Minister Blair meets with Mayor John Tory to discuss housing assistance for asylum seekers

News release

August 3, 2018 — Ottawa, ON — The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that Canada's border is managed in a way that keeps Canadians safe and upholds Canada's global responsibility to protect those fleeing persecution in the world. The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister for Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction, met today with Toronto Mayor John Tory to discuss further details about the assistance the Government of Canada is providing to temporarily house asylum seekers.

The Government recognizes the hard work that the City of Toronto has undertaken in the area of housing, and commends it for its partnership.

Due to the pressures Toronto is facing with the ongoing arrival of asylum seekers in its shelter system, the Government of Canada has booked hotel and motel rooms within the Greater Toronto Area to assist in accommodating the individuals who are currently staying in two college dormitories, opened as part of the City’s emergency response earlier this year. As of August 2, there were approximately 376 individuals in the dorms.

The Government will continue to monitor the situation with the City of Toronto and other municipalities over the coming months, including evaluating the situation again on September 1.

Although the Government of Canada has located, booked and paid for these alternate accommodations, the City of Toronto continues to be responsible for the transportation and logistics of the individuals.

The Government of Canada also continues to work closely with city officials in Ontario to plan for a triage system, which will be up and running in the coming weeks, to manage flows and ensure that asylum seekers are able to be housed in municipalities that have the capacity to do so.

In addition, the Government of Canada has now signed a memorandum of understanding that allowed it to directly provide the City of Toronto with $11 million to help offset the costs associated with the recent influx of asylum seekers. These initial funds have been allocated to help alleviate immediate pressures. The Government continues its discussions with its partners as it works towards longer term solutions, including potential further financial support for temporary housing.


“It is essential that all levels of government work together as Canada fulfills its international obligations to those seeking asylum. I commend the City of Toronto for its exceptional leadership in accommodating asylum seekers. We will continue to work with all our partners to deal with what is before us now, and to accommodate on-going arrivals.”

– The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction

Quick facts

  • Minister Blair was appointed the Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction on July 18, 2018.

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

  • In June 2018, there were 1,179 between-the-port arrivals in Quebec, on average, 39 asylum claims per day; in May 2018 there were 1,775, on average, 57 per day; in April 2018 there were 2,479, on average, 83 per day.

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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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