‘More fatalities’ to come if Ottawa doesn’t help fix refugee backlog, Brampton mayor says after Mississauga death
Published November 16, 2023 at 4:04 pm
Mississauga and Brampton mayors called on other levels of government this afternoon to help ease the backlog and open up living spaces for asylum seekers after a man was found dead outside a former Region of Peel shelter in Mississauga’s east end early Wednesday morning.
The man, described as an “asylum claimant” by Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown, was found dead inside a tent that’s part of an encampment outside what was once a Peel family shelter at Dundas Street East and Main Street, east of Dixie Road.
The shelter had been relocated earlier to the Meadowvale area of Mississauga.
Peel Regional Police said the “sudden death” of the man, believed to be in his 40s, has been deemed not suspicious by the coroner. The man was without vital signs when first responders arrived on the scene, and he was pronounced dead a short time later.
Police say a post-mortem will be conducted to determine the exact cause of death and the man’s identity is not being released until family is notified.
Speaking at a hastily called news conference outside the former Region of Peel shelter this afternoon, Brown said Peel’s municipalities have been warning senior levels of government since July that such a tragedy could happen as scores of asylum seekers in Peel and elsewhere across the GTA are forced to wait for funding — and places to live — that’s slow in coming.
Brown said that, on average, between 46 and 150 asylum claimants in Peel are sleeping outside every night.
“This, in a country as prosperous as Canada and in a region as prosperous as the GTA and Peel. It is beyond comprehension that we have allowed this to happen…we’ve just heard excuses from other levels of government that help is on its way, it’s going to come, but it hasn’t yet,” Brown, flanked by Mississauga acting Mayor Chris Fonseca and city councillor Dipika Damerla, told reporters.
He continued, saying that the impending winter weather petrifies him as the situation is only going to potentially worsen.
“We’re about to get into cold weather and when you have up to 150 people sleeping outdoors, there will be more fatalities and that blood is on our hands if we don’t step up and help,” said Brown, adding Peel’s plea for badly needed funding to senior levels of government, particularly Ottawa, is an urgent one.
“There’s going to be a number of fatalities if we don’t get that help…we’re all in this together.”
The man’s body was reportedly found at about 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning outside the building, which is located on the north side of Dundas Street East just east of Main Street.
The building previously served as a Region of Peel Family Shelter before the shelter was relocated to the northwest part of Mississauga, in Meadowvale.insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising