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Under Operation ELEMENT, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) supported the whole-of-government response to an influx of asylum seekers crossing into Canada from the United States.
Starting at the end of July 2017, there was a significant increase in asylum seekers at the Canadian border. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) were using substantial resources to manage this increase. As a result, Public Safety Canada worked with a number of government departments to support the CBSA and the RCMP.
The CAF was tasked with providing temporary accommodations and making them available to federal and civilian partners for use. The CAF set up two interim lodging sites, one at St-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec, and one at the NAVCAN facility in Cornwall, Ontario. The sites consisted of modular tent shelters with lighting and heating.
Over the course of this mission, the CAF deployed about 370 troops to St-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec, and Cornwall, Ontario. They worked closely with federal partners to provide close to 2000 bed spaces for asylum seekers at the two sites.
On December 1, 2017, the government confirmed that the CAF’s support was no longer required. As of December 12, 2017, the CAF was no longer providing temporary accommodations for asylum seekers.
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