2018 Federal Budget is Giving Funds to Help Handle the Increasing Number of Asylum Claims Made in Canada

Budget 2018’s announced funding for immigration and refugee programs addressed a number of ongoing issues within Canada’s approach to refugee resettlement and processing. One such challenge, irregular migration and refugee claims at unofficial border crossings, was given particular attention. With $173.2 million in funding, Canada is looking to speed up processing times and improve security screenings to address ongoing challenges.

Since November 2016, Canada has seen a steady increase in the number of refugee claimants crossing into Canada from the U.S. at unofficial borders. These border crossings have a direct correlation to Donald Trump’s election, spiking in the summer of 2017 with the end of temporary protected status for Haitians.

Processing these claims put a strain on Canada’s systems, and as such, the Federal Government is looking to address these issues through proposed budget spending.

Refugee Claims at Unofficial Borders

In 2017, there were 20,593 asylum claims made between ports of entry. Ninety-one percent of these were intercepted in Quebec. The majority of asylum seekers have crossed over into Quebec at the now-famous Roxham Road crossing due to its accessibility. Also, many Haitians have claimed asylum in Quebec because of the large Haitian community in this province, specifically in Montreal.

In response to the growing number of refugee claims in Canada, the 2018 Federal Budget allocated $173.2 million to help border officers handle the numerous asylum seekers. This will support both security at the Canada-U.S. border, as well as the processing of asylum claims.

Specific Funding Goals

Funding will go towards processing claims quickly in order to manage the high number of asylum claims. Resources will be directed at supporting:

  • Short-term processing and screening at the border; and,
  • Decision-making capabilities at the Immigration and Refugee Board.

The Budget aims to preserve Canada’s values of being an open and welcoming country while upholding Canadian and international refugee laws. Those seeking asylum in Canada must be given due process and treated with compassion.

The Budget is in line with maintaining Canada’s reputation as a country that welcomes newcomers, especially those who need refuge in a safer home.

For more information and help with refugee claims, contact a refugee law office.