The province of Quebec has sent a $146 million bill to Ottawa to compensate for the amount the province has spent so far to accommodate thousands of migrants who crossed illegally into Canada along the Quebec-U.S. border.
The Quebec immigration minister and the minister responsible for Canadian Relations have sent the bill to federal Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussein saying it’s the federal government’s responsibility to deal with asylum seekers and border issues.
They note that between 2012 and 2016, Ottawa dealt with 3,500 asylum requests, but in 2017 alone that number increased to 24,980, a 700% increase.
The provincial ministers furthermore clarified that over half of the new costs were placed on Quebec as most individuals made their claims in that province.
What does the $146 million cover?
It includes temporary housing, feeding, and the multitude of other costs while asylum seekers wait for the claims to be heard by the federal government, which can take five or more years given the size of the current backlog.
What is the government doing?
The federal government has said it will invest $173 million in security and processing operations at these known illegal crossing points, and although Quebec has said it welcomes the investment, it also says it is nowhere enough to actually cover the costs of security and living costs.
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