The federal government plans to allocate $173.2 million to help border officials respond to the wave of asylum seekers entering Canada from the U.S.
The funds will support security operations at the Canada-U.S. border and the processing of asylum claimants arriving next fiscal year.
Canada has been seeing a surge in asylum-seekers at unofficial entry points as a result of President Donald Trump’s crackdown on immigrants who have been living in in the U.S. for decades.
Trump has been revoking “temporary protected status” from those who have been allowed to live in the United States – many for decades. Temporary protected status is designated to nationalities when there is an environmental disaster in their country, an epidemic or a war.
According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration services, about 435,000 people from 10 countries have TPS. Canada immigration says 20,593 asylum claims were made between ports of entry in 2017. Ninety-one per cent were intercepted in Quebec.
The budget says that people seeking asylum must be treated with compassion and afforded due process under Canadian and international law, and in keeping with Canada being an open and welcoming country.
“Funding would be used to manage the increased number of people seeking asylum in Canada this year, many of whom arrive with their families seeking quick, safe and compassionate processing. Funds would be used to provide short term processing and security screening supports at the border, as well as to support decision-making capacity for the Immigration and Refugee Board,” the document says.
The budget also will invest $85.5 million in the Canadian Border Services Agency in 2018-19.
- The federal budget sets aside $20.3 million over five years, beginning in 2018-2019, to resettle 1,000 vulnerable refugee women and girls as government-assisted refugees. Officials would not say which countries will be targeted for assistance. The budget states the women and girls will be chosen from “various conflict zones around the world.”
- The government aims to provide $194.1 million over five years, beginning in 2018-19, and $33.19 million per year ongoing, to protect temporary foreign workers. The funding would support “unannounced inspections” under the TFW program, the continued implementation of the International Mobility Program compliance regime and collecting labour market data in relation to open work permits. The government is also proposing to invest $3.4 million over two years to establish a network of support for TFW workers dealing with potential abuse by their employers. The network would support workers who want to report harassment and abuse they face on the job.