Refugees to be temporarily housed at military sites in Quebec, Ontario
Tender issued for $1.5M contract to winterize temporary housing at CFB Valcartier
The Canadian Armed Forces are preparing to lodge hundreds of refugees at bases in Ontario and Quebec on a temporary basis as the government prepares to resettle 25,000 refugees by year's end.
The government has yet to say how it intends to meet its goal of resettling thousands in a limited timeframe, but an announcement is expected soon.
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"The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is currently planning on providing interim lodging at bases in Quebec and Ontario as a priority," said Dominique Tessier, a media relations officer with the Department of National Defence, in an email to CBC News.
"Other bases and locations may be used if requested by government of Canada planners."
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale was asked on Wednesday about plans to resettle 1,000 refugees at CFB Trenton in Ontario and 500 refugees at CFB Valcartier in Quebec as early as Dec. 1.
"We recognize the urgency. We want to release the details as rapidly as possible," said Goodale, adding that the specifics would be announced by the immigration minister in the coming days.
Goodale and Immigration Minister John McCallum met with two of Quebec's ministers today to discuss the government's "ambitious" plan.
"We reiterated our commitment to respond swiftly to the ongoing crisis, and also to ensure that the health and security of the arriving refugees – and of all Canadians – remains paramount, and is not compromised in any way," said McCallum in a written statement issued Thursday night.
While municipal and provincial officials wait for a formal announcement, plans are afoot across various federal departments to assist the government with the herculean task of resettling a large number of refugees in a short period of time.
Immigration officials are working with the departments of health, public safety, and national defence to meet the government's self-imposed deadline.
$1.5M to winterize CFB Valcartier houses
With winter on the doorstep, the military is also making plans to winterize some of its training bases to accommodate refugees.
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A call for tenders went out on Thursday to winterize 10 buildings that normally house cadets during summer training at the Canadian Forces Base Valcartier in Quebec.
The $1.5 million project for "the supply of labour, material, supervision and equipment necessary to winterize 10 houses at the Cadet Camp" would have to be completed within "a very short timeline" of Dec. 30, according to the notice posted online Thursday.
The work includes the installation of a heating and venting system, the construction of new exterior walls, the installation of exterior doors, floor and roof insulation as well as fireproof curtains.
Contractors have until Nov. 24 to make a bid for the defence contract.
Winter housing search ramps up
Preparation by the military is also underway to winterize at least two other training bases in Ontario.
"CFB Meaford and Borden are two locations that will require winterization of accommodations and preparation is currently underway," said Tessier, a spokesperson with national defence, in an email to CBC on Thursday.
The military is also moving Canadian Forces members who are in military bases in Quebec and Edmonton on temporary assignments to other wings or rental units to free up space "for possible refugee accommodation," she said.
While no directive has gone out asking Canadian Forces members to cancel their vacation time, Tessier said "the requirement for some to work over the Christmas period has not been discounted."
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A separate call for tenders was issued by the Department of Public Services and Procurement today for companies that could lease out winterized lodging and other services in Ontario and Quebec.
"The government of Canada is seeking interested companies that have the capacity, capability and availability to provide leasing, management and servicing of temporary winterized lodgings for groups of 500-3000 people by early December 2015 at sites to be confirmed," said the online posting without mention of refugees.
Housing units would be needed for both "individuals and large families."
Interested suppliers have until Friday to make a submission.