Quebec wants Ottawa to speed up processing asylum seekers
Quebec is calling on Ottawa to step up the pace in processing newly arrived asylum seekers.
More than 3,300 people are currently waiting in temporary residences across the province.
The provincial government said the newcomers are putting a strain on the system, because it’s responsible for providing services to those people with temporary status. Quebec is providing them a place to stay, food, and other services, though all of that changes when and if the asylum seekers move on to the next step in the process. That is decided by Ottawa
So far, only 1,007 people have moved on to permanent status while they await their refugee claim hearing.
Although Quebec says Ottawa has been very helpful with tents provided by the army at the Lacolle border, the province also said Ottawa could provide even more space to hold people while they are awaiting their hearing – on military bases, for example.
Quebec Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil said Ottawa's processing means migrants can start working while they are waiting for their refugee hearing.
“These people want to work and I think it's important for Quebecers to understand that these people want to work. They understand that these are human beings in a difficult situation. There will be an evaluation of their situation, but in the meantime, they want to work. They'll pay taxes when they work,” said Weil.
A news conference is scheduled for Thursday at which federal officials are expected to announce what their plans are to deal with the wave of migrants
Weil will be in attendance.