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News release: March 21, 2024

Peel Region proposes an innovative, sustainable model to better support asylum claimants in the community

BRAMPTON, ON (March 21, 2024) – Peel Region will submit its Asylum Claimant Response – Moving Toward a Sustainable Model proposal to the federal and provincial governments to outline the funding requirements for adoption and implementation.

Canada is experiencing an unprecedented increase in the number of refugees due to complex geopolitical matters. Peel Region, like other Ontario urban centres, is experiencing a sharp rise in asylum claimants needing emergency shelter. This rise was first experienced in June 2023, and has continued to grow steadily with no anticipated pause.

To accommodate this surge, Peel’s Housing Services and its partners quickly mobilized to secure additional shelter facilities and overflow hotels; despite Peel’s emergency shelter system being drastically over-capacity (upwards of 350%) and under-funded. Through this approach, Peel was able to provide temporary shelter, and other housing and culturally appropriate social supports to asylum claimants in need.

Unfortunately, this emergency-level response is no longer sustainable and not in the best interest of asylum claimants facing unique challenges on their paths to successfully settling and integrating in Canada. As well, the emergency response is not a financially viable solution for Peel Region. Moving forward, we must differentiate our asylum claimant response from our emergency shelter and homelessness response.

Recognizing the unique needs of asylum claimants, a new model has been developed with two main components: a co-designed Regional Reception Centre with coordinated transfers to other municipalities and the creation of dedicated Peel-shelter facilities specifically for asylum claimants.

If operationalized, the Regional Reception Centre will serve the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), and provide a comprehensive array of services on-site, such as needs assessments, service navigation, orientation sessions, legal aid, IRCC information, Ontario Works information, language and settlement services, and health services where applicable. This person-centered approach will best equip asylum claimants with the appropriate resources to successfully integrate into our communities.

If the provincial and federal governments do not provide the adequate funding for the Regional Reception Centre, Peel will proceed with the asylum claimant-focused shelter facilities. However, this singular approach may cause further strain on our homelessness prevention efforts and hinder asylum claimants’ integration efforts.

Peel Region is therefore calling on the provincial and federal government to fund and support its proposed, sustainable model with an annual commitment of $62,000 per asylum claimant. Under this model, the funding will move with asylum claimants if they settle in other municipalities outside of Peel Region.

As well, Peel Region is seeking from the federal government full reimbursement of the one-time capital and annual operating costs required for the regional reception centre, once the site has been secured. Cost estimates are currently $10 million (capital) and $9.3 million annual operating; in addition to the previously announced $7 million.


On behalf of Peel Regional Council, I want to thank staff and partners for going above and beyond to support asylum claimants on their paths to settling in Canada. This is incredibly complex work that touches so many lives. As we move from a crisis-level response to a more sustainable solution, an all-governments approach is required. I look forward to sharing Peel’s proposed response and actioning its solutions together.

Nando Iannicca, Region of Peel Chair

The continued arrival of asylum seekers into the GTHA represents a growing social crisis. Peel Region’s already strained homelessness supports are nearing collapse. We cannot continue to simply lease additional hotels to provide temporary housing for thousands of asylum seekers. A new model is necessary to ensure all levels of government can work together and proper supports can be provided to those who are here and working to establish themselves in Canada, as well as the tens of thousands expected to continue to arrive into the GTHA.

Sean Baird, Commissioner of Human Services

Media contact

Stewart Lazarus
Communications Advisor
Region of Peel

About Peel Region

In 2024, Peel Region marks its 50th anniversary. Peel Region works with residents and partners to create a healthy, safe, and connected Community for Life for approximately 1.5 million people and over 200,000 businesses in Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon. Peel's services touch the lives of residents every day. For more information explore and follow us on X @regionofpeel and Instagram

On December 13, 2023, the Ontario government announced that Peel Region will not be dissolved, and that Bill 112 legislation will be updated to reflect service delivery in Peel. Services for residents and businesses will continue without interruption. For updates and more information, visit Peel's transition page.