Atlantic Canada immigration ministers say they are prepared to welcome asylum seekers

HALIFAX — Immigration ministers from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador say they are committed to welcoming asylum seekers who have entered Canada outside official ports of entry, mostly through the Roxham Road crossing in Quebec.

Following a meeting of federal, provincial and territorial ministers in Halifax, federal Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said today he’s unable to put a number on how many asylum seekers the four Atlantic provinces could take in.

Fraser, who is the MP for the Nova Scotia riding of Central Nova, told reporters there’s no stated ceiling because the region routinely exceeds his expectations for welcoming newcomers.

Nova Scotia Immigration Minister Jill Balser says the province has so far received 134 asylum seekers who arrived in Quebec, and New Brunswick Immigration Minister Arlene Dunn says the province has taken in 57.

Newfoundland and Labrador Immigration Minister Gerry Byrne did not say if the province has already accepted any of the refugee claimants, but he says it is ready to receive asylum seekers in the coming days.

The transfer of asylum seekers east comes as the Quebec government has been saying for months it could no longer handle the influx of migrants entering Canada through an irregular border crossing on its border with New York state.

The federal government has reported that more than 39,000 people claimed asylum in Quebec in 2022 after crossing into Canada outside official ports of entry, mostly through the Roxham Road crossing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 10, 2023.


This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press