TORONTO — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is suggesting Ontario’s new premier doesn’t fully understand Canada’s international obligations when it comes to dealing with refugee claimants.
Trudeau met with Doug Ford in Toronto this afternoon, and said afterwards he spent some time explaining to the premier how the asylum-seeking system works.
He said he also stressed the need for collaboration, saying officials from both levels of government should get together to make sure the immigration and refugee system is being applied “in its integrity.”
Shortly before the meeting, the provincial government said Ottawa is to blame for a housing crisis caused by people crossing the border illegally and should pay all the costs.
A spokesman for Ford said the federal government has encouraged people to cross into Canada illegally and continues to usher people across the U.S.-Quebec border into Ontario.
The federal government recently pledged to give Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba $50 million to help offset some of the costs incurred due to the influx of asylum seekers illegally crossing the Canada-U.S. border.
The provinces, however, have asked for much more support.
Quebec, which has seen the bulk of asylum seekers arrive this year, has said its costs are closer to $146 million, though that tally includes projections for future expenses. The province is set to receive $36 million from Ottawa.
Ontario has been promised $11 million by the federal government but Toronto Mayor John Tory has said the city alone needs $64 million to recoup costs.
Federal Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen has said the money is meant to help address some of the immediate temporary housing needs in those provinces.
Ontario’s former Liberal government signed an immigration agreement with Ottawa in November of last year.