Canada and Lima Group allies meet in Ottawa to discuss crisis in Venezuela

Canada and its Lima Group allies are meeting in Ottawa today to talk about the political, economic and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland will host the meeting that comes amid massive protests in Venezuela aimed at pressing the country's socialist leader, Nicolas Maduro, to vacate the presidency.

Canada has already contributed $2.2 million for the humanitarian crisis that's forced some three million Venezuelans from their homes, sending ripples across the region, particularly in neighbouring Brazil and Colombia which are now faced with a refugee crisis.

The gathering of more than a dozen of Canada's Western Hemisphere allies is meant to find new ways to support Venezuela's opposition and ease the refugee crisis. But sources say Canada won't be adding to the humanitarian fund because Maduro won't allow proper humanitarian access into the country.

The Prime Minister's Office says Justin Trudeau has spoken with the man who Canada and many of its allies consider to be Venezuela's legitimate leader.

A statement from the PMO says Trudeau talked to Juan Guaido about the need for countries to send a clear message about ``the illegitimacy of the Maduro regime'' and to ensure that Venezuela has free and fair presidential elections.