John Tory meets with Justin Trudeau amid dispute over asylum seeker costs


"At many announcements in front of media, and at rallies in front of thousands of people, Premier Doug Ford was clear Dr. Rueben Devlin would play an essential advisory role in ending hallway health care in Ontario", Ford's office said in a statement Friday. On Thursday, the province withdrew its cooperation with Ottawa on the resettlement of asylum seekers, seemingly bringing an end to a previous agreement wherein Ontario committed to helping resettle some refugees.

"I spent a bit of time explaining how our asylum-seeking system works".

Though the PC government has categorized asylum seekers as "illegal border crossers", they are not actually breaking any laws provided that they cross the border at a valid port of entry and declare asylum.

Less than two weeks after Mayor John Tory warned the city was running out of space and resources to handle a surge in asylum seekers, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived at City Hall Friday to discuss the problem.

Trudeau also criticized conservative politicians - the prime minister didn't name names, though said they're both here and around the world - for making the refugee issue as a divisive one.

Trudeau told the Tory that the immigration system is strong, but also holds to Canadian values.

About 800 refugee claimants and asylum seekers are staying in Toronto college residences that must be vacated on August 9 before students return to campus.

"What I'm simply saying to the federal government (is), you have resources, you have assets in the city of Toronto, you're going to need to use those", she said.

All the costs flowing from these newcomers, including housing and social assistance, should be carried by the federal government, she said.

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"Those college dormitories are for students who are returning in the fall", MacLeod said.

Federal Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen has said the money already allocated is meant to help address some of the immediate temporary housing needs in those provinces.

"We've been clear that the $1.4 billion Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund is only available to provinces and territories that are part of Canada's clean growth and climate action plan", Caroline Theriault, a spokesman for federal Energy and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna, said in an e-mail Thursday.

"Canada does indeed have an obligation that goes back 50 years and it has always been a leader in the notion that refugee claimants do have certain rights", she said.

Sojourn House, a Toronto shelter, launched a program to resettle families in March due to demand, said its executive director, Debbie Hill-Corrigan.

"Unfortunately, conservative politicians here and around the world are playing a very unsafe game with something that shouldn't be fodder for division", he said. "We are going to be a compassionate government but there is a capacity issue around that".

Meanwhile, some of those tasked with helping to house the newcomers say the disagreement between Ottawa and Ontario over the issue has left them in limbo.

For example, the CEO of Ontario Power Generation earned almost $1.6 million past year, making him the highest-paid public-sector employee in the province on a growing list of those earning $100,000 or more.

"This is not acceptable", she said.