Refugees may be housed in former hospitals

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TORONTO – Ontario is considering using recently decommissioned hospitals as one way to temporarily house a large influx of Syrian refugees expected in the province before the end of the year.

While the federal government has pledged to take in 25,000 refugees by the end of the year, Ontario has committed to taking in 10,000 refugees by the end of next year.

Health Minister Eric Hoskins says Ontario doesn’t yet know how many Ottawa will ask the province to take before the end of the year, but Ontario is prepared to receive its “fair share.”

Hoskins says Ontario may also need to take in and support some refugees on an interim basis before they move to other provinces or territories.

He and Immigration Minister Michael Chan held an ad hoc cabinet committee on Syrian refugees Tuesday during which housing, education, health and social services needs were discussed.

Hoskins says while the federal government looks at housing options such as military bases, the provincial government is looking at recently decommissioned hospitals as one option.

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