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Toronto mayor appeals to Ottawa, province for help sheltering influx of refugees

Mayor John Tory says an emergency reception centre will have to open in the next week to accommodate an influx of refugees.
Mayor John Tory says an emergency reception centre will have to open in the next week to accommodate an influx of refugees.

Mayor John Tory says the city of Toronto needs help from other governments to ease increasing pressures on the shelter system.

At a news conference Friday, Tory said an average of 10 migrants and refugees enter the city every day.

“Toronto needs meaningful and immediate help addressing this situation from other governments,” he said.

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“If these daily new arrivals continue as we expect them too to some degree or another, we will be in a position within the next seven days where we will need to open an emergency reception centre to accommodate the arrival of these additional families.”

In a report put before the budget committee Friday, it was projected that the city will spend $64 million with a $20 million shortfall by the end of the year.

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Tory said he attributes this to the shelter system issues and the increased investments the city’s had to make.

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Migrants and refugees make up about 40.8 per cent (2,883 people) of all people in shelters, though 1,720 refugees have found private accommodations, Tory said.

Another 1,080 are housed in motels.

“I’m reiterating today my urgent request to provincial and federal governments to take immediate action to relieve the city of Toronto of this pressure and help find accommodations for these families,” he said.

Since the last time he appealed for help on April 26, Tory said 334 additional refugee claimants have entered the system.