Immigration ministers from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador say they are committed to welcoming asylum seekers who have entered Canada outside official ports of entry, mostly through the Roxham Road crossing in Quebec.
Following a meeting of federal, provincial and territorial ministers in Halifax, federal Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said Friday he’s unable to put a number on how many asylum seekers the four Atlantic provinces could take in.
Fraser, who is the MP for the Nova Scotia riding of Central Nova, told reporters there’s no “projected ceiling on what Atlantic Canada is capable of, because they’ve so routinely exceeded even my own expectations.”
“I expect we will respond in accordance with the need that we see, and we’ll do our best to make sure that no one community is seeing more people arrive than they can adequately handle,” he continued.
Nova Scotia Immigration Minister Jill Balser said the province has so far received 134 asylum seekers who arrived in Quebec, and New Brunswick Immigration Minister Arlene Dunn said her province has taken in 57.
Newfoundland and Labrador Immigration Minister Gerry Byrne did not say if his province has already accepted any of the Roxham Road refugee claimants, but he said it is ready to receive asylum seekers in the coming days.
“I can assure you that when they arrive and after they have arrived, they will be welcomed, they will be supported. We will tend to their needs and look forward to the day that they contribute to our needs,” Byrne said.
Fraser said the federal government is working with provinces to have newcomers fill out questionnaires on their skills upon arrival “to signal what talents they have to contribute to the local economy,” he said.
All 57 of the asylum seekers that have been sent to New Brunswick have already filled out skills questionnaires, Fraser said.
Prince Edward Island, which is wrapping up the first week of its provincial election campaign, did not have representation at the meeting.
The transfer of asylum seekers east comes as the Quebec government has been saying for months it could no longer handle the influx of migrants entering Canada through an irregular border crossing on its border with New York state. Ontario cities including Ottawa, Cornwall, Niagara Falls and Windsor have already received thousands of migrants from the overflow.
The federal government has reported that more than 39,000 people claimed asylum in Quebec in 2022 after crossing into Canada outside official ports of entry, mostly through the Roxham Road crossing.
Source : CBC