Ontario Investing to Find Long-term Housing for Asylum Claimants in The City of Peterborough

Increased support will help municipalities and asylum claimants 

NEWS                                                                                                                                                                                                              October 24, 2023

Peterborough — The Ontario government is investing $42 million through the Canada Ontario Housing Benefit (COHB) to support impacted municipalities across the province in providing urgent assistance to a rapidly growing number of asylum claimants and other at-risk populations.

This investment in 2023-24 includes $271,800 for the City of Peterborough, which will help move more people into housing and free up existing shelter spaces. The funding allocation reflects the estimated share of asylum claimants in the area and their relative impact on local services, based on provincial social assistance data.

“Our government made a commitment to the people of Ontario to housing built, and that includes those coming from out of country,” said MPP Smith. “Everyone deserves to live safely, free of violence and persecution.  This funding will ensure those will receive the necessary supports to make a home here in Ontario.” MPP Smith added.

“This investment will ease growing pressures on homeless shelters by helping thousands of asylum seekers move into long-term housing,” said Premier Doug Ford. “Unfortunately, too many newcomers searching for a better life are struggling, living in our shelter systems, church basements or, in some cases, out on the streets. That’s just unacceptable. We need all levels of government working together to tackle this crisis.” 

The province continues to advocate strongly for Ontario municipalities and service managers to ensure they receive their fair share of federal funding to address the significant, ongoing rise in asylum claimants. 

“Our government is stepping up to help municipalities deal with the pressures they are facing due to increased numbers of asylum claimants,” said Paul Calandra, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “We are committed to working constructively with our municipal partners, but we also firmly believe the federal government has a responsibility to step up as well and support municipalities in dealing with this crisis.”

Asylum claimants are individuals seeking asylum in Canada based on a fear of persecution in their home country. They are ineligible for most federal support programs, such as financial assistance and settlement and language training services. They are different from persons who arrive in Canada having already been recognized as refugees, whose arrival to Canada as permanent residents allows them to qualify for federal supports.
This year alone, Ontario could receive more than 72,000 asylum claimants – nearly twice as many as last year.