Quebec: Feds owe us $300M for refugees
MONTREAL — Quebec Premier Francois Legault said he made progress during Friday’s First Ministers meeting on his demand that the federal government pay $300 million in compensation to cover the cost of refugees arriving in the province.
Legault said the feds had previously offered to cover only the cost of lodging the asylum seekers — about half of what Quebec was seeking.
“This afternoon they have moved forward a little more to say they are ready to look at other expenses besides lodging,” Legault told reporters at the end of the meeting.
“We will have discussions with the bills between ministers and bureaucrats to get as close as possible to $300 million. It is a lot of money.”
Since 2017, there has been an influx of asylum seekers entering Quebec across the U.S. border.
Legault said it takes more than 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.
He said the federal government is responsible for the lengthy delays in the system.
“I expect Mr. (Justin) Trudeau to compensate us,” he said before meeting the prime minister and his fellow premiers.
Quebec’s Francois Legault attends the First Ministers meeting in Montreal.