‘The Case For Refugee Reception Centres,’ by Loly Rico

Asylum seekers are arriving in Canada in record numbers, sleeping in shelters, churches and sometimes on the street. Reception centres are a more humane approach, writes FCJ Refugee Centre’s Founder, Loly Rico, in Maclean’s Magazine.

Here is an extract ofthe article:


It’s often said that Canada is in the middle of a refugee crisis; I’d argue it’s more of a resource crisis, provoked by the federal government underfunding social housing for decades and not preparing for waves of refugees it should have known were coming. I am now seeing things I have never witnessed in my 34 years of advocacy: I can’t seem to refill the free bread in the FCJ lobby fast enough. I’ve heard of refugees being detained for arriving without proper identification and saying they’d rather stay in detention because their only other option is the street. People are saying, “I’d rather go back to my country and die quickly than die slowly here.” Last year, a refugee from Nigeria died while sleeping outside a shelter in Mississauga, Ontario, waiting for a bed.

To rectify this, in February, the federal government pledged $362 million to the provinces to house refugees. But money alone is not enough. Refugee claimants on temporary permits are ineligible for federal settlement services, which means they rely on provinces, municipalities, non-profits and public generosity from the moment they arrive on Canadian soil. Instead, they should immediately be directed to reception centres, centralized spaces with warm beds, food and wraparound supports to help them begin building their lives.


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