Mayor John Tory stands in front of the media in Toronto on Tuesday April 18, 2017.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Toronto opening 800 emergency spaces to deal with influx of refugee claimants

Beginning Thursday, Toronto will temporarily house refugee claimants and new arrivals in 400 beds in the city’s east end.

Toronto is opening two emergency reception centres to deal with an influx of refugee claimants, less than a week after the mayor warned that the current system was nearly at capacity.

Beginning Thursday, Toronto will temporarily house refugee claimants and new arrivals in 400 beds at the Centennial College Residence and Conference Centre in the city’s east end.

And the city says it will also begin using 400 beds at Humber College in the west end to house refugee claimants as of June 1.

Last Friday, Mayor John Tory said the city would have to take emergency measures if the federal and Ontario governments didn’t act to relieve the growing pressure refugee claimants are putting on the city’s shelter system.

The city said the province facilitated the availability of the college dormitories and has committed up to $3 million in Red Cross staffing costs as part of an anticipated $6.3 million total cost of operating the sites for the next 75 days.

These contingency sites will only be available until early August, when the rooms will be required for returning students.

At that time, the city’s emergency protocol may require the use of municipal facilities, including active City community centres, to relocate refugee claimants in Toronto and accommodate new arrivals, officials said.

The city says 368 refugee claimants have entered Toronto’s shelter system since April 19.

At the current rate of arrivals, the city projects that refugee claimants will represent nearly 54 per cent of Toronto’s shelter population by November.

“We have triggered our emergency protocol to help these families in their time of need, with some support from the government of Ontario, but require the federal government to take immediate steps to permanently relieve this unprecedented pressure on the city’s shelter system,” Tory said Wednesday.

James Kilgour, who directs Toronto’s office of emergency management, said Wednesday that the city’s shelter system has reached its capacity to accommodate new arrivals and it has activated a protocol to secure contingency housing sites and Red Cross staffing support.

“This is part of the city’s compassionate and co-ordinated approach to dealing with unprecedented events and emergency situations,” Kilgour said.

Peter Cameron, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Alberni Valley firefighters head to Fort St. James to assist with B.C. wildfires

‘We need to make sure first and foremost our community is protected’: Gilday

City of Port Alberni agrees to three-year extension of track surface

Bob Dailey Stadium track has experienced ‘degradation and tears’ since resurfacing in 2013

Could Thunder in the Valley roar at Alberni’s airport once more?

City of Port Alberni offered Stamp Avenue as a temporary solution

John Douglas looks forward to a “healthier” Port Alberni

Douglas has resigned from his position at the Port Alberni Shelter Society to run for mayor

B.C. wildfires 2018: Hazy skies impacting crews in spotting new fires

18,000 people are on an evacuation alert, with 3,000 homes under an evacuation order

Minister optimistic after 2 days of Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Canadian and U.S. officials met in Nelson Wednesday and Thursday to discuss future of the treaty

Man dies in B.C. police cell while awaiting court hearing

An independent investigation is underway after a man died while in Penticton police custody Aug. 16

RCMP appeal for tips, dashcam footage in German tourist shooting west of Calgary

The Durango crashed into the ditch after the shooting near the Goodstoney Rodeo Centre

2 nurses attacked at B.C. psych hospital, union calls for in-unit security

PHSA says that in-unit guards would do more harm than good

Former B.C. optician won’t be jailed for sexually assaulting minor

Kenneth Pilkington sentenced to 24 months’ probation for offence three decades ago

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

B.C. program to educate parents reduces ‘shaken baby syndrome’ by 35%

Period of PURPLE Crying was launched nearly a decade ago

UPDATED: Vancouver Island community under evacuation alert due to wildfire

BC Wildfire Service says steep terrain near Zeballos poses challenge as “out of control” wildfire approaches homes

Most Read