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This is the #1 source of mom guilt

Jessica Spera | posted Wednesday, Mar 29th, 2017

Our friends at Chatelaine just did a massive survey of 1,000 Canadian women between the ages of 35 and 45. They asked them a ton of questions, but the one we were most interested in was the top source of mom guilt. Can you guess what it is?

Not spending enough time with your kids?

Missing their school play because you had to work?

Not being a fun enough parent?

Nope, nope and nope! The top source of mom guilt is screen time.

Half of women feel guilty about the amount of screen time their kids are getting. Whether or not this is your top source of mom guilt, I’m sure you’ve worried about how much time your kid spends watching PAW Patrol or felt shamed for letting your kid play with your phone while at a restaurant. But with the evolving world of technology and digital gadgets, it’s nearly impossible not to let your kid have some screen time.

The good news is it’s time to stop feeling so guilty because in October 2016, The American Academy of Pediatrics released a new set of recommendations for family screen time that acknowledges how technology is inevitable in the home—so you don’t have to burn all your gadgets. The amount of screen time varies depending on the age of your child, but the AAP recommends that whatever your kids are doing on the phone or TV, you should be doing it right along with them. Why? Because parents can help their kids “understand what they’re seeing and how to integrate that into their real-world experience.” So you really don’t have to feel too bad about your kid’s screen time. But you do have to watch PAW Patrol with them. Sorry!

Screen time was only one of many things women felt mom guilt over. Twenty-five percent of moms are ashamed of their children’s fast food intake. The struggle is real when it comes to getting a homemade dinner on the table! We totally “cheat” sometimes and use these healthy packaged foods that make getting supper on the table a total breeze. The survey also says that a quarter of of moms think they let their kids eat too much sugar. Yep, we feel that one too. Have you read about this family who gave up sugar?

Check out the other top culprits of mom guilt.

Photo: Courtesy of Chatelaine

Photo: Courtesy of Chatelaine

What do you feel the most guilty about as a parent?

Top 10 Toronto real estate questions answered

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Mar 29th, 2017

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Erica Smith and Lorena Magallanes from Condo Chicks Inc. share their tips for getting into the condo market–what should you be looking out for before making a purchase?

What are Condo reserve numbers?: The number determines the health of the building which is important for buyers to know. The financials will be detailed in the status certificate which should be reviewed by a lawyer to understand the financial health of the building.

Should you buy now? Choosing a time to buy is solely a personal decision.  At this point in time, demand is stronger than supply which is driving up pricing. Buyers have to understand that they will be paying a premium for any property right now and have to be okay with it.

When to buy? There is no specific time to buy. It’s up to the buyers. When the ideal property comes up, buyers need to jump and pay a premium for it in this market.

Condo fees – what are they and how to budget for them?:  Condo fees are typically a concern for buyers. The common question is if they will go up. All fees do go up, however there are some tips and tricks to predict how much they will go up.

Q: Market value vs what people are paying? 

A: There is no market value. The new market value is how much  a buyer is willing to pay for a property.

Q: Mortgage rules? 

A: Talk to your bank first to know what you can afford as the rules are always changing.

Q: Maintenance fees and taxes? 

A: Factor in your monthly carrying costs

Q: Utilities? 

A: Most of the time utilities are not part of your maintenance fees.

Q: Closing costs, which include land transfer taxes? 

A: Understand all your closing costs on top of your land transfer tax.

Q: Financials of the building (status certificate)? 

A:  Great document to give you an idea of the financial health of the building.

Q:  Upcoming developments in the area? 

A: Understand what is happening in the area. A new condo might affect your current view!

Q: Tax implications? 

A: They are different if you’re an end user or an investor

Q: Inclusions and Exclusions in the unit? 

A: Make sure you understand what is included. Is that chandelier you love staying or going?

Q: Condo rules including pet restrictions, outdoor space. 

A: Make sure you can bring your beloved pet and know your limitations on your balcony. BBQ’s are not always allowed.

Border Runners: The quiet NY street that leads a steady stream of asylum seekers to Canada

Avery Haines | posted Wednesday, Mar 29th, 2017

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A cab on Roxham Road only means one thing.

Car after car, unloading group after group, each surreptitiously approaching a sign that clearly reads, “Road Closed.”

“This is an international border,” hollers a man standing guard.  “You can’t cross. If you cross, you’ll be arrested.”

But it happens day after day at this juncture in Plattsburgh, New York, where the land changes from America’s to Canada’s in a patch not much larger than the average sidewalk.

On this Tuesday in March, two men get out of their cab and take their first few steps into Canada with their arms stretched up. One man drops to his knees.

“You can stand up,” an RCMP guard is heard telling him.

Ruby Lavalley, who lives in the last house along Roxham Road, sees these scenes play out ten or twenty times a day.

“People coming in, running over the border. They tell them to stop,” she says.  If they cross they’re going to get arrested. But they just proceed over.”

Lavalley’s sense is that the surge of asylum seekers can be credited to her new President, who has promised to crack down on illegal refugees.  They are escaping to Canada to claim refugee status. Illegally crossing is a fast track to getting processed.

Lavalley is astonished that her quiet street has turned into the final steps on the American side of what is now known as the Underground Refugee Railroad.

“[They’re] literally falling just to get on the other side,” she says.

What happens on the other side of this invisible line is also repeated every day. The two men who crossed this morning will be frisked, taken to the legal border crossing just down the way, and then they’ll make their claim for asylum in Canada.

According to the RCMP, in the first two months of 2017, 1,134 asylum seekers crossed the Canadian border illegally. Toronto immigration lawyer Guidy Mamann predicts the numbers will only spike in the coming months.

“We are going to see a steep increase in those numbers,” he says.  “What you are seeing right now, [is] only those people who want to be seen. There are other people who are going further down the fence who do not want to be detected and they’re coming across with the intention of avoiding the system.”

Back in Plattsburgh, yet another group of refugees has made it to the edge of Roxham Road, which ironically is accessed by a road with the title of “North Star.”

A young man and a distraught older couple repeat the words: “Canada, Canada.”

The Canadian police tell them they’re safe.

Matthews breaks franchise record as Leafs earn big win over Panthers

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Mar 29th, 2017

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TORONTO — Wendel Clark knew his record might be in jeopardy 21 and a half minutes into Auston Matthews‘s first game with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Matthews became the first player in NHL history to score four goals in a debut that October night against Ottawa and on Tuesday finally broke Clark’s 31-year-old franchise rookie record with his 35th goal this season — the opening goal in a crucial 3-2 Leafs win.

“It’s good,” Clark said of Matthews shattering a record set during the 1985-86 season. “If we’re going to be any good we need these young guys breaking all (these records) and doing well.”

Matthews and Toronto’s high-flying crop of rookies have been shredding the record books more and more often in recent weeks as they march toward a hopeful playoff berth. Tuesday’s victory over the Florida Panthers kept the club one point up (87 points) on Boston (86) for third in the Atlantic division and now four up on the surging Tampa Bay Lightning (83).

A night that looked to be all about the Leafs uncertain crease ultimately belonged to the 19-year-old Matthews, who joined Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby as the only rookies since the 1995-96 season to score 35 goals.

Zach Hyman instigated the marker 12 minutes into the first frame, controlling the puck from behind the Florida goal before finding Matthews in front, his shot slipping between the pads of James Reimer to best Clark for the franchise mark.

“Just to be in the same sentence as a guy like Wendel Clark is obviously a big honour,” said Matthews, who became the first Leaf since Clark to be picked first overall last June.

Now a community representative of the Leafs, Clark compared the big American centre to former Toronto captain and franchise leading scorer, Mats Sundin. Just like Sundin, Clark said, Matthews could be dangerous all by himself, but also gifted in finding teammates for open looks.

He said Matthews had a “goal-scorer’s touch” and the “hands of a little guy” and aimed to score in areas of the highest percentages, such as low, between the legs or blocker-side.

Clark added of Matthews: “He’s already big and strong at 19 and two, three years from now he’s going to be bigger and stronger once he fills out.”

Matthews increased his NHL lead for game-opening goals, matching Dave Andreychuk’s team record (1993-94), according to the Elias Sports Bureau, with his 14th of the year. He pulled within four points of Peter Ihnacak’s franchise rookie mark for points (66), set during the 1982-83 season.

Rookies have been adding their names to the Leafs record book in increasing fashion.

Mitch Marner recently equalled Gus Bodnar’s franchise rookie mark for assists (40), William Nylander matching team rookie records for power-play goals (9) and power-play points (25) while also establishing a new rookie mark for the team with a point streak that was extended to 12 games on Tuesday night.

Goaltending was primary in the pre-game build-up with Curtis McElhinney starting in place of injured No. 1 Frederik Andersen, who was nursing an undisclosed injury after getting bumped in the head last weekend.

Oddly enough, it was Reimer, the former Leaf, who was forced to exit Tuesday’s game when he was bumped in similar fashion by Brian Boyle midway through the second, replaced by Reto Berra.

McElhinney held his own in Andersen’s place at the other end, yielding two goals on 26 shots while shining early in the third period as the Leafs protected a 2-1 lead. Hyman eventually increased Toronto’s lead to two shorthanded — Leo Komarov scoring the Leafs second goal — Jaromir Jagr stuffing one in late in regulation.

Hyman became the fifth Leaf rookie to score at least 10 goals this season.

An interesting night also saw Roman Polak called for high-sticking Jonathan Huberdeau and then pulled out of the box when replays showed it was a puck — and not the stick — that struck Huberdeau.

Polak said he’d never seen such a thing and thanked the referee for admitting his mistake.

The night was all about Matthews though. He took over top spot among all NHL rookies in goals and points, a favourite to become the first Leaf since Brit Selby in 1966 to win the Calder Trophy.

“It’s obviously good and nice for him, but he needs to remember he’s got many years in front of him so he just needs to keep going,” Komarov said.

It’s over: Britain files for divorce from the European Union

Jill Lawless, The Associated Press | posted Wednesday, Mar 29th, 2017

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The United Kingdom filed for divorce from the European Union on Wednesday, overturning four decades of integration with its neighbours, demolishing the notion that EU expansion is inevitable and shaking the foundations of a bloc that is facing challenges to its identity and its place in the world.

Britain’s top envoy to the EU, Tim Barrow, hand-delivered a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk formally triggering a two-year countdown to the final split.

“Today the government acts on the democratic will of the British people,” Prime Minister Theresa May told lawmakers in the House of Commons.

For Britons who voted to leave the bloc in a referendum nine months ago, it was a time for celebration.

“In my opinion, this is the greatest moment in modern British history,” said Brendan Chilton, general secretary of the pro-Brexit group Labour Leave. “We are finally beginning the process by which we leave the European Union, restore our Parliament and once again become a sovereign nation.”

For “remain” campaigners, it was time to fight for a divorce settlement that preserves what they see as key benefits of EU membership, including free trade in goods and services and the right to live and work anywhere in the bloc.

“The phoney war is over,” said Joe Carberry, co-director of the pro-EU pressure group, Open Britain. He said Britain had decided that it would leave the bloc, but “the issue of how we will leave, and the democratic checks and balances along the process of the negotiations, remains unresolved.”

For Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the EU’s executive Commission, Britain’s departure is “a failure and a tragedy.”

The loss of a major member is destabilizing for the EU, which is battling to contain a tide of nationalist and populist sentiment and faces unprecedented antipathy from the new resident of the White House.

It is even more tumultuous for Britain. For all the U.K. government’s confident talk of forging a close and friendly new relationship with its neighbours, it cannot be sure what it’s future relationship with the bloc will look like – whether businesses will freely be able to trade, students to study abroad or pensioners to retire with ease in other EU states. Those things have become part of life since the U.K. joined what was then called the European Economic Community in 1973.

It’s not even certain that the United Kingdom will survive the exit intact. Scotland’s parliament voted Tuesday to back First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s call for a referendum on independence within two years. Scottish voters backed remaining in the EU in last year’s vote, and Sturgeon insists Scotland must not be “taken down a path that we do not want to go down without a choice.”

May insists “now is not the time” for a referendum, setting her on course for a showdown with the Edinburgh administration just when the U.K. government wants to devote all its energies to the EU talks.

The trigger for all the economic and constitutional uncertainty is Article 50, a previously obscure clause of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty that allows a member state to withdraw from the bloc. The two sides now have until March 2019 to agree on a divorce settlement and – if possible – establish a new relationship between Britain, the world’s fifth-largest economy, and the EU, a vast single market stretching over 27 countries and half a billion people.

Brexit Secretary David Davis — the man charged with leading Britain’s side in the talks – has called it “the most complicated negotiation in modern times, maybe the most complicated negotiation of all time.”

Tusk has said that within 48 hours he will respond with a draft negotiating guidelines for the remaining 27 member states to consider. Leaders of those nations will then meet on April 29 to finalize their negotiating platform before instructing the EU’s chief negotiator, French diplomat Michel Barnier.

Then Barnier will sit down with his British counterpart, Davis, who has said the first item on the agenda will probably be: “How we do this?”

As in many divorces, the first area of conflict is likely to be money. The EU wants Britain to pay a hefty bill – Juncker put it at around 50 billion euros (US$63 billion) – to cover pension liabilities for EU staff and other commitments the U.K. has agreed to.

British negotiators are sure to quibble over the size of the tab.

Davis said Monday that Britain will “meet our international obligations,” but added: “I don’t think we are going to be seeing that sort of money change hands.”

Juncker has said the EU will not try to punish Britain for leaving.

“I do not think we will get anywhere by clobbering the British, insulting them and driving too hard a bargain,” he said in a speech this month. But, he added, “There can be no cherry picking either. …. You are either in or out.”

Negotiations will soon hit a major contraction: Britain wants “frictionless” free trade, but says it will restore control of immigration, ending the right of EU citizens to live and work in Britain. The EU says Britain can’t have full access to the single market if it doesn’t accept free movement, one of the bloc’s key principles.

Both Britain and the EU say a top priority will be guaranteeing the rights of 3 million EU citizens living in Britain, and 1 million Britons living elsewhere in the bloc.

The two sides also appear to disagree on how the talks will unfold. EU officials say the divorce terms must be settled before negotiators can turn to the U.K.’s future relationship with the bloc. British officials want the two things discussed simultaneously.

May has suggested that if talks stall she could walk away, saying that “no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain.”

That prospect alarms many British businesses. If Britain crashed out of the EU without a trade deal it would fall back onto World Trade Organization rules, meaning tariffs and other barriers to trade.

Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee has warned that the British government has not done enough for the “real prospect” that talks may break down, ending in no deal and “mutually assured damage” to both Britain and the EU.

Even if talks go well, EU leaders say there is little chance a final agreement on relations between the two parties will be reached by 2019. Some say it could take a decade.

May insists that Britain is not turning its back on Europe. She says the U.K. wants “a new and equal partnership” with “our friends and allies in the EU.” She wants the U.K.’s exit to be “smooth and orderly.”

She will start to find out soon whether that is wishful thinking.

Carberry, from Open Britain, accused the government of offering an unrealistic picture of the costs of Brexit.

“They are saying everyone’s going to get free money and a free pony, basically,” he said. “The government is going to need to start being up front with people about the risks and outline more clearly how they are going to mitigate against those risks.”

But Labour Leave’s Chiltern predicted that soon “the chest-beating will stop and actually you’ll get down to cool, hard diplomacy and we’ll get a good deal.”

“It is in the interests of both parties to get this done as quickly as possible and as amicably as possible,” he said.

Associated Press writers Danica Kirka in London and Monika Scislowska in Warsaw contributed to this story.

Strike averted as Purolator, union reach tentative agreement

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Mar 29th, 2017

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Purolator says it has reached a tentative contract agreement with Teamsters Canada ahead of Wednesday’s strike deadline.

The company says it is returning to normal operations and again accepting shipments after stopping them on Tuesday.

Purolator says it won’t reveal the specifics of the tentative agreement until union members review and vote on the contract.

Teamsters Canada had issued the 72-hour strike notice on Sunday after most of its more than 8,000 members at Purolator voted to reject the company’s final offer.

Purolator said it would try its best to deliver shipments already in its network in the event of a strike, but also warned of delays.

The strike deadline was 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

City council approves Scarborough subway alignment

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Mar 29th, 2017

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City council has voted 26-18 to approve the alignment for the Scarborough subway extension.

Council also approved the underground bus terminal at Scarborough Town Centre, which will add $187 million to the already-considerable cost of the project.

The total projected cost for the one-stop extension has swelled by more than a billion dollars since 2013 to $3.35 billion, causing some councillors to argue for a retraction to the fully-funded LRT plan.

Mayor John Tory scoffed at the idea of further backtracking on what has became an epic debate that’s led to frustrating inaction.

Tory reiterated that the time for talk is over. “We absolutely must get on with building transit in Toronto,” he said from city hall. “The vast majority of people have made it clear to me — they want us to get on with building transit in Scarborough and the rest of the city.”

“Enough debates and votes have been held…this city is starved for additional public transportation,” he added.

Tory also said he would use “every ounce” of strength and determination to assure the city’s transit projects come to fruition.

More to come

Hockey Canada to make smaller rinks mandatory for kids’ games

Rob Drinkwater, The Canadian Press and News Staff | posted Tuesday, Mar 28th, 2017

Hockey Canada says it will make it mandatory that children getting their first introduction to the game play on reduced-size ice surfaces instead of full-sized rinks.

The organization which governs amateur hockey has been recommending half-ice, or cross-ice, for its initiation programs for five and six-year-olds for over three decades.

A number of provincial amateur hockey bodies already require rinks be partitioned into smaller surfaces for games for their youngest players.

But Paul Carson, Hockey Canada’s vice-president of membership development, said there are still holdouts where beginners play their games on full-sized rinks.

“We know statistically when you’re in a smaller playing area it increases the number of puck touches, it increases the number of battles for loose pucks, it increases the number of shots on goal, it increases the number of passes and pass receptions,” said Carson as he explained how smaller ice surfaces improve skills development.

“We’ve coined the phrase, ‘Decrease the space, increase the pace.’ It does make all players better.”

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews told CityNews he grew up playing on smaller ice and it helped him prepare for the tight, quick plays in the NHL.

“For a kid growing up, I don’t think it really makes sense to be playing a full ice. You’re so small … the game now, today, there’s no space. Everything’s kind of in tight so, for me that’s what I grew up playing on so I think it definitely helped me out with just stick handling in tight and quicker plays … just trying to process the game faster,” he said.

Leafs coach Mike Babcock also supports the decision.

“It’s a great announcement. It should have happened a long time ago … I think it’s obviously real important for the development of hockey and we have to continue to grow the grass roots hockey in our nation, supporting the kids, get good coaching and though Hockey Canada give them good mandates to help the kids out so I think it’s a great thing,” he explained.

The mandatory policy will take effect for the 2017-2018 season.

Not everyone agrees reduced size is the best way to foster skill. Some online forums and blogs argue there are kids who are ready for full ice and that it’s wrong to hold them back. They argue it’s important to learn icing and offsides.

The Saskatchewan Hockey Association, which recently mandated smaller surfaces for beginners for the 2016-2017 season, acknowledged on its website that some parents may want full ice because they want their child to “play like professionals do” and experience “real hockey.”

But the site also includes a link to a video showing adult hockey players on a rink with enlarged dimensions and giant nets to demonstrate what the experience of full-size ice looks like for kids.

Wayne Wong, an Edmonton dad who volunteers as a coach for initiation hockey, said many kids start the season just learning to balance on skates. They progress quickly to stopping and turning, he said, but games are played on a divided surface across the width of the rink.

Wong, whose own son is four and just started playing, said he used the word “games” loosely, in quotes.

“I can’t imagine having kids play the full ice if it’s a game format,” he continued.

“Especially if they tried to make them go from one end to the other, it would be a lot of skating.”

Carson said Hockey Canada watched game videos of little players on full-sized rinks, which he described as one breakaway after another by the strongest player on each team.

“The entire shift is puck control by two players and eight other players skating up and down the ice following the play, and maybe even at some point deciding, ‘I might as well wait down here. It’s going to come back eventually,”’ Carson said.

Special boards and bumpers have been developed that allow for quick and easy division of a regular-sized rink into two half-ice surfaces or three cross-ice rinks.

But Carson said Hockey Canada isn’t going to be fussy on how rinks are divided. Two-by-fours are an option, he said, or parents can stand at the sides and push pucks back in.

Carson, who is 60, said he himself learned to play cross-ice as a child.

“In our community, they put fire hose down across the blue lines.”

Wearable technology was supposed to be the next big thing. What happened?

Peter Nowak | posted Monday, Mar 27th, 2017

It looks like the rumours of wearables’ demise have been premature. Or at least that’s the case according to the latest figures from analysis firm IDC.

Total global wearable shipments in the fourth quarter of 2016 were 33.9 million units, up 16 per cent from 29 million units a year earlier. Judging by those numbers, you might say there’s life in wearables yet.

A closer look at the numbers suggests there’s some truth to that conclusion, but that the market is also changing considerably.

To start with, it looks like Fitbit—the market leader—is in free fall. The company accounted for 19 per cent of all wearables shipped in the quarter, down a full 10 per cent from a year earlier.

China’s Xiaomi picked up much of that slack, placing second with 15 per cent of the market, up from 9 per cent in 2015. Apple was third with 4.6 per cent, up slightly from 4.6 per cent.

Garmin and Samsung rounded out the top five, each with low-single digit market shares.

“Others” also saw decent growth, going to 13 per cent from 10 per cent.

This group includes newcomers such as Fossil, BBK and Li-Ning, which variously make child-monitoring and step-counting shoes, as well as “hearables” companies such as Doppler Labs.

Taken together, there are a few conclusions that can be arrived at. First, Xiaomi’s powering ahead suggests there’s a lot of demand for traditional wearables in China.

Fitbit’s decline, meanwhile, indicates that the market for traditional step-counting devices is fizzling, which is probably where the wearables-are-dead narrative comes from.

The growth of the “others” category could also mean interest is increasing in wearables that do different things.

Hearables in particular, while only accounting for about 1 per cent of the market so far according to IDC, are promising.

Rather than just telling users what they already subconsciously may know—that they’ve walked a lot in a given day—such devices offer up new capabilities, like enhanced hearing.

Wearables might therefore be dead, but only in the way we’ve known them so far.

5 easy money-saving food swaps

Today's Parent | posted Monday, Mar 27th, 2017

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Tip 5:

Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, Dijon and a squirt of honey. They’re already in your cupboard—free!

Border Runners: A by-the-numbers look at refugees crossing into Canada

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Mar 28th, 2017

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An aerial shot of Roxham Road, the last stop on the refugee railroad from New York State to Quebec. HDADIRONDACKS.COM

It’s day two of CityNews reporter Avery Haines’ trip to Plattsburgh, N.Y., to find asylum-seekers on a literal run for the Canadian border.

Those who cross that border on foot are called the Roxham Road Refugees, named after the road that skirts Champlain, N.Y., and then turns into Chemin Roxham on the Quebec side of the border. But just how many people are coming into Canada?

Here’s a by-the-numbers look.

For updates from Haines, check out the CityNews Facebook page.

RCMP interceptions
2017 (Two months, January and February): 1,134 asylum seekers crossed the Canadian border illegally

2016 (All 12 months): The CBC reported that the number was 2,464.

Asylum claims processed by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) offices

2017: 5,520
2016: 23,895
2015: 16,115
2014: 13,450
2013: 10,370
2012: 20,470
2011: 25,315

Source: Government of Canada

Canadian immigration targets

2017: 300,000

2016: Between 280,000 and 305,000

How many refugees?

2017: 40,000 protected persons and refugees (included in 300,000 immigration target)

2016: 55,800 (included in 280,000 to 305,000 immigration target)

Who can make an asylum claim in Canada?

Individuals can make an asylum claim in Canada at a port of entry or at an inland CBSA or IRCC office. CBSA or IRCC officials will determine if an individual is eligible to make a claim. Factors determining an individual’s eligibility to make a refugee claim include whether the claimant has committed a serious crime, made a previous claim in Canada, or received protection in another country. (Government of Canada)

Illegal crossings into Canada

People who are intercepted by the RCMP or local law enforcement after crossing the border illegally are brought to the nearest CBSA port of entry or inland CBSA or IRCC office (whichever is closest), where an immigration officer will conduct an immigration examination, including considering whether detention is warranted

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