Canadians trapped in Caribbean returning today

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is expressing sympathy and solidarity with those Canadians trapped by the devastation wrought by hurricane Irma in the Caribbean, as well as their worried family members at home.

Freeland tells a briefing today that the federal government is doing everything in its power to help and that she personally won't rest until everyone is brought home safely.

She says some 390 people have been brought home over the weekend, and commercial flights will be returning to Toronto with the rest of those who have registered with Global Affairs Canada.

Transport Minister Mark Garneau, who also took part in today's briefing, says 150 evacuees are to be on board a flight out of St. Maarten, while an additional 90 people will be brought home from Turks and Caicos.

The government has come in for stinging criticism for its response to calls for assistance from Canadians trapped in the Caribbean.

One key question has been why it took so long for the government to deploy any aircraft to the region, where hundreds of Canadians have been pleading for help. Garneau says airports are among the facilities most affected by the hurricanes, complicating relief and evacuation efforts.