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

Gudangaay Tlaats’gaa Naay powers up with solar panels and Tesla battery packs

Solar power got another big boost on Haida Gwaii last week, with… Continue reading

Sandspit candidates focus on ferries, housing, and emergency plans

It may be first, but restoring Kwuna ferry sailings isn’t the only… Continue reading

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

A “glamping” hotspot in Tlell?

Campers may soon find a way to go “glamping” in Tlell that… Continue reading

Odds ‘n Sods: Voting, stretching, and painting in Port

By Elaine Nyeholt We missed the mist of Misty Isles all summer.… Continue reading

Rick Mercer says pot is ‘excruciatingly boring’

Comedian hopes Canadians will move onto something else once marijuana is legalized

Canada Post union issues strike notice; rotating strikes could begin Monday

Union says rotating strikes will begin if agreements aren’t reached with bargaining units

Carole James avoids questions on B.C.’s payroll tax (with video)

Green MLA Adam Olsen cites huge tax increase for local business

BCTF wins grievance over teacher shortage in public schools

Arbitrator found Chilliwack school district did not hire enough on-call teachers or librarians

2 charged for feeding B.C. bear Tim Horton’s timbits

Court documents show that Randy Scott and Megan Hiltz have both been charged with feeding or attempting to feed dangerous wildlife.

Killer-rapist Paul Bernardo set for parole bid after 25 years in prison

Bernardo’s parole hearing at the Bath Institution is expected to attract numerous observers

Feds aiming to select preferred design for $60B warships by end of month

Defence insiders say the government wants to select a design by the end of the month from among three options submitted by several of the largest defence and shipbuilding companies in the world.

B.C. city wants control over its cannabis advertising rules

Without a say, towns and cities risk Washington-State-style flood of advertising, proponent says

Defence cautions against mob justice in Calgary child neglect trial

Jennifer and Jeromie Clark of Calgary have pleaded not guilty to criminal negligence causing death

Most Read