Federal task force on illegal border crossings to get new leader

The federal task force managing the government's response to the spike in the number of migrants crossing the border into Canada illegally is getting a new leader.

Lisa MacLeod says she's disappointed federal government's latest move is to shuffle task force leadership

Marc Garneau, right, the Minister of Transport and the head of the Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Task Force on Irregular Migration is being replaced as the head of the task force by Dominic LeBlanc, the federal Intergovernmental Affairs Minister. (Canadian Press Photos)

The federal task force managing the government's response to the spike in the number of migrants crossing the border into Canada illegally is getting a new leader.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau and the head of the ad-hoc intergovernmental task force on irregular migration is being replaced by Dominic LeBlanc, a government official told Radio-Canada on background.

LeBlanc was recently moved from his position as the minister of fisheries and oceans to take up the role of minister of intergovernmental and Northern affairs and internal trade, a position that sees him deal directly with the provinces.

Lisa MacLeod, Ontario's minister of children, community and social services who is also responsible for immigration, told reporters in Ottawa that she was disappointed the federal government's latest effort on the file was simply to change who was in charge.

"Today I was disappointed to hear that the only progress being made has been federal cabinet minister musical chairs," said MacLeod.

She said that she does not know LeBlanc personally, but because both of them are Maritimers she expects they would have been raised on similar values and was encouraged that LeBlanc "reached out almost immediately" after being appointed.

MacLeod said she remains concerned about the stress being put on public services in Ontario because of the influx in asylum seekers which she said will cost her province $90 million in social assistance, $20 million in increased education costs and another $89 million in emergency shelter related costs. 

Ontario Social Services Minister Lisa Macleod says she wants the federal government to give her province $200 million to deal with the influx of asylum seekers. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

The task force was created in August of last year to work on issues related to the "sustained increase in asylum seekers entering Canada from the United States."

According to the RCMP, from Jan. 1 to July 15, 2018, there were 11,420 interceptions of migrants at the border. Officials have noted a declining rate of illegal border crossings in recent months.

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