Premier Doug Ford and Mayor Olivia Chow have jointly released a statement addressing the refugee and asylum crisis caused by the federal government’s inadequate funding. They called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s administration to provide more financial support not only to Toronto but to other parts of the province as well.
The statement was made in response to the federal government’s announcement of a one-time injection of $212 million for the Interim Housing Assistance Program, with nearly $100 million allocated to Toronto for refugee housing. However, Ford and Chow referred to this funding as a “stop-gap” measure, indicating that more comprehensive and sustainable solutions are required.
The urgency of the situation was underscored by recent media coverage of African asylum seekers sleeping outside a Toronto homeless shelter due to limited space. Following pressure from the media and public outcry, the individuals were relocated to a church in North York. This development drew attention to the pressing need for proper accommodation and support for refugees and asylum seekers.
The joint statement from Ford and Chow emphasized the need for the federal government to fully fund the necessary shelter and care for refugees and asylum seekers in Toronto. They called for the government to go beyond the stop-gap funding and provide long-term solutions to address the immigration crisis affecting not only Toronto but also communities across Ontario.
Chow had previously publicly requested $160 million to address the challenges arising from the Trudeau government’s intake of record numbers of immigrants. She also highlighted that 35% of the available shelter spaces in Toronto are already occupied by refugees. Recognizing that the problem extends beyond Toronto, Ford and Chow called for province-wide solutions from the federal government.
To address the immediate needs, Ontario and Toronto each pledged $6.67 million to support an additional 1,350 individuals and families in the city. Historically, the federal government covers two-thirds of the program’s cost. To provide further assistance and help more people find permanent housing, Ford and Chow urged the federal government to allocate $26.7 million in funding.
The joint statement highlighted the collaboration between the provincial and municipal governments and their joint effort to advocate for additional funding to resolve the refugee and asylum crisis. It underlined the importance of all levels of government working together to address the pressing issues faced by refugees and asylum seekers in Ontario.
Overall, Ford and Chow’s joint statement puts pressure on the federal government to provide sufficient funding to address the immediate and long-term needs of refugees and asylum seekers in Toronto and the wider province. Their call for comprehensive, sustainable solutions reflects the urgency of the situation and the need for collective efforts in addressing the ongoing crisis.