Ontario’s new Progressive Conservative government has formally requested $200 million from Ottawa to cover the costs of dealing with asylum seekers crossing into the province from the United States.
In a letter to her federal counterpart, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services Lisa MacLeod said that “Ontario can only do so much” and expressed concern over Ottawa’s “approach to the issue of illegal border crossing.
“For more than a year, communities across Ontario have been straining to support a high number of the illegal border crossers, and the approach of the federal government is now testing the patience and generosity of Ontarians,” she said.
While the PCs previously signalled that they would demand increased federal funding, Thursday’s letter laid out clearly how the province arrived at the $200 million figure.
According to MacLeod, the money will cover:
-$74 million for temporary housing costs in Toronto alone, as well as $12 million for Ottawa and -$3 million for the Red Cross for support services.
-$90 million in social assistance costs.
-$20 million for “primary and secondary education spaces.”
The recent influx of irregular border crossings also has strained Ontario’s legal system, MacLeod argued.
Calling the issue of asylum seekers a “crisis,” the newly elected PC government in Ontario has been critical of the federal government’s policies.
So far, Ottawa has offered up $50 million to provinces coping with the influx. That sum includes $36 million for Quebec, $3 million for Manitoba and $11 million for Ontario, but Ontario’s money was funnelled directly to Toronto.