N.S. has so far welcomed 113 asylum seekers who entered Canada through Quebec

HALIFAX — More than one hundred asylum seekers who entered Canada through an irregular border crossing in southern Quebec have been transferred to Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia Immigration Minister Jill Balser said Thursday 50 people had arrived in the province by bus since the day prior, for a total of 113.

The transfer of asylum seekers to Nova Scotia is in reaction to a request from Quebec, whose government has for months said it could no longer handle the influx of would-be refugees who are entering Canada through Roxham Road, an irregular border crossing on the border with New York state.

Balser said following a cabinet meeting that Nova Scotia is working closely with the federal government on accommodations, settlement needs and work permits for the asylum seekers, who are currently staying in hotels.

She said Ottawa will pay for asylum seekers to stay in hotels for up to 60 days, adding that she plans to work with community organizations to help them find longer-term housing.

The 113 people transferred to Nova Scotia entered Canada through Roxham Road from countries of origin that include Turkey, Haiti and Pakistan, among others, Balser said.

All four Atlantic premiers have expressed openness to bringing in some of the migrants who are crossing into southern Quebec through Roxham Road. Quebec Premier François Legault has pleaded with Ottawa to transfer to other provinces some of the tens of thousands of would-be refugees who have arrived in the province through that route.

To date, New Brunswick's Immigration Department said 18 asylum seekers had been sent to that province. Premier Blaine Higgs said some 150 to 200 individuals could be transferred to New Brunswick.

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 Roxham Road.

Balser said Nova Scotia has not set a limit for how many asylum seekers it will welcome.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2023.


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

Lyndsay Armstrong, The Canadian Press