In a groundbreaking move on January 31, 2024, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced a robust funding of $362.4 million, boosting housing support for asylum claimants across the nation. This initiative, known as the Interim Housing Assistance Program (IHAP), is a pivotal component of the 2023–2024 fiscal year strategy.
Quebec stands to gain significantly from this allocation, securing a substantial share of $100 million. This comes in response to Premier François Legault’s prior plea for federal aid amounting to $470 million, addressing the mounting challenges posed by the surge in asylum seekers.
Adding to the momentum, an additional $212 million was earmarked nationally through IHAP during the summer of 2023. IHAP functions on a cost-sharing basis, extending financial support to provincial and municipal authorities grappling with the strain on housing resources due to the escalating number of asylum claimants.
The fresh funds are poised to empower provinces and municipalities to not only meet the surging demand for shelter space but also to prevent homelessness among asylum seekers. A comprehensive breakdown of the newly allocated funds will be furnished in due course.
Canada’s Continued Support to Asylum Claimants
Since 2017, the Canadian government has demonstrated steadfast support by providing over $750 million to provinces and municipalities, addressing housing challenges linked to asylum seekers. The commitment extends to the operation of around 4,000 temporary accommodations nationwide, catering to the needs of over 7,300 asylum seekers.
Canada has pledged an impressive $4 billion over nine years as part of the Reaching Home – Canada’s Homelessness Strategy. Notably, in the previous year, IRCC channeled $2 billion in assistance specifically aimed at refugees and asylum seekers nationwide.
Provinces and municipalities offering interim shelter to asylum seekers can seek reimbursement for incurred costs, with the quantum of contribution contingent upon the requests and the overall budgetary framework.
In tandem with IHAP, the federal government has also proactively secured temporary housing to alleviate the strain on local shelters. These locations have been strategically adapted to align with evolving local needs and escalating demands.
Navigating the Numbers: A Glimpse into 2023
Here is a concise summary of asylum claimants processed by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in 2023:
|CBSA-Designated Ports of Entry/Inland Offices
|Air Ports of Entry
|Land Ports of Entry
|Marine Ports of Entry
|All Ports of Entry (Air, Land, and Marine)
This strategic investment reaffirms Canada’s commitment to humanitarian efforts, ensuring that asylum claimants receive the necessary support and shelter, marking a significant stride towards a more compassionate and inclusive society.