Quebec demands $1B in compensation from Ottawa over ‘inaction’ on asylum seekers

Click to play video: 'Quebec government demands $1B from Ottawa for asylum seekers'
Quebec government demands $1B from Ottawa for asylum seekers
WATCH: The Quebec government is repeating its calls to Ottawa. It says the province is at its breaking point when it comes to welcoming more asylum seekers, and some ministers are going as far as to call this a humanitarian crisis. But opposition parties and community groups say the CAQ government's rhetoric when it comes to immigration is doing more harm than good. Global's Franca Mignacca reports. – Feb 20, 2024

The Quebec government is ramping up pressure on Ottawa to do more to ease the strain on its services caused by an influx of asylum seekers.

Four provincial ministers held a news conference today demanding that the federal government stop the arrival of would-be refugees in Quebec and transfer those already in the province more equally across the country.

They say Quebec, which has less than a quarter of the Canadian population, receives 55 per cent of all asylum seekers.

Click to play video: 'Quebec immigration minister says asylum seekers without French should not be forced to leave'
Quebec immigration minister says asylum seekers without French should not be forced to leave

The ministers are also calling on Ottawa to fully reimburse the province for what they say is $1 billion spent in the past three years settling refugee claimants.

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Today’s news conference follows a series of public complaints by Quebec on the refugee issue, with the ministers saying the $150 million pledged so far by Ottawa to help the province house asylum seekers is not nearly enough.

Education Minister Bernard Drainville told reporters that the number of arriving children who need to attend school and learn French is leading to a “breaking point” in the school system.

Quebec Immigration Minister Christine Fréchette accuses Ottawa of “inaction” and suggests there isn’t a sense of urgency among federal officials to deal with the issue.

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