Earlier this week, the federal government announced that it will be spending $114.7 million on compensation for provinces and municipalities currently struggling with housing supply and costs, largely impelled by a much-boosted demand for temporary residences for asylum-seekers.
The sum will be allocated to “federal interim lodging facilities” that would help with inventory, The Canadian Press reported. All of this is already on top of the $50 million offered last summer for refugee housing in Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba.
The announcement came amid increased pressure from the mayors of the country’s major cities.
Among this contingent is Ottawa mayor Jim Watson, who admitted that his city had to scramble to defray around $5.7 million in extra housing costs in 2017, in connection with asylum seekers from the United States.
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Watson added that Ottawa might have shelled out a similar expense volume in 2018.
“Toronto received $11 million in July to deal with refugee claimants. Our city has received nothing,” he lamented, as quoted by CBC News. “What often happens is a government will make a decision at a senior level and the consequences trickle down to us.”
The Ottawa mayor expressed confidence, however, that his city will benefit accordingly from the much-needed federal funding.
Toronto mayor John Tory echoed Watson’s sentiments, saying that the Liberal administration should also “share the burden” of resolving housing supply issues.
“[The federal government] makes the decisions about what happens at the border and Toronto is very supportive, for example, of admitting refugees,” Tory explained.
“We’ve had a historically compassionate approach in this country which we support. But the federal government, who admits refugees to the country, also has to take a hand in helping to house and settle them.”