Here are the key details you need to know:
The Interim Housing Assistance Program (IHAP) will receive a one-time funding injection of approximately $212 million, extending its duration until March 31, 2024.
Notably, the City of Toronto will receive new funding of around $97 million, supplementing the existing support of over $215 million provided through IHAP.
This announcement came as concerns were mounting amid rising homelessness on the streets of Toronto.
Several reports highlighted the poor living conditions among asylum seekers, many of who were forced to sleep on the roads.
IHAP operates on a cost-sharing basis, providing provinces and municipalities with financial assistance for interim accommodation for asylum seekers.
In collaboration with the most impacted provinces and municipalities, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has also worked to increase the availability of temporary housing units. As of early July, over 3,800 hotel accommodations across six provinces were secured by IRCC for temporary housing of asylum seekers.
Asylum claimants have timely access to open work permits to support themselves while awaiting a decision.
This funding announcement emphasizes the government’s commitment to ensuring appropriate housing for asylum seekers and supporting communities in managing the associated challenges.
These initiatives aim to reduce dependence on social assistance and support successful integration.
Overall, the government’s announcement highlights its commitment to immigration, settlement, housing, and addressing homelessness for a resilient and inclusive society.
Supporting Temporary Housing for Asylum Claimants
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has collaborated with provinces and municipalities to increase temporary housing options.
IRCC has designated over 3,800 hotel rooms across six provinces to provide interim housing for asylum claimants.
What is Interim Housing Assistance Program (IHAP)?
The Interim Housing Assistance Program (IHAP) is a federal initiative that provides funding, on a cost-sharing basis, to provincial and municipal governments to address interim housing pressures resulting from increased volumes of asylum claimants since 2017.
In the fiscal year 2022–2023, over $164 million was allocated under IHAP to cover eligible costs. Notably, $88 million was allocated to the City of Toronto, $67 million to the Province of Quebec, and $9 million to the City of Ottawa.
Settlement Funding and Resettlement Assistance
Settlement services include language training, employment assistance, and integration support, with over $1 billion invested in settlement funding for the fiscal year 2023–2024.
The Resettlement Assistance Program provides immediate support to refugees, including reception services, accommodations, and life-skills training, with over $310 million allocated for the fiscal year 2023–2024.
Permanent Housing Solutions and Homelessness Support
- The government is actively working with provinces and municipalities to implement permanent housing solutions.
- A partnership with the City of Toronto worth over $1.3 billion aims to renew and repair affordable housing units managed by the Toronto Community Housing Corporation.
- The government has committed nearly $4 billion over nine years through the Reaching Home: Canada‘s Homelessness Strategy to address homelessness nationwide, including over $290 million allocated for Toronto between 2019–2020 and 2023–2024.
Providing Timely Work Permits for Asylum Seekers
The government implemented a temporary public policy (TPP) allowing asylum claimants timely access to open work permits.
This policy enables claimants to enter the labor market sooner, reducing their reliance on social assistance and other supports.
“Canada will continue to support the world’s most vulnerable people who seek our protection. Today, we have committed additional funds to ensure cities like Toronto have the capacity to keep a roof over the head of asylum seekers fleeing violence, war and persecution.”– The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
“The City of Toronto has no better partner than our federal government. Today’s funding announcement builds on our record of partnering with municipalities, including Toronto, to ensure that those seeking refuge and safety in Canada receive the support they deserve.”– The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance