Quebec preparing welfare payments for asylum seekers
QUEBEC -- A spokesman for Quebec's employment minister says the provincial government will hand out welfare cheques to several thousand asylum seekers next week.
Simon Laboissonniere says an estimated 4,000 people will get money for the month of September.
The minimum basic monthly payment will be $623, while there will be an additional sum depending on the recipient's family status.
The three-day operation will take place at Montreal's Palais des congres convention centre, beginning next Wednesday.
Laboissonniere said it is easier to hand out the cheques in one place.
Once they have received the cheques, the asylum seekers will be asked to leave their temporary shelters and seek permanent accommodation.
Employment Minister Francois Blais is expected to hold a news conference in Quebec City on Thursday afternoon to discuss the measures.
Nearly 10,000 people have been apprehended at the border since the start of the year as they've sought to enter Canada in order to claim refugee status -- almost equivalent to the total number of claims filed for all of 2013.
Of those who have arrived this year, nearly 7,000 have arrived just since July, the vast majority at an unofficial crossing point between Quebec and New York.