"There's two possible things that could happen," said Desloges.
"If the person is apprehended, gets caught crossing the border and is taken into custody by the authorities, then they're taken to the nearest immigration or border service office to lodge a claim," she said. "If they're not apprehended, they can go to an immigration office and lodge their own claim."
Claimants are then interviewed by officers about their personal history, how they got to Canada, and other details. The point of this interview is to weed out people who may be ineligible for various reasons, such as criminal history, Desloges said.
Once this initial interview is over, asylum-seekers are given a date for an immigration hearing within 60 days and released. Although they are provided temporary health care for this period, they do not receive housing or other benefits.
"The government doesn't provide them with anything," Desloges said. "They'll basically drop them off at a refugee centre or the Salvation Army or something."
Some refugee organizations are struggling to keep up. Winnipeg's Welcome Place, which provides temporary housing to newcomers, says it has no more room for people even as refugees continue to arrive.