Ottawa begins transferring ‘small number’ of asylum seekers to Ontario from Quebec

The federal government is beginning to relocate asylum seekers who entered Quebec illegally from the United States, following an increase in the number of asylum seekers at the border.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada says that since June 30, authorities began transferring a “small number” of asylum seekers to Ottawa and Niagara Falls to help ease the pressure on Quebec. The ministry did not give details.

More than 13,250 asylum seekers were intercepted outside official ports of entry into Quebec by border agents between January and May, mostly at Roxham Road, a rural road leading from the United States into the province.

This is more than double the number of people who entered Quebec irregularly during the same period in 2019, before Canada’s ports of entry closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Roxham Road reopened to potential refugees in November 2021.

Premier François Legault has called on the federal government to close Roxham Road due to the pressure that the increase in the number of asylum seekers is putting on Quebec’s ability to care for newcomers.

The Canada Border Services Agency has announced that it has increased its temporary accommodation capacity for asylum seekers at the Roxham Road border crossing, from 297 to 477 people.

– This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 4, 2022. This article was produced with the financial assistance of Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship