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London still has chance at reimbursement for asylum claimant costs despite missing deadline

Two men who identified themselves as asylum seekers walk along York Street in London, Ont. in August 2023. (Daryl Newcombe/CTV News London) Two men who identified themselves as asylum seekers walk along York Street in London, Ont. in August 2023. (Daryl Newcombe/CTV News London)
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Local leaders are expressing optimism about recouping some of the costs incurred by local shelters housing an influx of asylum claimants.

London North Centre MP Peter Fragiskatos told CTV News London an initial meeting has been held between federal officials and the city.

“We are in a positive position,” Fragiskatos said. “Things have moved along well.”

He added that the federal government has requested additional information from city hall about the costs.

The city has expressed a willingness to provide the information.

In April, Fragiskatos expressed disappointment that London missed the deadline to apply for federal reimbursement of eligible costs, and said he would work alongside city hall to secure some funding.

People arriving in Canada seeking asylum are increasingly travelling to London and staying in emergency shelters for homeless Londoners.

From May 2023 to March of this year there were 123 asylum claimants who spent 11,073 total nights in shelter beds— 11.9 per cent of the city’s capacity.

It’s estimated to have cost the city approximately $1 million.

Civic Administration admitted they were unaware of the deadline to apply for federal reimbursement of those costs.

Fragiskatos however remains focussed on the funding, rather than assigning blame.

“I remain optimistic,” he said. “I am choosing to be constructive, and I am not pointing fingers. That’s not going to serve anyone.”

During Tuesday’s council meeting, Mayor Josh Morgan struck a positive tone about the progress to date.

“I appreciate all of my colleagues’ concerns, and it’s good to know that we can not only articulate the full cost, but actually ensure that we can capture the costs that are in the past as well,” he said. 

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