The President of the African Canadian Social Development Council, Kabu Asante has called on the Canadian government to develop a strategy for housing the increasing number of refugees in Toronto.
Mr Asante recounted that Revivaltime Tabernacle and Dominion Church International have housed more than 200 refugees.
He said that although the government has provided shelter for about 80 refugees amongst those sleeping on the sidewalk of 129 Peter Street, many still have yet to receive assistance.
He spoke to the media about the situation after some churches agreed to help out.
Mr Asante stated that it is not the fault of the refugees that they are in Canada, as many are fleeing their government’s decisions on sexuality-related issues.
He believes it is incumbent upon the Canadian government to ensure their needs and safety are met.
Mr Asante also reiterated the community’s readiness to support the government in finding a lasting solution, as Canada has a reputation to protect.
Ojie Eghobor, the President of the Nigerian Canadian Association, also appealed to professionals in the black community, such as social workers, immigration lawyers, and medical officers, to aid the refugees. He said this is a time when their services are needed the most.
Mr Eghobor pleaded with the government to facilitate integrating refugees into the system so they do not become a burden on the economy.
He noted that many of these refugees are professionals who can work and support themselves with proper documentation.
An asylum seeker, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said, “The past two weeks have been horrible.” He thought he was running away from a difficult life to a better one, only for his hopes to be dashed after the incident involving the unavailability of shelter.
He says he is a poultry farmer and would be glad to ply his trade in Canada if given the chance.
The asylum seekers include nationals from Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Burundi, and Tanzania.
Source: Ebenezer Amankwah and Emmanuel Ayiku, Toronto – Ontario