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Toronto, May 19, (Canadian-Media) Toronto Mayor John Tory said May 18 that Toronto will have to open an emergency reception centre within the next week for refugees arriving in the city, media reports said.
For the second time after a few weeks Toronto urged federal and provincial government on Friday for their assistance to ease the pressure put on the city's shelter system by the increasing number of refugees.
As of Thursday night, the city reportedly has 2,683 refugee claimants in the system accounting for 40 percent of Toronto's shelter spaces.
The city expects the more refugees to arrive in Toronto in the coming months, something that could create more strain on the shelter system.
At the current rate of 10 new refugee claimants per night, refugees reportedly could make up more than half of the shelter population by this fall.
Tory says the city will continue to welcome those people, but warns the city needs more support.
"The people of Toronto are generous, they are understanding and they value our role as Canadians in accommodating people in their time of need," Tory said in a news release.
"But the federal and provincial governments need to honour their values and their commitments to these populations as well."
John Tory. Image credit: Facebook page
The city estimates it's spent some $64 million to provide temporary housing in places like motels.
“Toronto is a city built by immigrants - many who came from around the world as refugees. The people of Toronto are generous, they are understanding and they value our role as Canadians in accommodating people in their time of need,” said Mayor Tory. “But the federal and provincial governments need to honour their values and their commitments to these populations as well.”
Tory's statement says he wants support from the other governments to reimburse the city for that expense, provide staffing support, to help settle the refugees, or the provision of new facilities.
City staff say they believe the rising number of shelter-using refugee claimants is likely tied to the influx of refugees in Quebec, including many who may be travelling to Toronto.
As of late April, more than 5,500 migrants have crossed illegally into Quebec so far this year — a big jump from the 2,000 or so who entered the province by this time in 2017.
Toronto's shelter system continues to operate well beyond the 90 percent capacity target set by councillors.
City statistics show family shelters were 100 percent full, women's shelters were 99 percent full and men's shelters (which have the most spaces) were 95 percent full last night.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)