Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ontario Formally Requests $200 Million from Feds to Deal with Asylum Seekers

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ontario Formally Requests $200 Million from Feds to Deal with Asylum Seekers

Article excerpt

Ontario sends feds formal request for $200M

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OTTAWA - The Ontario government has formally requested $200 million from the federal government to cover costs associated with asylum seekers from the United States.

Lisa MacLeod, Ontario's minister for children, community and social services, sent a letter Thursday demanding financial compensation and expressing concern over the federal government's efforts in managing the issue of "illegal border crossing."

In the letter, MacLeod, who is also responsible for immigration, said that for over a year Ontario has been straining to support border crossers and that the Liberal government's approach is "now testing the patience and generosity of Ontarians."

The letter to Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos says federal support has been "inadequate" to meet the current and future needs posed by this "crisis."

MacLeod asked Duclos to consider the letter a formal request for "direct and full compensation" for the costs associated with the support Ontario and its municipalities are providing.

Speaking to reporters at the Ontario legislature, MacLeod said the costs are growing and it's time the federal government made Ontario whole financially.

She had warned Ottawa earlier this week, while appearing before a House of Commons immigration committee, that the request would come.

MacLeod says the $200-million figure breaks down as follows: $74 million for shelter costs for the City of Toronto, $12 million for shelter costs for the City of Ottawa, $90 million for social assistance costs her ministry is footing, $20 million for education and $3 million for the Red Cross, which has also helped with temporary housing.

So far the federal government has offered $50 million to provinces, including $36 million for Quebec, $3 million for Manitoba and $11 million for Ontario.

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen and Bill Blair, the minister responsible for border security, were copied on the letter from MacLeod. …

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