A North York shelter for those who’ve entered Canada seeking asylum will cost Canadian taxpayers one million dollars a month to operate, according to a report in Toronto Sun.
The shelter is a converted hydro facility that costs $42,000 to rent monthly. According to the city, rent has been paid since January but people have only started using the shelter space on November 12.
Two hundred asylum claimants are being housed in the facility, which is costing the city an additional $45,000 a month to pay in heating and electricity costs. Each claimant costs taxpayers an average of $140 a day, totalling $840,000 on a monthly basis.
Housing and shelter space for the constant stream of illegal border crossers flowing into Canada has been a growing issue since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s infamous 2017 “Welcome to Canada” tweet.
Since then, over 45,000 illegal crossings into Canada have taken place, resulting in increased pressure on provincial governments to find suitable shelter space for asylum and refugee claimants.
At the beginning of this year, the federal government announced that it would give the provinces $114 million in extra funding to be put towards temporary housing.
Toronto has seen several hotels be converted into shelters for asylum claimants. According to an investigation done by True North, four hotels and several motels are being used to house the illegal border crossers.
Some asylum claimants have also been purposefully staying in the city’s shelter system for six-months in order so that they can score a housing allowance that helps them pay rent for up to four years after moving into permanent housing.
Toronto last received a $15 million payment from the federal government to address the city’s shelter shortages on January 25, 2019. This payment was on top of the $11 million aid package it received nearly half a year prior on July 16, 2018.
The increased stress on the shelter system has led to shortages for the city’s homeless population. According to estimates from 2018, nearly half of those being processed through the shelter system were illegal border crossers.