Mayor John Tory stands in front of the media in Toronto on Tuesday April 18, 2017.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Toronto opening 800 emergency spaces to deal with influx of refugee claimants

Beginning Thursday, Toronto will temporarily house refugee claimants and new arrivals in 400 beds in the city’s east end.

Toronto is opening two emergency reception centres to deal with an influx of refugee claimants, less than a week after the mayor warned that the current system was nearly at capacity.

Beginning Thursday, Toronto will temporarily house refugee claimants and new arrivals in 400 beds at the Centennial College Residence and Conference Centre in the city’s east end.

And the city says it will also begin using 400 beds at Humber College in the west end to house refugee claimants as of June 1.

Last Friday, Mayor John Tory said the city would have to take emergency measures if the federal and Ontario governments didn’t act to relieve the growing pressure refugee claimants are putting on the city’s shelter system.

The city said the province facilitated the availability of the college dormitories and has committed up to $3 million in Red Cross staffing costs as part of an anticipated $6.3 million total cost of operating the sites for the next 75 days.

These contingency sites will only be available until early August, when the rooms will be required for returning students.

At that time, the city’s emergency protocol may require the use of municipal facilities, including active City community centres, to relocate refugee claimants in Toronto and accommodate new arrivals, officials said.

The city says 368 refugee claimants have entered Toronto’s shelter system since April 19.

At the current rate of arrivals, the city projects that refugee claimants will represent nearly 54 per cent of Toronto’s shelter population by November.

“We have triggered our emergency protocol to help these families in their time of need, with some support from the government of Ontario, but require the federal government to take immediate steps to permanently relieve this unprecedented pressure on the city’s shelter system,” Tory said Wednesday.

James Kilgour, who directs Toronto’s office of emergency management, said Wednesday that the city’s shelter system has reached its capacity to accommodate new arrivals and it has activated a protocol to secure contingency housing sites and Red Cross staffing support.

“This is part of the city’s compassionate and co-ordinated approach to dealing with unprecedented events and emergency situations,” Kilgour said.

Peter Cameron, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

B.C. turns up the heat

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for most the province due to high temperatures

MARS Wildlife Rescue offers some tips on keeping hummingbird feeders clean

Mould from dirty hummingbird feeders can be fatal

30 degrees and warmer forecasted with heat wave in B.C.

The weather could stay well into next week, according to Environment Canada

‘Daddy bonus’ common in B.C. workplaces, study finds

UBC researchers say dads don’t have to be number one in the office to get a raise

Northern Health Authority expands medical bus use

Over 60 or have mobility challenges? You can now travel on Northern Connections.

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Reena Virk’s mother has died

Both of Virk’s parents became activists against bullying in wake of daughters’ death

B.C. announces $75M to help friends, family care for seniors at home

Funding will go towards respite care and adult day programs

Timely tide attracts another pod of orcas to Victoria

The pod left the harbour about 30 minutes later

Canada won’t ‘play politics’ on U.S. migrant children policy

The U.S. government is under fire over its ”zero tolerance” policy

Capitals coach resigns after Stanley Cup win

Barry Trotz announced his resignation on Monday

B.C. pledges $550 million for Indigenous housing

Premier John Horgan says province moving into on-reserve projects

Sweden beats South Korea 1-0

Sweden gets benefit of video review in World Cup

Blue Jay Roberto Osuna not expected to appear in court

The Blue Jays pitcher is charged with one count of assault by Toronto police

Most Read