Helping the City of Ottawa ease shelter pressures

News release

April 5, 2019 – Ottawa, ON – The Government of Canada is continuing to work collaboratively with provincial, territorial and municipal partners to help alleviate the pressures they are facing with respect to providing temporary housing to asylum seekers.

The Government of Canada will provide the City of Ottawa with $7 million to address costs to date with the acute temporary housing shortages affecting many people, including asylum claimants.

Access to shelters is an important support for vulnerable families, seniors, women and children, and asylum claimants. Temporary housing has been a key challenge in many municipalities, including Ottawa. The demand for shelter space this past year has increased due to the impacts of global migration and the number of asylum claimants seeking Canada’s protection.

The funding provided to Ottawa demonstrates our commitment to taking practical action to provide assistance as we continue to pursue a cost-sharing agreement with the Government of Ontario regarding this area of shared jurisdiction.


“This funding for Ottawa and the recent funding provided to Toronto assist our key partners in securing temporary housing for those in need, including asylum claimants. I continue to engage with Minister MacLeod on this issue of shared jurisdiction to reach agreements that would address the temporary housing needs in our communities. I continue to believe the Government of Ontario has a role to play in distributing funds to help with housing pressures.”

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

“Over the last year, Ottawa has seen a significant and sustained increase in the number of asylum claimants seeking temporary housing in Ottawa. This increase has put a strain on our emergency shelter system and has resulted in an increase in the use of hotels/motels to fill the temporary housing capacity gap. Ottawa currently has over 656 placement requests – 466 families, 21 couples and 169 singles. This funding will help address the cost pressures on our family and emergency shelter system. This funding will also help the City increase the development of additional affordable housing to reduce our reliance on hotels/motels as temporary shelters. We are grateful to the Government of Canada for its commitment to addressing the impacts of global migration on the City of Ottawa.”

– Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

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Contacts for media only

Marie-Emmanuelle Cadieux
Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction

Media Relations
Communications Branch
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

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