be processed. .

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had said closing the unofficial border would not slow the arrival of asylum seekers.

Between January and May this year, more than 13,000 migrants crossed the unofficial border – more than ever at this time of year.

The Canada Border Services Agency said it is now increasing its capacity near the Roxham Road crossing site.

New trailers will be installed on a service road in the coming weeks, making it possible to accommodate nearly 500 migrants, against around 300 currently.

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