Ottawa announced millions in funding for support asylum seekers

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asylum seekers

On July 18, 2023, the Federal Government announced increased support for asylum seekers in Canada due to the rising number of people claiming asylum. The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Sean Fraser, announced a one-time injection of approximately $212 million in funding into the Interim Housing Assistance Program (IHAP) until March 31, 2024. 

This includes roughly $97 million in new allotment for the City of Toronto. The IHAP provides funding on a cost-sharing basis to provinces and municipalities for interim housing for asylum claimants. 

Additionally, IRCC has been working with the most impacted provinces and territories to increase the amount of temporary housing, including over 3,800 hotel rooms in six provinces to provide temporary housing to asylum claimants. This was in addition to the $700 million that had already been provided through the program, including over $215 million for the City of Toronto, it was added.

In a statement The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Sean Fraser said: 

“The most vulnerable people in the world who seek our protection will continue to get support from Canada. Today, we devoted extra funds to make sure that communities like Toronto have the ability to provide asylum seekers escaping conflict, persecution, and violence with a roof over their heads as well.”

 

What is Interim Housing Assistance Program (IHAP)?

The Interim Housing Assistance Program (IHAP) collaborates on a cost-sharing basis with local governments and provinces to give asylum seekers temporary shelter. IHAP intends to keep the Government’s promise because its primary goal will be to give financial assistance to the provinces and, if necessary, municipal governments in the event that a cost-sharing agreement is not reached with the provinces, in order to deal with the extraordinary interim housing pressures brought on by an increase in the number of asylum seekers entering Canada.

 

What is the difference between Asylum Seekers and Refugees?

A person who left their country and is looking for protection from persecution and serious violations of human rights in another country, but who has not yet received official recognition as a refugee and is awaiting a judgment on their asylum claim, is said to be an asylum seeker. Asylum-seeking is a human right.

If a claimant has committed a serious crime, made a previous claim in Canada, submitted a claim in another country with which Canada shares immigration information, or received protection in another nation, their application may be refused.

Once granted, asylum seekers are permitted to remain while the federal government determines whether they meet the requirements for refugee status. 

They might have access to social services, education, health care, temporary housing, and legal aid in the interim. 

Who is a refugee?

A hearing before the Immigration and Refugee Board must determine that the applicant cannot return home because they fulfill one of two requirements: 

  • a “well-founded fear of persecution” because of their race, beliefs, or other factor.
  • having been “ongoingly denied” essential human rights or having been “seriously affected” by war.

Refugees are permitted to remain in Canada, where they can apply to become permanent residents and eventually citizens.

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