Ottawa will help Atlantic provinces that want to welcome asylum seekers: Trudeau

HALIFAX — The prime minister says Ottawa will financially help Atlantic provinces that are willing to welcome some of the thousands of asylum seekers who have entered the country outside official ports of entry.

Justin Trudeau said today in Halifax that it's "great news" Atlantic premiers have expressed openness to bringing in some of the would-be refugees who are crossing into southern Quebec at irregular checkpoints such as Roxham Road.

Quebec Premier François Legault has asked the federal government to transfer all the new arrivals to other provinces, saying Quebec's community organizations and social services can no longer handle the increased demand.

All four Atlantic Canada premiers recently indicated they were willing to do their part in accepting asylum seekers -- so long as Ottawa helped with funding.

Trudeau did not specify how much money the federal government would offer, but he said Ottawa would help the Atlantic provinces in the same way it has helped Quebec manage the flow of asylum seekers.

He added that his administration is continuing to renegotiate a key border agreement with the United States, adding that the topic will be on the agenda when U.S. President Joe Biden visits Canada next month.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2023.

The Canadian Press