Politics
Fewer refugee claims saving taxpayers' money

Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney speaks at the ground for the new National Music Centre in Calgary, Alberta, on February 22, 2013.

Credits: Mike Drew/Calgary Sun/QMI Agency

DANIEL PROUSSALIDIS | QMI AGENCY

OTTAWA - Fewer refugee claimants in Canada means savings for taxpayers, says Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.

Kenney credits a two-month-old tightening of the asylum system with discouraging fakers, slashing weekly refugee claims by 70% compared to what Canada has seen over the last six years.

"Canada is a fair and generous country, but the message has been received loud and clear that we will not tolerate continued abuse of Canada's asylum system," Kenney said Friday in a statement.

He says if the trend continues, provinces will save more than $2 billion in social service, education and health care costs over five years.

Back in December, the Conservatives introduced a list of countries considered safe enough that any refugee claimants coming from them would be assessed within 45 days, with the likely rejected applicants sent back home.

That means rejected refugee claimants likely wouldn't be in Canada long enough to qualify for provincial social programs.

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