Friday, April 12, 2024

How The Black Community Forced the Canadian Government to Listen to Asylum Seekers

Canadian Economy Remains Resilient as Inflation FallsCanadian Economy Remains Resilient as Inflation FallsFor over thirty days over 200 asylum seekers, mainly from East Africa have been living on the steps of Toronto’s Assessment and Referral Centre directly from arriving via Pearson International Airport. According to reports by individual refugees they were told to wait near the centre in order to receive shelter assignments which have not been given in over a month.

The failure to house these Black asylum seekers has attracted negative attention to City Hall and the Federal government. Many including activists, community workers and journalists have called for the firing of Toronto’s head of the Shelter Support and Housing Administration, Gordon Tanner. Not only is it horrible the government allowed these people into Canada without a plan to help them, but the optics of an all-Black group of men and women being left to live on the streets has furthered calls that this is a problem of anti-black racism.

As a magnet for migrants of all kinds Toronto, Ontario and Canada need to collaborate on plans to adequately house people who are fleeing war, climate change and economic depression. Even when the government failed, a community of givers including many African, Black and community organizations opened themselves to give emergency aid throughout the crisis. Yet this story is more proof of our need to build better housing seen in other places for everyone.

How The Black Community Forced the Canadian Government to Listen to Asylum Seekers


Asylum Seekers in Canada

Asylum seekers are individuals who have fled their home country due to persecution, violence, or other serious threats to their safety and well-being. They seek protection and refuge in another country by applying for asylum. The reasons why people become asylum seekers can vary and may include political unrest, war, ethnic or religious persecution, or human rights abuses.

When individuals arrive in a new country and apply for asylum, they are seeking official recognition as refugees and the legal right to stay in that country. The asylum process typically involves submitting an application, providing evidence of the persecution they have faced, and going through an assessment to determine if they meet the criteria for refugee status. If their application is approved, they are granted asylum and are allowed to stay in the country as a protected refugee.

Many of the East African asylum seekers came as members of the LGBTQ community from Uganda, where they would face jail time for their sexual orientation. Others came from countries like Sudan and Eritrea, places dealing with their own conflicts. After the Trudeau government made a push to take in minority members, Ukrainians and other war refugees, it is surprising they had no plan to give them shelter.

Each country has its own laws and procedures for handling asylum seekers. International laws and agreements, such as the United Nations Refugee Convention, outline the rights and obligations of countries in protecting asylum seekers and refugees. Despite efforts to improve the system, reports suggest that asylum seekers in Canada may still face lengthy waiting periods. This issue has been highlighted in cases where thousands of asylum seekers have crossed through designated entry points, such as Roxham Road, and the Peter St case.

How The Black Community Forced the Canadian Government to Listen to Asylum Seekers

Count on the Community

After media attention was brought to the plight of the asylum seekers, the Fed finally decided to give a one-time payment of over $200 million to the city in order to find these people shelter. While this money is well needed it took a big effort by concerned communities in Toronto to get them here.

Groups that include the Rwandan Canadian Healing Centre, Tabernacle Church and multiple other individuals have given their time, money and homes to help these people. Many are part of the Black community of churches, nonprofits and concerned citizens, but many are like Paramount Foods CEO Mohamed Fakih, just a fellow Torontonian who wants to help out new Torontonians.

If you are interested there is still lots of work that needs to be done to help these people. Pastor Judith of Revival Times Tabernacle has graciously opened her church to several men and women. But the church still needs help with toiletries, food and other needs. If you or someone you know can volunteer to help them out or donate anything call Pastor Judith at (416) 254 1322.