Open Letter - Shelter, Housing and Services for Refugee Claimants



June 27, 2023

Refugee claimants in Ontario are in urgent need of shelter, housing and services. The need is especially acute in Toronto. Toronto Deputy Mayor McKelvie had said that as of June 1, 2023 refugee claimants will be turned away from Toronto's shelters to federal programs.

Refugee claimants continue to arrive in Ontario communities in significant numbers despite the shameful closure of irregular crossing points such as Roxham Road in Quebec from March 24, 2023.

OCASI and the Ontario Coalition of Service Providers for Refugee Claimants wrote an open letter calling on the City of Toronto to establish a reception centre that would:

  • Receive refugee claimants arriving in Toronto
  • Provide emergency shelter in Toronto with support to transition to long-term housing
  • Provide support services

An open letter was also sent to the federal and provincial governments, calling on them to sufficiently resource municipalities in Ontario as follows:

  • Ensure refugee claimants at Toronto Pearson Airport and other international airports are received appropriately;
  • Resource municipalities to provide emergency shelter in Toronto with support to transition to long-term housing;
  • Resource community-based organizations to provide shelter and housing, and support services.

Read the Open Letter to the City of Toronto

Read the Open Letter to Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (federal) and Minister Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (provincial)