Speaking notes for the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship: Announcement related to the Interim Housing Assistance Program

Speech

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Delivered January 31, 2024, in Ottawa, Ontario

Bonjour à tous. Good afternoon.

I’ll begin by acknowledging that we are gathering on the traditional and unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishanaabeg People.

People around the world continue to face crises that cause them to flee their homelands. Canada is one of many countries experiencing a rise in the number of people taking the life-changing step of seeking refuge at our borders.

It takes all orders of government across our country working together to provide critical support for asylum claimants.

Through the Interim Housing Assistance Program, we’ve been providing funding to provincial and municipal governments on a cost-sharing basis to help alleviate housing pressures and increase capacity to meet the rise in asylum claimants.

Since 2017, we have provided approximately 750 million dollars to support provinces and municipalities to meet the overall increased demand for shelter space, while helping to reduce the risk that asylum claimants experience homelessness.

We’ve also been working with impacted provinces and municipalities to transfer asylum claimants who require temporary accommodations from provincial shelters and churches to IRCC-funded hotels. As of last week, we had approximately 4,000 hotel rooms in six provinces safely housing approximately 7,300 claimants.

As Canada continues to meet its international legal and humanitarian obligations, we need to continue providing support at a level that reflects the ongoing impacts of asylum claims across the country.

Today, we’re announcing an additional investment of $362.4 dollars in the Interim Housing Assistance Program to help provinces and municipalities across the country in their efforts to assist those in need.

This additional funding will better enable Canada to respond to the rising number of people fleeing persecution, oppression and conflict around the world. This is in addition to the $212 million top-up that was announced last summer.

More details on how this new funding will be allocated will be shared in due course.

We remain dedicated to upholding a fair and compassionate refugee protection system.

We’ll continue to be there to assist vulnerable individuals—and communities who provide shelter for them.

Thank you. Merci. I will now take questions.

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