Haitian government thanks Montreal for helping asylum seekers

The Haitian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonio Rodrigue

Members of Haiti’s government are in Montreal to offer thanks as their country continues to recover from environmental disasters.

Two Haitian ministers arrived in Montreal Tuesday to meet with Mayor Denis Coderre.

They wanted to thank the Montreal, Quebec and Canadian governments for accepting migrants—but they’re also looking for a solution to the growing number of asylum seekers coming to Canada.

The Haitian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonio Rodrigue, and the Haitian Minister of Nationals living abroad, Robert Labrousse, said they wanted to help the Haitian nationals living in temporary shelters in Montreal.

“What are their needs, what can we offer them? What kind of agreement we can find with the Canadian government?”

The pair said they would help provide paperwork and documentation for those who needed it to make a valid refugee claim.

They also said they wanted to help those who have arrived in Canada.

Approximately half of the border-crossers who arrived in Canada this year are originally from Haiti, hoping Canada will accommodate their refugee requests.

Ottawa is expecting 36,000 people to apply for refugee status this year — with one-third of the applications coming through Quebec.

Those numbers are similar to what Canada experienced in 2008, when Canada welcomed more than 5,000 refugees from Bhutan.

Only 10,000 refugee claims were made in 2013, and 6,000 in 2014, despite pledges by the Conservative government to increase refugee settlements.

While it normally takes 60 days for a hearing, the backlog in the Montreal area means it could be many months before applicants find out if they are approved or denied.

During that time they are eligible for payments of $600/month.