Toronto, May 19 (Canadian-Media): Toronto Mayor John Tory provided an update, this morning, on the current state of the City’s shelter system and had urged provincial and federal governments to take immediate action to relieve the growing pressure on Toronto, media reports said.
334 additional refugee claimants have entered the City’s shelter system since the last update on April 26 and an average of 10 new refugee claimants are expected to be added to the City's shelter system each and every day.
“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.”
It is expected that at the current rate of arrivals of refugees in the City, by November 2018, refugees will reportedly represent more than 50 percent of the City’s shelter system.
The city expects to open, in the next seven days, an emergency reception centre to accommodate the arrival of additional refugee families which reportedly will require the activation of the City’s Office of Emergency Management.
So far, the City has successfully found permanent housing for 1,720 refugee claimants and plans to spend $64 million this year on temporary housing for the immigrant and refugee population in motel rooms.
The City has invested significant money and staff into addressing this issue, and is requesting that the province and federal government introduce and operate a system to relieve this pressure.
“We are consistent supporters of Canada’s approach to immigration and to our moral responsibility to support refugees from around the world in their time of need. The people of Toronto continue to take extraordinary measures to help. We want refugees to be as big a success story for Canada as have been prior generations of refugees,” said Tory. “But the responsibility for that outcome now lies with our provincial and federal partners.”
The Mayor is requesting both provincial and federal government to facilitate immediate placement and operations of new arrivals to regional locations outside of the City of Toronto’s shelter system by provincial and federal staff members.
There would be additional provision of non-municipal facilities, the staff and human resources to operate them by federal and provincial funding.
This would reportedly ease increases in housing and shelter demand at the municipal level and pressures related to irregular migrant and refugee claimants in particular including reimbursement of all costs incurred in 2017 and projected for 2018. This will also include $64.5 million in projected costs for ongoing housing and operations.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)