The CSAI offers support to asylum seekers, particularly in their process of obtaining a work permit. In addition, thanks to the support of the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI), since June 2018, the CSAI has been offering support in finding housing.
Quebec is a land of welcome for the thousands of people who are granted refugee status following a claim for asylum in Canada.
The CSAI is funded by the MIFI to offer asylum seekers a service to help them find housing. The CSAI workers provide information, support and accompaniment. Advice is provided on topics such as the housing search, the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords, and the role of the Tribunal administrative du logement.
Prior to the pandemic, workers were present two days a week at the Victoria Hospital’s temporary shelter, where many asylum seekers were housed in the first weeks of their arrival. They were also present at the YMCA shelter on Tupper Street.
Due to the health crisis related to COVID-19, services at the shelters have been suspended. However, we have remained available by phone. The current shortage of decent and affordable housing continues to make it very difficult to find housing, especially for asylum seekers, as they do not yet have a work permit, therefore no job, references, guarantors nor credit history.
On December 14, 2020, a special program came into effect that allows asylum seekers who worked on the front lines with the sick and elderly during the first wave of COVID-19 to apply for permanent residence.
This program aims to thank these individuals (nicknamed “guardian angels”) by allowing them to obtain a Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ) which will give them access to permanent residence. It is a collaborative effort between the federal and provincial governments, and applications will be accepted from December 14, 2020 to August 31, 2021. Individuals who require support to properly complete all steps of the process can call the CSAI to make an appointment with a counsellor.