Government of Canada providing assistance to Toronto for asylum seeker housing

News release

July 16, 2018 – Ottawa, ON – Building on previous commitments to support Toronto and other municipalities facing temporary housing pressures, the federal government announced today that it will actively support Toronto through housing support for asylum seekers currently housed in two college dormitories.

With Toronto facing pressure to find housing for this cohort of individuals, in-depth discussions have resulted in strong collaboration between Toronto and the federal government to ensure this matter will be resolved in advance of the early August deadline, when the temporary dormitory housing facilities need to be vacated. Specific details will be forthcoming as plans advance.

The federal government also continues to work closely on the development of contingency plans with its provincial and municipal partners to reduce the pressures the influx of irregular border crossers has had on temporary housing in major cities such as Toronto.

Toronto has a long history of welcoming refugees and newcomers, and in recent months has accommodated many asylum claimants in an already strained shelter system.

Although the number of irregular border crossers in June dropped for the second month in a row, the lowest in the last year, the federal government continues to actively engage with its partners to develop contingency plans in order to support the municipalities in the provision of temporary housing.

On June 1, the Government of Canada pledged an initial $50 million to assist the provinces and municipalities that have borne the majority of costs associated with the recent influx. Of these funds, $11 million will be provided directly to the City of Toronto in the coming weeks. Direct funding was required after the Province of Ontario chose to withdraw from its jurisdictional responsibility around housing.

As part of the contingency planning activities, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency are increasing their capacity to provide temporary beds for those crossing near Roxham Road in St-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec.

In addition, a contract has been signed with the NAV Centre in Cornwall, Ontario, to provide additional temporary accommodations to asylum seekers should it be required.

These temporary accommodations will allow the government to better manage the flow of asylum seekers, helping reduce the strain placed on municipalities.


“We have a clear plan for managing asylum seeker pressures and continue to act to support our partners. Our largest cities have shown tremendous leadership in their response to the recent influx of asylum seekers. Toronto and Montreal, as major population centres, face the greatest challenges when it comes to housing asylum claimants, and we will continue to work with them to come up with long-term, workable solutions to those challenges.”

– The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Quick facts

  • There were 1,263 irregular border crossers who entered Canada to claim asylum in June 2018 – the lowest number recorded since June 2017.

  • In April 2018, there were on average of 83 asylum claims per day. In May, on average, there were 57 asylum claims per day. In June, there were 39 asylum claims per day.

  • A total of 14,314 work permits were issued to asylum claimants in Quebec between April 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018.

  • From January 1 to June 30, 2018, the RCMP intercepted 10,744 migrants crossing between ports of entry. Of these migrants, 10,261 were in Quebec.

  • In April 2018, in Quebec, there were 2,479 asylum seekers intercepted between ports of entry. In May 2018, there were 1,775 arrivals, and in June 2018, there were 1,179 arrivals.

Associated links


Contacts for media only

Mathieu Genest
Minister’s Office
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Media Relations
Communications Branch
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

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