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The Government Of Canada Is Giving Quebec $250 Million To Help Support Asylum Seekers

The funding will guarantee that the most vulnerable people have access to housing and services.
Staff Writer
Quebec welcome sign U.S. border
  • The government of Canada has announced that it is giving the government of Quebec $250 million to help support asylum seekers in the province.
  • Between 2017 and 2018, Quebec processed some 90% of asylum claims in the country at legal ports of entry along the Canada-U.S. border
  • These new funds will ensure that asylum-seekers have access to decent services and housing.

Due to recent influxes in migrants in Quebec and considering the number of irregular entrants into the province, the Government of Canada announced an investment of $250 million to help Quebec support asylum seekers. The investment is coming from a cost-sharing program that provides support to those who want Canada's protection. 

According to a press release, "the funding provided to the Government of Quebec will help address the extraordinary costs incurred by the province associated with the influx of asylum seekers in 2017 and 2018." 

As of August 25, 2019, Quebec is housing over 1000 asylum seekers in the Greater Montreal Area. The new funding aims to provide the most vulnerable of those asylum seekers with access to housing and basic services after being screened at the border. 

Between 2017 and 2018, Quebec processed some 90% of asylum claims in the country at legal ports of entry along the Canada-U.S. border. Our province is in a unique position in Canada due to its proximity to the U.S. and ease of access compared to other areas of the country. Of the 27,970 asylum seekers in 2018 in Quebec, 18,518 of them entered the country irregularly.

The Province of Quebec incurred extraordinary operational costs due to the influx of asylum seekers in 2017 and 2018. This funding will certainly help ease the burden felt by the provincial government. 

"The Government of Canada is focused first and foremost on ensuring that we have a well-managed immigration and asylum system and that migration flows are managed in a safe, orderly manner," says Bill Blair, Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction. 

"The Government of Quebec has been and continues to be an extraordinary partner and we look forward to continuing to work closely together."

READ ALSO: Montreal Police Say They Never Warned Montreal Pride About Threats To Hong Kong Activists

According to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act of Canada, "every person seeking to enter Canada must appear for an examination at a port of entry to determine whether that person has a right to enter Canada, or may become authorized to enter and remain in Canada." 

But "although individuals who cross between ports of entry are irregularly entering Canada," the government writes on another page, "we are bound to assess all claims for protection made within Canada and to provide asylum seekers with due process. This makes the asylum system fundamentally different from other areas of immigration."

Even though Quebec promised to reduce the number of immigrants in the next few years, the government "is committed to welcoming asylum seekers in a dignified and safe manner." 

All asylum seekers in Quebec have the right to the following basic services: 

  • temporary housing upon arrival in Québec,

  • assistance in finding permanent housing on the private market,

  • information sessions about life in Québec,

  • last-resort financial assistance,

  • preschool, elementary and secondary education,

  • non-subsidized childcare and community drop-in daycare activities,

  • universal employment services,

  • French classes (excluding allowances),

  • and psychological and health services. 

$250 million will go a long way in helping the province better process asylum seekers and provide better services. 

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