In early 2017, Mayor John Tory welcomed a motion that declared Toronto a sanctuary city which meant it pledged to provide all undocumented residents with full access to city services, regardless of their immigration status.
The motion also called for the city to write a letter to the federal government expressing its support for a refugee and immigration program based on the “values of inclusion, acceptance and non-discrimination.”
This week Mayor John Tory wrote another urgent letter to Toronto MPs stating that the city is not equipped to handle any more waves of refugee claimants because of “unprecedented pressure” on its shelter system and will not be able to so without immediate provincial and federal financial help.
Tory says in the letter dated Monday that the city needs “appropriate support” from the provincial and federal governments to be able to welcome newcomers to Toronto.
“I think we can all agree that having the city scramble to find emergency shelter for each new wave of arrivals is not sustainable, nor is it a desirable state of affairs. What’s needed is proper housing and proper supports, something the city cannot provide on its own,” Tory wrote.
On August 9, the mayor says the city will not have the capacity to accommodate the 800 refugee claimants already housed temporarily in dormitories at two Toronto colleges because they have to vacate by that date.
The city says the direct costs of housing refugee claimants in 2017 and projected costs for 2018 are $64.5 million and counting.
It is estimated that 400 asylum seekers cross the Quebec border every day. Montreal has already refused to host any more refugees saying the system cannot handle a further influx.
It appears for now most asylum seekers will be sent to Toronto and even if they aren’t sent, most will end up choosing Toronto over smaller communities.
If this continues and Toronto will have to live up to its reputation as being a Sanctuary City, housing more asylum seekers will have to be done at community centers which means residents will have to forego many programs. This is something Mayor John Tory says the people of this city aren’t prepared to do. – CINEWS