Ottawa to end program to redirect asylum seekers away from Toronto

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A much-touted “triage” program that aimed to redirect asylum seekers away from crowded shelters in Montreal and Toronto is now history.

The federal government says it needed provincial buy-in for this program to be fully implemented — something it was not able to secure.

The triage program was announced last year after the Quebec government and the city of Toronto raised concerns over an influx of asylum seekers flooding their temporary housing.

Ottawa’s response was a plan to “triage” arriving migrants to see if they’d be willing to settle in areas outside of Montreal or Toronto to await the outcomes of their refugee claims.

The federal government initially tried to work with the province of Ontario, but said the Doug Ford government was unwilling to participate, forcing Ottawa to go to municipalities to find shelter options.

Marie-Emmanuelle Cadieux, a spokeswoman for Border Security Minister Bill Blair, says the project did manage to relocate five families to Chatham-Kent, but a larger program needed provincial support, so the pilot is now over.

Such a program was set for failure right from the beginning as anyone who understands the needs and preferences of asylum seekers would know that many smaller communities are ill-equipped to assist asylum seekers. -CINEWS

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