Quebec says Ottawa owes it $300 million for costs related to refugee influx
MONTREAL - Quebec Premier Francois Legault plans to press Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Friday’s first ministers’ meeting for $300 million in federal compensation to cover the cost of refugees arriving in the province.
Legault said Ottawa is so far only offering half of what Quebec is seeking, but “there is an opening” from Trudeau for more money.
Since 2017, there has been an influx of asylum seekers entering Quebec across the United States border. Legault said that on average, it takes about 18 months for would-be refugees to find out if they can remain in the country.
In the meantime, Quebec pays for their housing, education and health care costs, which have totalled roughly $300 million over two years, Legault said Friday.
“I expect Mr. Trudeau to compensate us,” he said at a downtown Montreal hotel before meeting the prime minister and the country’s other premiers. “It’s unacceptable for it to take 18 months before (asylum seekers) get an answer. And in the majority of cases, they are refused, because they cannot prove that their life is in danger.”