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Olympic Stadium no longer housing asylum seekers

Olympic Stadium no longer housing asylum seekers
Olympic Stadium no longer housing asylum seekers

Published on: September 5, 2017 | Last Updated: September 5, 2017 7:55 PM EDT

A group of asylum seekers are seen outside the Olympic Stadium in Montreal on Aug. 2, 2017. Ryan Remiorz / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Montreal’s Olympic Stadium is no longer being used to house asylum seekers crossing the border from the United States, officials announced on Tuesday. 

Another shelter, which had opened in a former retirement home in Boucherville in response to the recent wave of asylum seekers, will also close its doors on Wednesday. 

In a statement issued Tuesday, the CIUSSS West-Central, which oversees the operation, said the space in the Olympic Stadium was initially supposed to be used until Sept. 18.

However, the CIUSSS said, the shelter has been closed earlier than expected “due to the significant number of departures from the site and the diminishing number of asylum seekers arriving over the last several days.”

The CIUSSS said the lower number of asylum seekers is allowing it to centralize its services on the island of Montreal and in Laval.

An increasing wave of Haitian refugee claimants led to officials opening the temporary shelter in the Olympic Stadium in early August, where a communal space in the stadium’s western hall was equipped with up to 450 beds. Many Haitians crossed the border fearing they will be deported from the United States once their “temporary protected status” issued after the 2010 earthquake comes to an end.

According to Immigration Quebec, as of Tuesday, 2,134 asylum seekers were being temporarily housed in and around Montreal. Nearly 8,000 asylum claims made in Quebec were processed by the federal government between January and July this year. 

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