City of Cornwall Requests Urgent Financial Support

City of Cornwall
City of Cornwall Requests Urgent Financial Support

CORNWALL, ON – Feb. 27, 2024 – The City of Cornwall is requesting urgent financial support from the federal and provincial governments to deal with the significant increase in pressures related to recent asylum claimant arrivals to the City. This includes long-term planning for housing needs.

Private requests conveyed to the federal government in November and to the province in December have yet to produce action. Meantime, newcomers continue to arrive, and municipal resources continued to be squeezed.

The City of Cornwall, which has played an outsized but proud role in welcoming asylum claimants, is now making an unprecedented public request for fair support and additional dollars from the provincial and federal governments.


  • The City recorded a total of 1879 asylum claimant arrivals in 2022 and 2023.
  • Asylum claimants now account for approximately 2% of Cornwall’s population – a figure that has doubled in the last 18 months and is far larger per capita than other centres (including Toronto).
  • Since August 2022, Cornwall’s Ontario Works caseload has increased by as much as 31% in any given month.
  • Cornwall is currently ineligible to apply for certain funds that larger cities have been able to access to meet asylum claimants’ housing needs. (This, despite Cornwall’s higher per capita intake of asylum claimants than other major cities in Ontario.)
  • With the loss of revenue and increased need for City resources, financial impacts now total well over $1 million dollars. This includes impacts on Housing, Children’s Services, Ontario Works, Transit, Emergency Services, and Tourism.
  • Cornwall ratepayers are left covering these financial impacts when other communities like Toronto have received significant financial support from other orders of government.
  • Hotel rooms occupied by contracts with the federal government also mean that the city is losing Municipal Accommodation Tax revenue, which hampers Cornwall Tourism’s ability to promote the city and properly welcome visitors.


“For well over a year, Cornwall has been welcoming asylum claimants, and providing a new, safe, beginning for those who need it the most. However, the Federal Government continues to ignore our repeated requests for assistance with the ever growing costs that the City is shouldering. In order to ensure the continued success of everyone involved, I am calling on the Federal government to finally step up and to treat Cornwall fairly.” – Mayor Justin Towndale


The federal government has made commitments to the province of Quebec and the City of Toronto. Our community – on a per capital basis – has seen more asylum claimants than others, including Toronto. That’s put a huge strain on our budget, our services, and our staff. It’s time for our fair share.” – Mathieu Fleury, Chief Administrative Officer


“Housing and the cost of other daily necessities are top of mind for all Cornwall residents these days. Money is tight for all households. We want to be there for newcomers. But we also need to give voice to growing concerns that we would raise municipal taxes to pay for services for which we are not being adequately funded and which are, frankly, other governments’ areas of responsibility.” – Mellissa Morgan, General Manager, Human Services


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