Reality check: Is Canada facing an asylum seeker ‘crisis?’ – National


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OTTAWA – For the higher a part of two years, federal Conservatives have been blasting Justin Trudeau’s Liberal authorities for failing to stem the tide of asylum seekers flowing throughout unofficial border crossings from america to make claims for refugee standing in Canada. Conservative Chief Andrew Scheer says the scenario is now a disaster.

‘Illegal’ or ‘irregular’? Debate about asylum-seekers needs to stop, experts warn

“I feel any time you may have a authorities that permits 30,000 individuals over the course of a brief time period to return into Canada illegally, the influence that that has, that could be a disaster,” Scheer stated on Aug. three.

However is it?

Ontario’s new Conservative authorities agrees with Scheer, and is looking on Ottawa to select up the $200-million tab for housing, training and social help the province has offered to this point to the refugee claimants. To date, the federal authorities has offered simply $11 million for housing prices.

WATCH: Authorities calls asylum seekers ‘unlawful,’ critics name them ‘irregular’

It has additionally given $three million to Manitoba and $36 million to Quebec, the place the majority of the crossings have occurred.

In June, Toronto Mayor John Tory urgently referred to as on each the province and the feds to assist home some three,000 asylum seekers in his metropolis, warning that emergency shelter house had run out. Town estimates the price for housing refugee claimants in 2017 and this 12 months will attain practically $65 million.

This month, some 600 refugee claimants in Toronto have been moved out of non permanent quarters in faculty dormitories into federally funded resort rooms.

The scenario is “a problem,” Public Security Minister Ralph Goodale has insisted, “however it isn’t a disaster.”

An Angus Reid ballot earlier this month suggests Canadians disagree: two-thirds of respondents stated they agree the inflow of irregular border crossers is a disaster.

WATCH: Most Canadians say irregular border crossings are a ‘disaster’, ballot finds

In an interview with CBC’s “Energy and Politics” earlier this month, Scheer characterised the asylum seekers as coming from protected havens within the U.S., crossing illegally into Canada to get virtually on the spot processing of their refugee claims whereas refugees already settled right here wait years to usher in family members trapped in refugee camps abroad.

“That’s not honest, it’s not proper for individuals to leap the queue like that,” he stated. “That’s why I feel Canadians are rightly involved about this.”

Public opinion could also be on Scheer’s facet, however do the details bear out his declare of a disaster?

Ottawa spent $270M on border crossers in under 2 years: PBO

Spoiler alert: The Canadian Press Baloney Meter is a dispassionate examination of political statements culminating in a rating of accuracy on a scale of “no baloney” to “filled with baloney” (full methodology under).

This one earns a rating of “filled with baloney.” Right here’s why.


Final 12 months, 18,116 asylum seekers skirted official ports of entry to stroll throughout the border into Canada at unauthorized crossings, primarily in Quebec.

In accordance with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, one other 12,378 crossed over within the first seven months of 2018, suggesting this 12 months’s complete will likely be comparable.

Nonetheless, the irregular border crossers accounted for simply over one-third of the entire quantity of people that made refugees claims in Canada final 12 months – 50,469 in all. The opposite two-thirds made claims after arriving within the nation via official ports of entry.

WATCH: Toronto needs assist housing asylum seekers, refugees

The overall doesn’t embrace individuals who sought refugee standing exterior of Canada or who had been sponsored privately or by the federal government to return to Canada from abroad refugee camps – these people are handled individually, their circumstances should not affected by the spike in border crossers and should not processed by the Immigration and Refugee Board, which adjudicates solely these claims made in Canada.

The IRB has processed solely a tiny fraction of irregular border crossers’ claims to this point – fewer than three,500 by the top of March, virtually half of whom had been decided to be real refugees.

Canada to use voice recognition, monitoring technology to keep migrants out of detention

Final 12 months’s 50,000-plus complete represents an enormous soar over the earlier 5 years, when annual in-Canada refugee claims averaged an unusually low 17,000. However Canada has contended with comparable numbers previously. In 2001, for example, there have been 44,640 refugee claims.

Below Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Safety Act, anybody who comes into the nation and claims refugee safety can’t be charged with any offences below immigration regulation or sure Legal Code sections “pending disposition of their declare for refugee safety or if refugee safety is conferred.”

That’s in line with worldwide treaties to which Canada is a signatory, together with the UN conference on refugees, that are based on the precept that asylum seekers are sometimes compelled, for their very own security, to flee into overseas international locations with out authorization or correct documentation.

WATCH: CBSA utilizing DNA web sites to establish migrants

Whereas the federal government describes the border crossers as “irregular,” Conservative critics and others make some extent of utilizing the phrase “unlawful,” fostering a measure of confusion about how greatest to correctly characterize their standing.


2017 noticed the most important spike in refugees worldwide since 1961, so it’s hardly shocking that “a really small proportion” of these individuals ought to flip up in Canada, stated Jean-Nicolas Beuze, the consultant in Canada for the UN Excessive Commissioner for Refugees.

However even with the inflow of irregular border crossers, Beuze stated, Canada’s refugee consumption shouldn’t be dramatically increased than what the nation has handled previously – and is downright tiny in comparison with the form of numbers different international locations are experiencing.

The UNHCR estimates there are 68.5 million forcibly displaced individuals worldwide, 25.four million of whom are refugees pressured to flee battle or persecution of their house international locations.

Absolutely 85 per cent of the world’s displaced persons are being hosted in creating international locations which might be a lot smaller geographically, far more densely populated and significantly poorer than Canada. Among the many high refugee internet hosting international locations, the UNHCR stories that Turkey is dealing with three.5 million refugees, Pakistan and Uganda with 1.four million every, Lebanon with 1 million and Iran with 979,400.

WATCH: An asylum seeker’s story: adjusting to life in Canada

In Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh – “one of many (highest) human density locations on earth,” Beuze stated – some 800,000 determined Rohingya refugees arrived in a six-week interval. In tiny Lebanon, a lot of its four million residents had been already dwelling with out working water or electrical energy earlier than a couple of million Syrian refugees arrived.

“That’s a disaster,” Beuze stated. Having 50,000 refugees a 12 months flip up in a big, developed, rich nation like Canada is “completely no disaster.”

“It’s a small quantity in a rustic which actually can afford to proceed upholding the very best requirements of providing safety to these fleeing battle or persecution.”

For essentially the most half, Beuze stated he believes Canada has been dealing with the inflow effectively and humanely, beefing up sources on the border and on the IRB. Whereas housing the refugee claimants has been difficult, he says the non permanent shelter arrange in Montreal is presently half empty.

As for Toronto, which was scuffling with a housing scarcity earlier than any border crossers arrived, Beuze stated: “I doubt that three,000 individuals arriving in a metropolis of 10 million will provoke an inexpensive housing disaster.”

Tempers flare at immigration committee, officials reveal asylum seekers to be moved to hotels

Jennifer Hyndman, director of the Centre for Refugee Research at York College, stated Canada’s refugee numbers are trifling in contrast even to another rich industrialized international locations in Europe. Germany, for example, opened its doorways to virtually 800,000 Syrian refugees in 2015.

“Sure, our numbers are increased (than common) within the context of Canada, however we’re basically an island. We’re surrounded on three sides by chilly oceans,” which largely protects Canada from the huge influxes of refugees skilled elsewhere on this planet, she says.

Like Beuze, Hyndman stated: “I don’t suppose there’s a disaster … We actually have the capability to handle the scenario.”

Equally, Harald Bauder, program director of Immigration and Settlement Research at Ryerson College, says “the numbers don’t recommend that it is a disaster.”

“When you think about all immigration and refugee consumption in Canada, it appears to be really fairly a comparatively small quantity.”


Beuze, Hyndman and Bauder all agree there is no such thing as a basis for calling the inflow of irregular border crossers a disaster. However all three fear that the phrase is being utilized by some – together with phrases like “unlawful,” “bogus” and “queue jumpers” – to dehumanize asylum seekers and instill concern that they’re lawbreakers unfit of compassion.

“To label it a disaster does political work, it opens up house for us to denigrate sure teams of individuals,” stated Hyndman. “But it surely additionally permits governments to marshal sources in the direction of safety, nationwide safety, away from humanitarian and/or human rights obligations, even in regulation.”

Given the details and the views of the specialists, whereas there’s little doubt the scenario poses a political and coverage problem for each Ottawa and the affected provinces, Scheer’s competition of a “disaster” charges a rating of “filled with baloney.”


The Baloney Meter is a undertaking of The Canadian Press that examines the extent of accuracy in statements made by politicians. Every declare is researched and assigned a score based mostly on the next scale:

No baloney – the assertion is totally correct.

A little bit baloney – the assertion is generally correct however extra data is required.

Some baloney – the assertion is partly correct however essential particulars are lacking.

Lots of baloney – the assertion is generally inaccurate however accommodates components of reality.

Stuffed with baloney – the assertion is totally inaccurate.

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