The city of Ottawa will receive roughly $7 million dollars to help with housing asylum seekers.

“This funding for Ottawa and the recent funding provided to Toronto assist our key partners in securing temporary housing for those in need, including asylum claimants,” Border Security Minister Bill Blair said in a news release.

The large round of funding follows a letter sent last year by the city’s mayor, requesting aid after the city had incurred more than $5 million in debt housing potential asylum seekers.

Like Toronto, Ottawa has also come to rely on motels in order to house many of the potential asylum seekers as social housing slots rapidly run dry.

In towns such as Toronto, social housing for singles has hit 99% multiple nights in a row.

Ottawa’s Mayor Jim Watson noted, “over the last year, Ottawa has seen a significant and sustained increase in the number of asylum claimants seeking temporary housing in Ottawa. This increase has put a strain on our emergency shelter system and has resulted in an increase in the use of hotels/motels to fill the temporary housing capacity gap.” 

This sustained increase in asylum seekers, alongside a steep reduction from the United States has now placed Canada as the world destination for refugees from the United Nations Refugee Program, taking in more than the European Union and the United States.

As a response to the rather large increases in refugees and border crossers, Ontario’s government has requested a total of $45 million in aid.

The federal government has not committed to that number as of yet, but has after multiple years moved to re-draft the controversial Canada–United States Safe Third Country Agreement. A loophole within that document has allowed large-scale border crossings into Canada at Roxham Road, drastically increasing the number of asylum claims made in Canada.

What do you think about the recent aid announcement and our current system? Join the conversation by commenting below!