There was some pushback against a City staff recommendation of spending $670,000 a month to house an estimated 50 Ukrainian refugee families. That is the estimated number of Ukrainian refugee families that staff predict will come to Hamilton as part of an estimated 300 refugees arriving daily in Toronto.
The staff report noted that Ukrainian arrivals is increasing at Pearson International Airport. Commercial flights arriving at Pearson Airport have increased from one flight per day to two flights per day. Many Ukrainians are arriving without connections to family, friends or host families.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has reported there are over 75 Ukrainians currently at the Designated Quarantine Facility in the Peel Region, with 95% having no accommodation plan. PHAC has reported that every day, 2-3 families with no housing options are ready to leave the quarantine facility which is resulting in a large strain on the over burden sheltered system in Peel Region and neighbouring municipalities such as Toronto, Durham, Halton Region, York Region, and Hamilton.
Hamilton staff are working with the GTHA Committee which has developed a Regional Plan for the Provision of Temporary Accommodation to Canadian Ukrainian Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) Visa Holders. All municipalities and regions are developing plans to accommodate Ukrainians.
As Ottawa is supplying aircraft and fast-tracking entry paperwork; Council have directed staff to look for recovery of the funds from senior governments. Councillor Brenda Johnson opposed the move saying, the federal government is responsible for allowing refugees into the country and should be paying the costs of resettlement. Staff also explained that the funds will be used to pay Mohawk College, McMaster and Redeemer for temporary housing. Councillor Brad Clark also wondered how the city could accommodate the request a time when there is a significant waiting list for shelter space.