A refugee crisis looming, advocates say

Michael Swan, The Catholic Register

There’s a storm coming, warns FCJ Refugee Centre executive director Loly Rico. “Our numbers have increased very highly,” Rico told The Catholic Register.

As one of a handful of organizations that serves asylum seekers in Toronto, Rico is seeing a significant slice of a staggering 61,890 asylum claims processed in Canada the first eight months of this year — already more than twice the 24,930 asylum claims processed in 2021. As COVID travel restrictions eased this spring, it wasn’t just vacationers on the move. The eight-month total of asylum claims for 2022 is 97 per cent of the total for 2019, the last full year before the pandemic and the all-time record.

At the front door, FCJ is greeting an average of 60 people a day looking for help. “Every day we see families coming,” Rico said, and those families typically need housing, English classes and legal help with their asylum claims. All are in short supply. […]

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