TORONTO - Ontario's auditor general says the province significantly overstated the costs of providing services to asylum seekers coming into Canada from the United States.
In a special report released today, Bonnie Lysyk says the $200 million estimate given by the governing Progressive Conservatives in 2018 represented the cost of providing services to all refugee claimants, not just so-called irregular border crossers.
She says the minister of social services at the time, Lisa MacLeod, was given inaccurate information by civil servants.
MacLeod had formally requested $200 million from Ottawa to cover costs she said were incurred by the province and its municipalities as a result of an influx of asylum seekers arriving from the U.S.
Lysyk says her office found the Ontario government spent roughly $81 million on services for irregular asylum seekers between April 1, 2017, when the federal government first started tracking their arrival, and July 31, 2018.
She says the federal government has given $15.6 million in compensation to Toronto, Ottawa and Peel Region.