tv Canadian Government Officials on Illegal Border Crossings CSPAN August 30, 2018 3:13pm-5:15pm EDT
>> canada's immigration minister before the canadian house of commons that is in ship committee about the governments response to illegal border crossings and their handling of the search and asylum-seekers. members from the committee heard from several officials from nonprofit organizations that deal with the refugee crisis . >>. >> i'm calling to order this the 119 meeting of the senate committee on citizenship and immigration. as a person descending order 1082, westudy the impact of irregular crossing , of canada's southern border.
it's our third meeting on this study and thank you to the witnesses or you're agreeing to appear before us on quite short notice. in this section we have two organizations that will be appearing and then three individuals but three individuals will be sharing seven minutes of time so if anybody wondering how that's working, we were able to exceed your request to have three people appear that has one witness. so we're going to start with stephen merkel. from the organization. the organization serving with. immigrants, thank you very much and we're going to begin with your statements for seven minutes. >> thank you very much for your invitation to appear area my name is reinhold. i'm the director of the.
[inaudible] which includes 140 organizations which work with immigrants and refugees as well as undocumented individuals. i'm just going to give you a bit of an overview because i know you often touch on connect and your discussion and i know not everyone is familiar with the qucbec custom. it works very differently from elsewhere in canada when it comes to asylum employment so very quickly i'd like to explain how that works. >> the system we had to the 80s, the first ones that csa or irc c has, then the qucbec social services agency. is responsible for managing
temporary housing for everyone who arrives so very quickly,, what whether the entry is regular or irregular, doesn't make a difference. >> everyone goes through that same area so whether it's people who come from us mood. >>. >> may stay there a few hours, they do with security and admissibility services and then the agency brings into montrcal and boss . >> and brings them to one of the four temporary housing centers that have been created. one of them at the y for three years and the other three have been created since last summer when arrivals increase. so families, children, sometimes stay there for two or three weeks and this temporary housing until they
get their first social welfare check. this generally lasts on average two weeks. then when they get their first welfare check, they are referred to one of 12 organizations of ngos and the montrcal region who are responsible for finding housing for these people. and they are funded in order to find housing and also, to help them get settled. there's a lot of turnover here. as we speak, 800 and 900 people are in temporary housing . and there's turnover, older people might leave, 50 more light arrived . so ultimately, we have managed to ensure that the people who are in temporary housing are in a fairly orderly situation.
this may seem easily but it's pretty complex. but the reason that it works quite well is that there's a very close cooperation between all of the assistants, the agency, the irb service, red cross, city of montrcal and all the other stakeholders. we all meet every six to eight weeks, everyone gets together . we sit down and discusswhat's working . what we need to prepare for. we tried to fix any problems, any missinglinks in the system . there's a lot of flexibility, and this is a system that can adapt the bigger volumes.
today, there are about 40 or 50 people arriving today but that's manageable . but if twice that many were to suddenly arrive, that would also be something we could handle. i don't know how much time is left but let me quickly say that i'd like to give you a few numbers. because there aren't that many statistics around on who these people are and their profile and so on. there are two organizations that have statistic information, one is called the sea from montrcal, they have opportunities to 1700 employment last year.from mainly haiti, nigeria, and congo. the educational background of these people are 43 percent have a college diploma. so 70 percent, are quite
educated. not out of the 1700, 40 percent are on social welfare . 40 percent only had a job. and have other sources of revenue. >> another organization, they helped 6000, 172 claimants with work permits and out of that 6172, 2644 stated they had found work. so we would like to have more information on this, but what we've seen here is the majority of have arrived over the last few months are trying to get jobs in qucbec. which is great news.
>> i don't say it's easy. there's a new phenomenon now which is that various companies in the rural areas on recruiting asylum claimants who arrived in montrcal people come into montrcal, spend the day, do interviews and work for the claimants. we're talking about people from the oscillations, very southern regions, hundreds or thousands of asylum claimants have been recruited by firms that take them on, simon housing, sometimes evenbring over their families . and who have attention to do this independently. once again, we don't have enough data. it would be interesting to have more data that are made citizen initiatives which have started since last summer. these companies like spectrum with slits on the jaws festival .
>> so achieving going back, the bank has put aside a large quantity of illegal activities with children for example area in every housing . >> and there's also grassroots initiatives. now, i've described some of thesituations . the community organizations show a great deal of creativity, as you know . soft cried as a major player in terms of funding. the private sector as well, fundraising activities. i think what the biggest obstacle to treating people with dignity is the negative messaging we hear that's what we fear the most.
in fact, we've even heard around the stable, your time is almost up. >> i can answer questions. if you need more information, we will talk. >>. >> "after words" chair. good afternoon everyone and thank you for the opportunity to give in front of the committee on this important topic. a posse, the agency serving as 232 member agencies and much like my friend here, our member agencies assist in messaging and refugee claimants. the number of people making claims historically goes up and down and currently we are seeing a higher than usual number of claimants in ontario causing a higher than usual draw on services and support. ontario receives refugee claims in medicaid in another
province and this is also not new trend not limited to investigative claimants. the toronto shelter networks say messaging claimants make up about 45 percent of the shelter system but it's hard to say how they arrived, whether they are irregularly or at a point of entry since i'm told the shelters don't ask for that information. we should also keep in mind that all refugee claimants don't seek emergency shelter or services. the shortage of emergency shelters and various municipalities in the shortage of affordablehousing is a long-standing need and it's not caused by refugee claimants . there's a crisis, the lack of affordable housing with resulting in emergency shelters and manyqualities . >> the backlog of the shelter is partly due to the fact that in the past refugee claimants would only stay a few weeks and move out into
housing. now it takes longer and one estimate from toronto is about 3 to 6 months and that means that is creating a backlog and that's because there just isn't enough affordable housing. the city of toronto is working on short-term and long-term capacity lands to deal with the situation with community organizations so leaders of emergency shelters are working alongside city officials to formulate a long-term plan which if funded efficiently could have a huge impact in dealing with different challenges and my colleague can elaborate on that situation but it should be noted that not all claimants seek shelter. we are not eligible for all services unlike other refugees and our member agencies continue to do terrific work as they've done for many years to find the resources to deal with service claimant needs. historically all levels of government have worked well together with community
service organizations . to support refugee claimants and other newcomers so it's important that collaboration continue. so there's a plan and services are harmonized across regions and all the and all governments continue to benefit from the contributions. finally, like my colleague we often incentivize the refugee sentiment and it's important to us that our leaders and the media are careful not to use inflammatory language with respect to refugee claimants . i look forward to your questions . >> thank you very much. so the other three, miss folder. >> my name is ann walter and i'm the founder of matthew house toronto, a group of homes that welcomes shelters into port refugee claimants. for the past 30 years, working individually and with dedicated staff and volunteers, i've helped with theresettlement of close to 4000 refugees .
during those years, many painful stories drove me to tears as refugees told me of loved ones killed before their eyes, of being gang raped, of receiving death threats against them and their children. torture might leave scars on people's bodies like the african woman who showed me bullet wounds that raised her stomach before they killed her husband and son . when i hear media reports portraying these same people as illegal, bogus and queue jumpers, it angers me and breaks my heart. as a nation, we must respect our international obligations . where those fleeing for their lives may enter without hindrance. our refugeestatus determination system is second to none . assessing each case fairly
and inferring protection for those who need it. and i can also access that in spite of all their hardship, refugee claimants are highly motivated, resilient people who are often well educated and entrepreneurial. eager to get back to the country that welcomed and protected them. >> i could share hundreds of success stories of refugee claimants area one is that of been from afghanistan who came alone to canada three years ago at the age of 16. last month, not only did he graduate from his high school with top honors, he was voted class valedictorian. during his elementary address, he shared his story of fleeing for his life and described this moment he set foot on canadian soil. as being exciting, yet terrifying. thankfully, he has been granted refugee protection. he concluded his speech by quoting martin luther king,
encouraging his classmates to believe in their own dignity, do their very best and come it themselves to the eternal principle of duty, love and justice. and if but one example of the kind of people crossing our border today . i can assure you that in supporting these people with love and justice, the return on investment will be in norma's and all of canada will benefit. thank you. >> thank you very much. mister needs, welcome back. >> anti-mister chair and we welcome the opportunity to appear as part of this study and into irregular crossings of the canada us border. a situation that absolutely must be understood from a human rights perspective. we do not agree that the situation along the border constitutes a crisis by any
measure. the numbers are well within canada's capacity and also responsibility to respond to and certainly do not come close to approaching a sense of crisis when considered in a global context. that said, the numbers are clearly higher than in years past . and there are two primary reasons. first, there has been a rapid deterioration in respect for the rights of refugee claimants, refugees and migrants in the united states since donald trump assumed the presidency. as such it is not at all surprising that a growing number of refugee claimants in the united states do not feel safe, do not feel confident their claims or asylum will be with fairly under the us system and have instead sought to cross into canada to seek protection. a 2000 seven federal court ruling documented the many ways that refugee protection in the united states failed to meet the safe third
country agreements required standards of safety.while the decision was reversed by the federal court of appeals on jurisdictionaland other legal grounds, thefactual findings about grave problems in the us system remain undisturbed . today, more than a decade later , those concerns mountain dramatically. numerous procedural barriers to making asylum claims, restrictive interpretations of the refugee definition, limits on women advancing gender-based claims, bars on making claims after one year, difficulties in obtaining legal counsel and extensive arbitrary lengthy and abusive immigration detention. most recently there is the impact of what has come to be known as a muslim man and the refugeeban . toxic rhetoric associated with donald trump's intended border wall and cruel measures targeting children and families for mandatory detention. the second key element of course is that the canada us
c third country agreement makes it nearly possible refugee claimants in the united states to seek protection at unofficial canadian border post unless they come with a limited number of exceptions, the only way they are able to access the canadian refugee determination system is to cross the border irregularly and make a claim inside canada. that has led many individuals to make dangerous journeys into canada including in winter conditions. we emphatically stressed that the irregular crossings to make refugee claims are not illegal, not under international law, not under canadian law. this is why amnesty international has called for the states third country agreement to be suspended. when it became clear the government was not prepared to take that step, we joined with the canadian council for
refugees and council of churches and watching a court application last july. full hearings are set for this january, but suspending the safe third country agreement now would send a strong message that canada is concerned about the deteriorating regard for the rights of refugees in the united states is committed to ensuring the application of the safe third country agreement is fully consistent with our international human rights obligations and finally, it would bring a greater sense of order and oversight border crossings by encouraging individuals to instead make their claims that official border posts. >> thank you very much. always be able to stretch the time. you've got committee appearances down to an art. luckily, casio took less time and i'm delighted . mister mohammed, good to see you again. >> good afternoon, i'm honored to be here today.
i would like to begin by recognizing that the traditional territory of algonquin, i am here to talk about refugees and immigrants. i am also here to say thank you to the people of canada for saving my life on certain death and deceiving me from imprisonment from diamond police . so here now, we make an agreement but it is truly a crime? is it truly a crime to be my authentic self? >> i traveled to nine countries, >> i've walked through channels where i saw dead
people who were also trying to make it to a different country where they would receive . later in the night, my friend died. right beside me. i was also threatened by a group of armed men. >> i want went to the united states thinking it's a country that keeps refugees safe. i was wrong. i was jailed in detention for nine months with drug peoples and people that have committed felonies.i was once provided a lawyerfor my volunteering . but my asylum hearing in the detention, the court required me to pay a very high $8000 bond or me to be conditionally released from detention. my brother had to pay that bond. >> i was required to report every two weeks in isolation for documents and less id
threatened, with deportation. i felt very afraid because at that time, the us was deporting people . like me, other refugees fleeing from the us, were aware i was not safe. under. >> me and my friend walked for 12 hours to close the border. >> on that april night, we both boosted the refugee by resorting the lost years. we lost power, and i had not been a good canadian citizen. based on the side of the road and save us from the 911. we have been refugees ever since we came to canada. people of this country called canada to know that refugees and immigrants are not
criminals and our economic migrants. these protections are granted easily in donna and in canada. it would reclaim that canada is not an easy process and an irb member, they were with me for over three hours and did not give me a decision after the hearing. it was a tough process and it is still a tough process. refugees able who are coming to this country are seeking protection and also we want to leave in the room where we transferred the from homophobic people involved. refugees and immigrants are also here to follow the laws of this country. so we want the canadian people to protect us and tell us your savior. i would like to thank people for giving me a free consultation with winnipeg.
>> and i've completed my refugee application, he always withstood as the resident for my refugee claims here. i am very grateful to the canadian system for what they did for me and my friends area without them i wouldn't be here now, thank you. >>. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. mister mohammed. it's always hard to hear storieslike yours . >> i have questions for mister michael because webeen doing this for a long time, we worked together for years . at the time, i was the director of an organization
that provided services to immigrants and refugees and a member of an organization as well so it was interesting to hear what you have to say about the mechanisms created in qucbec and that were involved with trial anderror . we make things work for you. and today i think that the system is able to address, to an increase or decrease in the number of claimants. who call upon our compassion and openness so simply have some of those battles together. i'd like to go back to the very beginning of what we did together in the 80s and 90s. in qucbec at the time we started to see the beginning of the waves of rivals in canadian containers and we've allheard the horror stories fromthat time .
for your organization , you knew that it was necessary to have a concertedaction from all levels of government . because there was a place for the federal government but the central government had rules as well so can you tell us about that? >> it has been quite a while but the situation that we are seeing in 2017 is not new. we saw that in 2011, and there have been many waves of arrivals. and people tend to forget that most people who arrive, most of them stayed and have become very well integrated. and that will be the case this time as well.
so in my opinion, to use the word crisis is the opposite of the truth because we are not in a crisis. yes,there are pressures . i think that the recipe maybe is not magic but i think in qucbec, the method that we use that works quite well is at the regional level, there is a good level of collaboration between the various levels of government, specifically between qucbec immigration ministry and citizenship canada . as well as the agency, the city of montrcal, the office for new arrivals. we communicate with all these stakeholders on a daily basis and offer each other mutual support . the full information between allof us works very well. communication is excellent .
there are challenges when these arise the first thing we do is to all stand together and decide who's going to deal with what challenge using what resources . it may seem a little nacve but it works well. we have a joint committee. with ngos, citizenship canada and montrcal at the regional level and that has existed for 20 years and in fact it's the very same same committee. it's still alive, it continues to meet every three months. we have weathered so many crises together. i thinkthat's the solution . and i would propose to my ontario colleagues to adopt that system of communication. >> i do you have the same kind of collaboration in ontario? with this level of government, do, i almost know the answer but i want to have it there for the record. because it has worked well in
qucbec and having been there, knowing how it works, i certainly believe it couldbe something we could share with other provinces . >> the qucbec model sound very intriguing. >> we don't have something similar in ontario. but i guess i should also say that the qucbec governments relationship with the federal government with respect to immigration is different and unique in canada comparedto what all the other provinces have . >> that's all i can say but in terms of jurisdiction? >> also, how the services are funded. there are payments that work differently and i should probably let him explain that. for example, the canada immigration agreement is segmented differently, the relationship between ontario is different when it comes to running settlement services
for example but even in terms of collaboration around planning a different relationship that ontario has. we don't have the same model. >> when you have something to add to that because you do provide hundreds of shelters. >> i would agree that we don'thave the same model . we were speaking the other day and i was feeling rather envious. i think it's something that we could aspire to and i would love to do that. yes, there's always been a not direct support, particularly for refugee claimants sheltered. and in ontario, from any level of government except the municipal government which is a just a matter of homelessness. if you're a homeless category and unfortunately, there's just not enough reason and appropriate shelters specifically for refugee claimants which is why i
became a founder of matthew house which is privately, a private charity, because there is that kind of need. i'm feeling encouraged by my saying and i know everyone's depressed right now but i'm feeling encouraged that from my perspective, i sometimes felt like a voice crying in the wilderness and i feel like all the different levels of government are waking up and realizing hey, these people, maybe they would benefit from our support with shelters and housing because in the long run,everyone benefits . refugee claimants are such wonderful contributors to society and so everyone wins. so the better we work together, i see this as ahuge opportunity . >> thank you, sorry. thank you madame mendez. i don't think we are depressed. i think what we are reflecting on is the great privilege it is to be members of parliament and to hear stories from our refugee
claimants but also from those who are working to make our country better so i think that's what you're hearing, not depression. 80 little bit of coldness area missed ramble. >> i'd like to express my thanks to all of you for their commitment to protect the world's most vulnerable. by way of sharing a story, two summers ago we were sitting in committee in the middle of the summer with immigration committee, this to be a trend. >> and the reason why was because in shortly after the last federal election when i was appointed opposition or shadow minister for citizenship and immigration, i had a man coming to meet with me and what he said in my office changed my life because he told me about someone whose relatives that had been in captivity and forced to eat their children
that were boiled in front of them and he was a member of the committee and two, about two weeks later, i had the opportunity to meet with nadia morand who was not really well known to the world yet. and i had never sat with him before or someone before who had been through that type of trauma and i just remember feeling even just talking about it, this sense of, we needed to do something you anger, disgust that we needed to do something and we had meetings during the summer. we pushed emotions through in the house of commons. and then from there was committee, we had pushed up different studiesto , you know, i pushed a subsequent study because i knew these women were getting support when they came to canada, that they had experienced extreme trauma and not so
much as a condemnation but an opportunity to change our processes to get this right and i'm very proud of that work because it reflects the fact that even in one of the special things about canada is that we are not discussing it immigration, we are discussing how and i fully believe that we have a responsibility to protect the world's most vulnerable and an important one, canada also has a role to be an advocate for change, that instills those concepts to improve global asylum processes. when i criticize the united nations it's because i don't understand why those women were not in the un selection process. we met with members of the lgbt community and there's not one person here who wasn't deeply affected by
that meeting and that's why we moved a motionin the house of commons to expand the program and make it permanent . i think it's about how. and to me, where i would like to see this debate go is really off count. ms. mulder, the comment you just made that you were encouraged by basically seeing support for long-term integration because that, when we invest in the integration of humanitarian immigrants, they have a better experience in canada and their potential is unlocked and i'm the first person who will admit somebody coming to canada who has escaped persecution, they have trauma to overcome, they're in a new country so they have challenges to overcome before we can even start talking aboutenglish language training or vent french language training . and to me, that is where we've kind of lost the dialogue in the last 18 months and that is my concern
so when we are asking questions about how are we going to pay for this, it's not out of a pejorative place, it's a place that we can't lose the narrative. we can't just say our obligation ends when somebody crosses the border . this is why we have to ask how. we had meetings in uganda with senior officials from the government and i was struck by hearing look, the government of uganda says we don't expect the world to resettle everybody to tear and you can't. the question is how and what do you do and how do we intervene with aid and where we've lost the narrative is i cannot accept we have 100 people in college dormitories with no plan to house them and i can't accept that we don't have some sort of
projection or plan on the needs that people have and i can't accept that we are not talking about how the budget is. i can't accept as a parliamentarian that i can't scrutinize budgetary figures because we're treating this as a piecemeal solution because that is not compassionate . and so what's been very disappointing to me is , as somebody who had advocated for refugees and the world's most vulnerable, in this country, it's to watch this debate go into one about you know what it's like to read articles about yourself being called racist after i've done this for the last two years? it's not about me, but i don't want the debate to go there. i want the debate to go back to how you did and we've lost that narrative and that's why we call these meetings this summer. this is why we, i would like to see a report come out of this study. and we might disagree on how but we can't shy awayfrom that debate . we can't shy away from looking at okay, article 31 of the refugee convention
when it was put in place, france wanted to make sure there wasn't the capacity for asylum claims, does that still apply in today's global context, i would argue yes but under what circumstances? are the review criteria still valid. the government argues yes, others will argue no but we're not even having that discussion. just nothing and then there's 800 people that i don't know where they're going to go in a week and sadly after six hours of meetings i don't feel anymore enlightened , but i would encourage my colleagues, especially after hearing the testimony that we had here that we would get back to the house. so i'll ask a very simple question of you at the end of my time. we might disagree on how you feel after your testimony and after what's happening here
today if it would be useful if this committee presents a report with recommendation. a report that has a comment and ask the government for an officialresponse? >> you have 30 seconds to all respond . >> that your seven minutes. >> thank you very much mister chair and i want to thank you with us today, in particular i want to highlight mister mohammed for your bravery. the fact that you made the journey to get to safety, because your life matters and should be valued and i'm so glad canada values your life and granting your asylum claim. now, what we heard of course is that and what i know in my heart is that you didn't have to go through the risks that you took in crossing over manitoba to canada, from the
united states to manitoba. but you didn't have to risk losing the digits of your fingers. if we actually suspended the safe third country agreement you might have crossed over an official point of entry and therefore not risk your life and see your friend and others go through the same experience so from that perspective, that's why i'm calling for the suspension of the safe third country agreement. would you as somebody who's experienced this journey yourself call on government, the canadian government to suspend the safe third country agreement? >> i would like it to be done. and do what you said. it wasn't safe to meet immigrants because if it was this, we can go through. we see for asylum, but we didn't. [inaudible] the way the
agreement went, that's why we sneak in, because we don't want to go to the border or them to take us to the united states which we are very afraid of. and wanting that, making that journey was very, very hard cause we couldn't, we didn't know we were going to survive that kind of journey, but then 10 hours in the cold, >> that's what causes a lot of damage to most refugees and immigrants and we would like to be suspended. >> acting very much and we've heard that and we've also heard that from miss juan perez well on the suspension of the safe thirdcountry and if i could get a quick answer in the affirmative . >> if i can just say, because iwork through the years with refugees, half of my career ,
there was no third country agreement and i would have to say that things work so much more smoothly, everyone came to the border. it was in everyone's best interest to present themselves in an orderly fashion . there wereoperably screened, they were properly processed . nobody would want to go to an irregular point because why would they? it was safer, more secure. it was just more efficient, it just made much more sense, thank you. >> if i could that, i made the case as to why from a human rights perspective in amnesty international and the many others, it's vital that the agreement be suspended because my no matter does refugee protection in the united states meet the required standard of the agreement or meet international standards but i think there's other points that there's also a border management argument to be made as to why suspending the agreement makes sense. to bring back a sense of orderliness and oversight to
how refugee claims are handled at the border. it's in the interest as well's i have to other areas and i know i'm going to run out of time quickly. people argue semantics using the word illegal versus irregular. from my perspective, it's not semantics, it's what's involved itself . the law is specific when it says a person comes through, regular or irregular to seek asylum, they are doing it per canadian law in accordance to section 133 of the immigration refugee protection act so if we just heard that miserable made a moving speech about really wanting to move forward with the plan also incorporating using the right terminology and stop trafficking the view that asylum-seekers are somehow illegal.
is that not an important component of the plan? >> whether it's a plan or a statement that government ministers, journalists, any and all must make , it is absolutely implement on all of us to stop using the word illegal to referring to individuals across borders to make refugee claims. we see that around the world and it is a trend that is undermining public support for refugee protection and is creating an undue sense of alarm and hysteria about refugees and the threats they pose and it's completely groundless in law and we need to banish it from our vocabulary . >> i'm going to move to other houses and thank you for your 30 years of experience and for sharing that with us, to say that when we didn't have the safer country agreement, there was order to border crossings and maybe we need to get back to that. i want to talk about housing peace and we're now talking about doing shelters by way
of renting hotels. but does that make sense for the government to invest the tens of millions of dollars in getting a permanent structure, a multiple permanent structures to support asylum-seekers? i'd like to hear your thoughts on that. >> it certainly would and i want to say as a shelter leader from toronto, there's a coalition of shelter leaders that have been meeting with the city of toronto and we've put together a long-term refugee reciprocity plan because of our knowledge of the people and the need and the city of toronto is very open to it and we see that it truly could be very effective, just trusting that there would be funds available. >> we heard the comments from secretary vaughn to say that there is, although he won't tell us how much is being set aside and being offered but i'm going to call him the task to fork off that money
in terms of a report, the liberal members of this committee welcomed the opportunity to be here today to listen to testimony. i think it's important to remember all of these hearings are public. the transcript will be availabl available, and any report we did would be tabled intellect over. i think we welcome the opportunity to do this, and i also just want to put on the record that unfortunately, she has left the room, but in terms of these women, this government has been committed to bringing is the women here. the previous government brought three. we brought 1000. those women, when they get to canada, they do indeed require, support, and unfortunately the previous government cut that healthcare for refugees and we have reinstated it. they do have the opportunity to get healthcare and the trauma support they need. i just wanted to get that on the record. we've had a lot of talk about why we've seen the surge at
the border. one of the things that come up repeatedly is a tweet, the conservative party leader said keep in mind come of this started the whole wave when he tweeted out, you know, all are all are welcome. the new said this is the result of the federal government, they should put 100% of the bills and we've had a minister of the crown responsible for immigration in ontario make reference to a tweet. my question to all of you, actually, is to you think doctoring this photograph to make this photograph into a tweet is in any way whatsoever helpful in the debate that we are having around asylum-seekers coming here, to take something like this which the conservative party did and put it out on social media, do you think this is helpful in the debate in what we are
seeing in terms of public perception of asylum-seekers coming to canada? >> i'm aware of the image you have just shared, and of course there are multiple other images that have circulated in canada and around the world. they are disparaging and to all of that we would like to say no, there clearly is no place for that kind of messaging or imagery when it comes to refugee protection. i think with all social issues it's important about how they engage and what images they share and what messages they convey, there's absolutely no question that when it comes to
refugees and refugee claimants there is an increased mobility, there's a real volatility with respect to the public debate, and i think it is incumbent on public officials to go ten steps further in questioning and second-guessing the imagery and statements that they make. it takes us back to the earlier debate about the use of the word illegal, as well, which i do not at all agree is just a matter of semantics. i think it's unfortunate that a number of officials, including us that have our own minister of immigration have had the word illegal at unfortunate times around the debate and i would love to see a commitment from everyone in public life, no matter what political party they come from, to shy away from that, and make an absolute commitment. >> we noticed in a recent poll
, because it is a newspaper those polls are not reliable. there's a definite shift from the kind of attitude when there is so much enthusiasm to sponsor syrian refugees and they had 85% of people saying we don't want refugees in canada and that kind of trend is quite alarming the cause of the public education were doing and trying to have positive attitudes toward refugees and making sure they get jobs and housing and that they are part of our communities. it's particularly unhelpful when we have to do so much more work to counter, not just the language, but also so much misinformation about who is a refugee, why they are fleeing and why they are in canada. >> i know in my community both the community of oakville and remington have been very open
to refugees and make sure people become part of the community, and i feel blessed to be in a community that has welcomed those who ar are vulnerable and thought come to canada. you're absolutely right where there has been a shift because of language and images and how people are perceiving the most vulnerable that are coming to our country. i don't think it got much time left. is our system working? is it compassionate, and is it organized? >> i would like to say once again, i think there's a lot of hope for it, and i do want to say that we certainly in toronto appreciate the $11 million and been sent our way ca, and are hopeful that there may be more coming that way. i think it's a good start and i think. >> just as you mentioned toronto, there's been numbers
saying that about 45% of people in the house in toronto are refugees, but toronto doesn't track whether it's an asylum seeker or newcomer or refugee so how could you possibly know it was 45%? >> is some challenges, i'm not with the city of toronto, there is, because of being a thanks ray city, the way that they track people, it's a bit, they have a don't ask, don't tell policy, don't they. >> if you like things go through ebbs and flows and i feel that they're getting better. >> thank you. mr. mcguire, thank you mr. chair. i too want to welcome all of our witnesses here today and i'm very glad that you had the opportunity to bring your expenses to us. i guess we have been very astute on our side here
talking about the tracking, and my colleague was talking about that earlier, that were very compassionate about making sure that there are opportunities for refugees in canada. i too was on the committee, traveling committee in after this early june with several of my colleagues hear from the committee on both at the house, and that was a very good opportunity to see how our system works. i know that all were saying is we want to see a plan, a custom plan on how the process is going to work from the government. i think they just made the point that they don't know where they are. you don't rely on housing people in toronto to find out where these people are, you do it through the refugee claiming system that comes into canada, and you keep track of the people as to where they are at so they can go through the proper channels that we have in the system and become legal refugees in this
country. there's no doubt about that. i just want to say that anyone that doubts the compassion of anyone here need to not talk to me about it because i have refugees in my own family that have established in canada and gone on to be great citizens. so i have no qualms about speaking out and some of you talked about the quality of the individuals were coming into the country, that's not a big issue, we just need to know what the plan is where the government that and we've had testimony today from three ministers, two ministers so far and the department of secretary and i'm about have testimony from another one that i'm not even given us the same kind of definitive plan that we were able to get from the minister in ontario.
she knew how many dollars they were asking for and what the breakdown was. we haven't been able to get out of the federal government. that's part of why this committee, we asked for it to be here, and i appreciate the opportunity to be here for the summer to do this. one of the things that we learned when i was in uganda is that there are 1.4 million people, refugees in uganda alone out of 64 million refugees in the world. we are looking at almost twice the canadian population so this isn't about a resettlement process. a lot of those people don't want to leave their home countries. most of them don't want to leave, they been forced to as we've heard as well. so, i put that out there, part of our role was to look at the visa application centers and their function, and whether or not there are student workers or visitor visas, and there's a process that people go through before they come to canada as well. that is just one more benchmark.
that's through the legal process, and so what were looking at is having a study here that will deal with some of the situations were faced with on a day-to-day basis. i appreciate the comments in regard to the corporate sponsorships, the private ones were talking about and also the grass roots groups because they know people who have taken upon themselves and some of my own local communities, church groups, community groups, towns and they have actually integrated refugees, i've been there when they been off the plane with them to take them to the local communities and integrate them with work, get the kids into school, those sorts of things. we've seen situations where there's problems in québec with daycare's and a number of those areas so there are time frames we need to be dealing with. i guess, just in closing, i want to say that i believe we
need some kind of a process and the visa application process is one. that's through normal channels also we need to find a way for the government to make it compassionate for those who are refugees that come into our country, and i don't think that the process for going through now is the only answer for being compassionate. it's not. to put them into areas where women are going to be, women and children are only going to the house for very short time or to leave them out, first of all we were in the colder winters to start with. i think we need to be compassionate in those areas, and that's why i'm asking for a report to go out of this committee to go to parliament so the government can respond so my colleague ran out of time on that. if you feel there is the opportunity. >> thank you. >> i don't believe we have
time for another witness, we take a brief moment to suspend and then we will reconvene the second hour in just a few moments. this is our continuation of our third meeting on the study of the impact of the crossing of cannabis across the southern border. thank you ministers for being with us today. thank you mr. blair, a great baptism by fire, the minister and thank you again to sam, this is one of several appearances you've had before our committee on this topic as well as others so we thank you again for joining us. we are going to begin with your remarks and you have
seven minutes. >> thank you. >> thank you mr. chair. it is always a pleasure to appear before this committee with my parliamentary colleagues. as you know mr. chair, our government remains firmly committed to abiding by canada's international obligations, honoring our humanitarian commitments and upholding our laws regarding asylum claim and protecting the safety and security of natives. >> it bases all of our actions on irregular migration printer six pillar plan includes operational preparedness, border integrity, international obligations, outreach and international engagement. our first pillar is to ensure
that we are prepared. predicting asylum and migration patterns is difficult which is why we have a national operations plan in place, developed in collaboration with different government agencies and nonprofit organizations. it ensures that we can deal with any charges or any point along the border. art professional department and security agencies are able to respond to various possible scenarios wherever and whenever they occur. the second pillar of our plan is security and border integrity, we have a clear and vigorous procedure in place to keep our border secure and canadian safe. people who cross our borders irregularly are arrested and subjected to a thorough security screening and let me be very clear on this one, no one leaves a port of entry until that security screening is complete. third, canadians expect of us
that we will uphold her international obligations which have been enshrined into our own canadian laws since the 1970s. canada respected its legal obligations and people who are fleeing prosecution have a right to claim asylum and a right to due process. despite what certain colleagues continue to suggest, respecting our legal obligations to asylum claimants, it's not a choice. it's the law. we recognize it is important to ensure that claims are processed quickly so that those were found to be in need of protection get to stay and those who do not have a legitimate claim for canada's protection have to leave. they are promptly removed. this is why we have invested $74 million into the refugee board that decides asylum claims. this funding will allow us to hire 249 new staff at the irb including 64 new decision-makers. our fourth pillar is
cooperation with provincial and visible partners. we continue to work very closely with municipalities and all our partners on issues thasuch as contingency planning and housing to make sure an orderly process is in place. québec asked us so that asylum-seekers may have minimal pressure, minimum impact on the social services and so we listened and kept processing times for asylum-seekers from three months down to three weeks. i am confident that the new ontario government has so far refused to play its part, but we remain confident that we could still find a way to work together in upholding our laws and meeting our obligations. it is what canadians expect of us, and i urge my colleagues in ontario to come back to the table.
the fifth pillar of our plan is the intense outreach campaign directed at impacted communities and populations. irregular entry is not a shortcut to get canada and we delivered that message consistently and extensively both at home and abroad with real results. in fact, through members of parliament and consulate and the canadian embassy in washington, we have engaged in more than 600 key stakeholders in the past year. to come from this information and explain how the system works in one of the risk associated with irregular entry. >> our sixth and final is engagement. we have worked very closely with u.s. officials and our government will continue to engage the u.s. government to prevent the misuse of u.s. issued visas and to pursue the modernization of the agreement. we also continue to work actively with key source
countries and transit countries to deter legal migration. recently i traveled to nigeria when my counterparts agreed to help facilitate those whose asylum claims have failed. mr. chair, at this point i would like to address our government fiscal plan to deal with irregular migration. as you know budget 2018 had already pledged 173-point to million dollars to manage the increased number of people seeking asylum in canada. these resources were takin taken into account to start the year. subsequently on june 1, the government of canada pledged an initial $59, the promises that have warned the majority of the cost associated. of this amount 11 million will go directly. [inaudible] as you know the budget cycle is an open, transparent
process whereby fellow have the chance to review the expenditures and review how taxpayer money is being spent and to award on supplements accordingly. new resource requirements regarding irregular will be in the estimates. with the additional estimates in 2018, and the ongoing collaboration with our various partners, we have made significant progress in managing the situation effectively. we are prepared for any potential future influx of asylum claims. with that said, i should note that the volume of asylum claimants crossing the border irregular lee has gone down significantly. in june 2018 there were 1263 irregular border crossings to claim asylum this was the lowest monthly recorded since
june 2017. spread the signals the continued decrease and positive development. this is also why we were worked very closely with all our partners, particularly the city of. [inaudible] and the providences that are impacted most significantly by this issue priority talked about the wish to work with the province of ontario. we've also made significant refinements and operations to prepare for future influx is of asylum claimants.
would like to ensure rapid and nimble responses to any new influxes. enhanced coronation among all our partners including federal relations planning, most notably through the governmental tax force or irregular migration. we fast-track work permit from all the silent claims in order to alleviate the pressure on the social assistance of government. worworking to develop a system of triage to enhance our management abilities and also move them to locations they can help find temporary housing. but i'm confident we will continue work with all our partners to effectively address the situation. although it's difficult to predict future flows as i've indicated, we are working cooperatively and efficiently to deal with what is in front
of us now. that is a challenge, but not a crisis. to prepare for any future influxes. in closing, i would like to commend our personnel as well as irc c and the irb for their exemplary work. they have all performed their duties in a professional and highly effective manner. we are ensuring that we uphold our responsibilities to treat vulnerable people with dignity and respect. thank you for this opportunity to give the overview to members of this community and i look forward to answering any questions you may have. >> thank you very much minister. we will just have remarks, i also welcome deputy and officials from public safety and emergency preparedness
were with us and from the agency. questions may end up getting directed anywhere out there but we will begin for seven minutes. >> thank you ministers for being here. also thank you to mr. blair, all five of us are proud of your role here. i just want to commend, there's been some confusion as to the use of language with respect to the use of the word illegal. can you clarify your position on this? >> thank you very much. it gives me an opportunity to be clear and consistent on this. crossing, any individual crossing our border from the united states between ports of entry is committing an illegal act because they are crossing
the border illegally, however, once that person claims asylum, then that charge is pending the determination of the refugee claim. once they are on canadian soil, the charge is paid pending the determination of the asylum claim. >> thank you. can you just give us a sense, the opposition has been trying to predict or ask different officials to predict the number of people expected the computer in the next few months a few years and also budget based on. [inaudible] can you tell us the practical difficulty in making such a prediction. >> we are not the only country that receives asylum claimants. we are seeing in the world, a record number of people on the move since the second world
war and again, we are not immune to it. what we are committed to is to ensure we enforce canadian law but also meet our international obligations to continue to provide asylum to those who seek it and do so through an independent process that determines who requires the file menu does it. because of those trends, because of the fluctuations, not just between years but even within the year, it's difficult to predict with any certainty, how many people are going to show up at your border or claim asylum in a given year. having said that, we are seeing an increase on the number of people claiming asylum. too many industrialized countries in the world, and that is why we have developed a national operations plan that is taken in all the lessons we have learned from last year to make sure that were ready for any eventuality
spread the numbers have decreased over the last number of months and the trend is downward. we are ready. >> mr. blair, you had a chance to visit yesterday. i believe you've already spoken with both ministers in ontario as well as victoriana number of cajuns with respect to this. can you advise us, first well, are you satisfied with plan we have, and secondly, do you believe that going forward is a possibility to engage all three levels of government toward a workable plan that will support all those who come here as well as canadians? >> very much. so the question, i think it's not only possible, i think it's absolutely essential that we work together. i think all three orders of government have a shared response ability to uphold the law, to help this country fulfill its international obligations, and to serve all of our citizens by working
collaboratively together. there are responsibilities, municipalities, the territories and the federal government share and i think were stronger and more effective when we work together. we have seen excellent cooperation on these very colligative files in québec, and we've had very productive discussions in the past few months with the city of toronto, and i remain convinced that we can, and must work collaboratively with all providences and territories and all orders a government so that we might all fulfill our response ability. >> and if i may, i believe this year 43% of those who have come to canada have come to ontario, the number of the last three years or so has been anywhere from 38 to 40% so the net beneficiary of immigration including refugees is out of ontario. can you tell us why it's an
economic imperative for a place like ontario to ensure that they support those who are coming in, those immigrants and refugees, and what the economic benefit for the entire country. >> that's a very important question for the fact the matter is our immigration system has always had room for both economic immigration and also refugees, and in the past we've seen when canadians have responded generously to provide protection to those who are seeking protection, those folks have eventually integrated into canadian society and have been outstanding citizens. if you look at the track record canada has with respect to its people, those are people who came to our country seeking protection and canadians responded generously , and no one can argue today that the vietnamese community is not integrated. they are exemplary citizens were now in turn giving back
and sponsoring other refugees including syrian refugees. i think studies done by not only the canadian government, but also others have shown that all immigrants make a contribution to their host community. they fill the labor market shortages, they bring skills and entrepreneurial spirit to the host community and what they're saying is the issue of irregular migration is a challenge that faces us and we have an obligation that canadians expect of us to work together, to meet that challenge, and these solutions are easier arrived at when we work together. >> thank you. if i may, my family came here 35 years ago this year, and as a result that took place on the evening intro longer worth
thousands were killed and, for the record i like to share my profound appreciation to this country and the u.s. minister acting in that capacity. i want to thank you for allowing myself and thousands of others to come here and it's a very important moment for me personally. >> thank you. >> it's not a matter of shopping for the country that you want. it's a matter of escaping the oppression that you face. minister blair, would you agree with that statement? >> i think the purpose of seeking refuge is to escape from the threat of death or serious harm, and so those who come seeking refuge and make
the claim, i think we have a responsibility to make sure that those are adjudicated according to due process and thoroughly. >> so that statement was made by deputy prime minister john manley upon the signature of the country agreement in 2002. that agreement was signed after canada was in a very similar situation today. it was designed to prevent people from entering canada and seeking asylum after reaching the united states. now, in a scrum today, the minister was asked if he intended to ask the americans because he had asserted that they wouldn't accept people back if we extend the agreement, and he said he was waiting for the americans to start conversation. was that an official invitation for the american government to start negotiations with yourself or whoever's in charge. >> i would presume, in terms of those remarks, but i would
invite everyone to be involved in those conversations. >> you are now in charge, and i'm asking you question, welcome to committee. so was that an official extension of an invitation to the united states to enter into negotiation with yourself to close the loophole on the -- >> aiken advises committee that i've had the opportunity to eke with both ministers about conversations they have had with their counterparts and although i think it better if the minister was able to speak for himself, i can tell you. [inaudible] >> you are in charge so what would you do. >> they've indicated to me that those conversations have been taking place with their counterparts in the united states and there is a process, you cannot unilaterally change an international agreement. >> just yes or no. >> of the conversation that we have. >> it is my time. mr. chair, minister blair.
>> before you continue, i just remind the committee that the witnesses may agree to answer question or the client to answer question or they may refer to that question to someone else who is a witness at the committee. that is long-established as committee procedure but i just remind all the committee members that is the right of everyone we invite to be a witness. >> thank you. >> so minister blair, was that an extension of an invitation question would you extend an invitation to the american government to start a conversation on closing the loophole in the country agreement. >> what i will undertake is to continue to work with mr. caddell and being conversations with those relationships they have already taken an established. >> parliamentary secretary suggested that the triage system was designed to redistribute the problem. how many people will be redistributed from québec after entering ontario
shelters in the next 18 months? >> i can tell you my understanding of the triage system is to ensure that refugee claimants. [inaudible] have the opportunity to be placed, in a place where they are most likely to be successful, safe place so the burden. >> , the people will be triaged because your parliamentary also said that further installments would be allocated and they could tell us how much or how many immigration was in charge. now you're in charge in your counterpart decide you had noted that parliamentarians have the right to scrutinize expenses. we found that there will be future installments but we don't know under what circumstances. how many people are you planning to house in hotels over the next 18 months who have crossed at rock some road.
>> if i may, i would like to refer that question to the officials that would a far more accurate answer. >> the triaged concept that we are currently designing would see us triage one 100% of the arrival. >> how many. >> one 100%. >> how many, quantifiably, precisely, how many people are you planning to put in hotels after they crossed at rock some road in the next 18 months. >> i'm sorry was answering the first question. >> the question was how can we know that. we need to have a plan at this time. you've got 800 people who are about to move out of shelters. you need to know. you have made a policy decision not to close the loophole in this agreement and we need to know if you are adequately budgeting for the integration. the entire pillar that you outlined here on working with the provinces talks nothing about the long-term integration costs of people and you forgotten the opposite side of the coin. you forgotten that it's not just about processing or
taking a picture with them. you have to figure out how you're going to pay for the need. so, mr. minister blair, how many people are you anticipating will have to put in a hotel in the next 18 months? >> the plan that we have in place is not a new plan. >> , the people are you planning to put in a hotel. >> mr. chair, if i may be able to answer this. >> no, we need to know the spread we have gone through hours of meetings and i still don't understand how many people are coming through. >> we just remind the member that a question is normally placed through the chair and if you'd like to do that that would be fine. >> point of order on the court. you raise the rights of the minister to answer questions or not. this is the umpteenth committee meeting we've had. we have 800 people about to be evicted from a shelter or college dormitories in ontario and i've had three ministers plus a new minister who doesn't know what his job is, countless department officials, supplementary
estimate, the budgetary process, committee of the whole, order paper questions and we still don't know how many people they are projecting to come in and how they are budgeting for these expenses. that is not compassionate because we are in situations where they are having to go outside and piecemeal money to put people in hotels and were not talking about how are going to put together an integration plan for language training. i am just, at this point in time on the quorum, i cannot believe that we have ministers in front of this committee again with no numbers on projections, and they have to have this to the parliamentary budget officer by thursday. >> i'm just going to say that this is not a point of order. it moved into debate. is there point of order over here. >> mr. chair. >> i don't believe it was a point of order. i believe it was continued debate. >> minister blair. >> i'm asking a question. i will ask you a question.
you plan to comply with the parliamentary budget officer's request. >> mrs. jeremy verity indicated that questions been directed through you. i believe the last intervention indicated that question was directly. >> let me rephrase that. mr. chair, this is my time, and i will ask a question of the minister. so through you mr. chair, will the minister comply with parliamentary budget officer's request to provide projections on the amount of people they anticipate coming through the border in the next 18 months by thursday? it's been requested for five years. if that is due on thursday, why don't they have it here after we approved the $22000 budget for the study which the government members are unwilling to provide a report for. >> mr. chair, i can advise you this financial data has been compiled and it will be provided to the parliamentary urgent officers in the coming day as required. >> why hasn't it been provided to our committee for review?
by have an event provided to the ontario provincial government? why that secrecy and no plan? >> again,. [inaudible] >> thank you miserable. thank you minister. >> thank you very much mr. chair, and welcome to all the witnesses including the two ministers. i want to get back to this point but the minister, the word illegal versus irregular. i think it's a very central point. we just heard from a number of expert witnesses about the importance of using the right terminology and that when you call, when people call asylum-seekers illegal, they are dehumanizing them and their dignity. they also have other repercussions as well. on march the 19th, you agree
that you would use those words interchangeably, illegal and irregular. i believe it's wrong and today, i just heard you also say, at one point in your statement, refer to migrants as illegal migrants. i just can't tell you how disturbed i am about that, we also have minister macleod who appeared before us, and she actually said that she is using the word illegal because she took a page off of you. that's why she's using that. so once and for all, can we move forward with the right terminology. you are the immigration minister. under the protection act, it speaks clearly under section 133 that asylum-seekers who cross over directly or indirectly, they are actually not committing an offense. so will you please use the right terminology and say clearly on the public record that it is wrong for immigration purposes to say
asylum seekers were crossing over illegally that they are irregular. >> i noticed that the language being used from the government of ontario. i haven't used it. >> well actually, you did, if you go back to read from committee on march 11, you are asked. >> i was referring to the act of crossing the border. i wasn't referring to the asylum-seekers themselves. >> well, okay, so you're saying that for csa, the act of crossing the border is illegal, but then once they cross over and they make it clear to say they are seeking asylum they're not committing a criminal offense. will you say that? >> i've said it in my statement. >> let me ask you this. in your statement, you also said, and i quote, charges pending asylum claim, what charges? >> the charge of crossing the
border irregularly. >> asylum-seekers, when they cross over seeking asylum at the regular border crossings are not charged. there asylum claim is pending the determination, do not know that. >> i do know that. >> and why would you say that charges are pending asylum claim when you make these comments minister. >> when you make these comments you are inflating the issue and stripping asylum-seekers their dignity. you are dehumanizing them. you are implying that somehow they are acting in an illegal manner and it does not help this conversation. it does not help this approach. >> will you give me an opportunity to clear the air. i have not done that. in fact have gone on my way to make sure i defend the right of people to claim asylum in canada. i've defended their humanity and have fought back against those who seek to dehumanize. >> sorry minister, that is not really the case. if you're honest with yourself
and you go back and look at answered the comments that you have made and you have used the word illegal and irregular interchangeably to the detriment of the asylum-seekers. i want to turn to another issue. on a safer country agreement, we just heard a story of mrs. mohammed who has crossed over, he had other people who crossed over irregularly as well as he has called for the government to suspend the country agreement. someone who has lived that experience. is that something you will do today. >> i like to acknowledge and sympathize with individuals who are seeking asylum, who are clean. >> and sorry minister, only have seven minutes. i'm going to get to the answer. it's important for us to acknowledge the humanity and dignity of these people. the country agreement is premised on a principle
supported by the united nations which is that people should claim asylum in the first country that they land in. according to the analysis,. [inaudible] see you take the point of view that the u.s. is a safe country for inland asylum-seekers. all right. the united states has a standing policy where they will not accept any applications for gendered base asylum claimants based on domestic violence and gang violence. that is their standing policy at this point in time. for any asylum-seekers who shows up at their part border seeking asylum because of domestic violence or gang violence they will be automatically rejected producing that safety asylum-seekers. >> i will answer your question by stating that we do conduct analysis of the u.s. domestic asylum system. the policy that you referred
to, we are analyzing the impact of that policy direction on the u.s. domestic asylum system. as of today the u.s. asylum system continues to provide due process and appeal rights and actually has acceptance rate comparable to canada and many other industrialized countries who accept asylum-seekers. >> aside from the fact that the u.s. has a standing policy that rejects domestic asylum fleeing violence because of the domestic violence or gang violence, they also have over 400 children that have been separated from the parents, whether parents have left the u.s. and then deported. so effectively those children are orphans. that is the current situation and i don't know how minister, i am sad. >> will that is wrong. >> i'm sad to hear that you consider the u.s. is safe country.
on the issue of plans of the lack thereof, the government is taking an ad hoc approach to dealing with the situation and is inadequate. so on the question about a plan, will you consider changing the immigration levels plan for the protective persons stream from 16000 to doubling at sea can properly account made eight the influx that we are faced with today. >> in anticipation of the rising global migration patterns as well as those seeking asylum, we did, proactively, as the government, raise our protected persons allegation by 4000, that shows us that we were ready. [inaudible] moving to mrs. mendez, would you like me too carry on or do you think you can manage. >> i think i can manage, that no one else has. [laughter] , then please jump in
mr. chair. thank you for coming back into the officials for coming back today. ministers, my question goes to you. earlier today we heard from the mayor of chatham, randy hope, about how the asylum issue is actually in his eyes an opportunity for communities like chatham. he talked about the demand for labor that exists in the community, labor that doesn't always require previous experience or high-level of education. today, incidentally, the institute put out a briefing note titled canada can benefit economically from the asylum search. i think all of this is relevant to the discussion, as i say they see an opportunity, not a crisis in the challenge before us. what do you say to mayors like him who leads the community,
it's very close to lebanon ontario and has always shown welcoming hand to refugees going back all the way to the times of the underground railroad, excepting many syrian refugees, and the mayors quite opened this, and he sees it from a compassionate perspective, but he also against either from an economic perspective. i know you've talked about many work permits being issued, but if you could center on the whole issue of a community like his who see a real chance for economic growth and jobs. >> thank you very much for the question. the fact of the matter is, this is a challenge that is faced by many countries, including canada, and we remain committed as a government to making sure that we apply canadian laws and meter international
oppositions for the opposition feels we have to choose between one or the other, but we feel we can do both and we have them both. secondly, we remain committed as a country and a government to make sure that we don't turn back people were seeking protection. we don't turn them back to persecution and death and torture because we assigned international conventions to make sure that we don't do that. when we have responded as a country, and as communities to provide protection to those folks, we have seen the contributions they've been able to make as new citizens. now, we also, as part of canadian law, make sure that those were not in need of protection are also removed and that protection is only afforded to those who can prove their need for refugee protection. i commend the mayor of chatham and meniscal leaders for standing up to assist these people will they work for their hearing to be able to support themselves for the
majority of asylum-seekers want to work while they wait for the hearings because they and we don't want folks to be a burden or put pressures on provincial social problems. >> 15 seconds, i yielded to my friend ms. mendez. >> think it's a much mr. chair. welcome both. i would like to go back to a comment made about the budgetary issues around welcoming or facilitating, if you wish due process for asylum claims. they claim this would be out of budgetary forecast, i believe that no, we always have a margin within our budget to deal with unplanned
cases. it's almost the same issue with the question of housing for the 800 people in toronto to have to leave dormitories. first of all, i don't think asylum is ever a planned issue for anybody. nobody plans to seek asylum. they're always forced into that situation, and for a country that is seen by others as a haven, and a welcoming country, we can have an idea from year-to-year that you're gonna welcome 15000, 20000 more or less, but you can't really put a number or an exact number of how many are going to receive every day or every week or every month. so you have to keep a certain flexibility and capacity to adjust to whatever needs
present themselves at the border, in this instance so, would you address the budgetary issue, just to reassure our colleagues that this is all within the current budget, and that is not outside. >> absolutely, we budgeted 173-point to million dollars toward irregular migration. one of the key pieces in the allocation is $74 million to the integration refugee but precisely so that claims can be heard faster so that we can have a much better, faster and final system. that's important because for folks who have a legitimate claim for refugee status, they can find out their decisions faster and move on with their lives. for those who do not have a legitimate claim, they can also be moved faster. i think from the mentally,
what our government disagrees adamantly with the opposition and beating around the bush on this is that they did, they're not coming out thing this, but they don't fundamentally believe that we should live up to our international obligation with respect to asylum claimants. they are international obligations that we have signed on and that are now embedded in canadian law. providing due process to these people as part of canadian law that is not a choice as you've heard from the minister and others. and so, as a country, we are obligated to make sure that if an individual claims asylum, we accord them to process but having said that, as we move forward, we do have a plan in place based on last year's experience, and that plan is premised not just on further investments in irb, but also collaborating with province and, making sure asylum-seekers are able to
support themselves by providing them with work permits so that they are able to work while they wait for their hearings. >> thank you. i would like to take proud of, the chair asked one question, and it's not really tongue-in-cheek but it's on this economic issue and we are hearing, i need of providences to have some sharing of the burden and willingness of the government. have any of the providences offered to reimburse the federal government for the cost of refugee processing due to the huge economic advantage it will receive over ten of 20 years and the like the people around the table who have been received as refugees? >> mr. chair, no, that hasn't been brought, but it's a good question. >> we think about an economic belt, a minute counted.
>> ministers, mr. blair, how many people have crossed the border illegally since your government has been in power? [speaking in native tongue] >> you don't have the number yourself? you have been appointed for the minister responsible for borders, you're in charge, you don't have the numbers? you're not aware of that? >> -these response abilities and so i am asking for information from officials. i now have that information in front of me. on the asylum claim by type as totaled in 2017 was 50864 and thomas so far from january 1
until july 10, 2018, there has been a total of irregular asylum claims of 11408 >> .the border [speaking in native tongue] you said 52017? illegally? i'm just wondering, we've had a lot of discussion about illegal versus irregular. that was the question, i'm not sure that was the answer we've got >> if i may clarify, under the translation, i wasn't picking that up, but let me be very clear, the irregular refugee claimants, if that in fact was the question, the irregular claimants from january, excuse me for 2017, the regular was 19002 and so far, in 2018, july 1 to july 10 which proceeds my appointment, the
regular my migration is 11408. okay. excellent. >> minister, that means 30,000 people, the difference between those two numbers cross the border illegally, the border between the united states and canada since your government takes power. earlier today you stated that during your visit, what you saw there was an orderly process. do you believe that 30,000 people crossing the border illegally is something that can be described by the word orderly? what i was referring to was the processing of the irregular refugee claimants,
asylum-seekers that have entered the country. i had the opportunity to witness a very professional and seamless process conducted and irc see, in all of those agencies working well and collaboratively together, i thought an excellent effort on behalf of to conduct investigations to ensure there is no criminality or risk to the security of canada, and they were doing an excellent job, and then a very orderly transition then into the hands of csa and irc see. >> we welcome [inaudible] >> what you are describing is orderly, something that your government has already called illegal. your government, according to the minister's words said that
crossing the border in this manner is illegal. i find difficult to reconcile these two concepts. on the one hand, illegal and on the other hand orderly. i think, 70% of canadians believe that the government doesn't have a plan. earlier today, miserable asked you a question. she asked what agencies report directly to you as a minister. : : :
>> not directly, no. >> if it reports indirectly? >> im working with a minister that does report to the safety and emergency preparedness. >> what do you do? if you are responsible for this issue don't report to you then what do you do is minister? >> i haven't given the responsibility to work across the ministries in order to address the challenges that we face in dealing with for those who are seeking asylum not only within our own government but policies and territories.
>> if i can just conclude mr. chairman the fact that none of the relevant agencies report to suggest to canadians that your appointment was more of a political statement rather than a practical fact. >> this is a great place for me to start because this has been asked again of disturbed layer and -- mr. blair and his role with his experience of intergovernmental relations and helping to shepherd the legislation through both houses of parliament which was a huge endeavor. you can just explain to the committee what expertise you have to reassure canadians that this is important for canada to get right.
>> i thank you for your kind words. i have four decades of experience. i have had the opportunity over the course of that career and as you have indicated to manage a complex file. with legislation as an example that had an impact. i answered directly to the minister of justice and health with a great deal of involvement with federal ministries working with senior officials and municipalities across the country as well as engaging with other communities. >> there are a number of files
and that i could be of assistance to the ministers to make sure that cross ministry and collaboration. because this is important to canadians. with respect to border security. issues around organized crime and gun violence are always of concern and with those contributions which i'm sure will be up soon. i just want to thank the witnesses for coming today to combat the information to make sure it is well-managed that
was clear from all the testimony today. all of those for the expertise on security and housing and international human rights. and what comes out of the study and then it determines its own agenda in the fall. and with those recommendations coming from this community anyway. so with that six pillar plan coming out of the government hoping that the minister could provide some final remarks with what did come out today to modernize the discussion there about modernizing it.
and the timelines for processing. u.s. has 180 days for determination for their benchmark. i know this is separate but anything they are working towards in that regard? >> thank you very much. with that bilateral agreement and expressing the viewpoint to the united states like any other agreement requires to see how we can modernize technology but also information sharing. and by harnessing those developments. on the issue of what the government is trying to do and what we have effectively done
is we have learned the lessons from last year that has been tested on the ground with different players. and to collaborate there is a system in place and they have to come to canada in the past that this is a new phenomenon. we have 30,000 asylum seekers. so the fact of the matter is that that there is an additional 64 decision-makers. so that canada can continue to meet the obligations. despite that rhetoric by the opposition we will remain committed that we cannot let
right here is when it first starts to wyden and deepen turning into the classic views you see in those photographs or calendars or famous images. >> thinking of this as abandoned and completely empty vet it is very important for a lot of the descendents of the ancestral pueblo people. they could come here to do ceremonies because they believe their ancestors are still here. this is an important site.