March 22, 2022. OTTAWA, ON. The Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC), the Ukrainian Canadian community, and all Canadians are coming together to assist and welcome to Canada Ukrainians displaced by Russia’s genocidal war against Ukraine. The UCC is immensely grateful to the thousands of people, businesses and institutions who are ready to provide assistance.
The UCC calls on the Government of Canada to ensure that federal supports are available for Ukrainian citizens who will be coming to Canada on the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET). As noted by the Government of Canada, this is not a refugee immigrant stream.
“There are virtually no federal supports in place for Ukrainians who will be coming to Canada through the CUAET program. It is naïve to assume that a population of women and children, traumatized by war, will be able to find immediate shelter, secure employment, and access services,” stated Alexandra Chyczij, National President of the UCC. “Their arrival in Canada without proper support will only traumatize them further. Despite numerous appeals from the UCC to the federal government, this program still does not reflect the reality and scope of this humanitarian crisis.”
In the four weeks since Russia launched an all-out assault on Ukraine, purposely targeting and murdering civilians, almost 4 million people have been forced to leave Ukraine. This is the gravest humanitarian crisis in Europe since WWII. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, about 90 per cent of those who have been forced to flee Ukraine are women and children. As it stands today, the plan put forward by Minister Fraser and the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship falls far short of the requirements to meet their needs.
The UCC is urging the federal government to:
– Implement a departure and arrival plan, as most displaced people will not have the resources to travel to Canada;
– Provide federal financial support for a 90-day transitional/integration period for food and shelter, based on need;
– Provide federal support for settlement agencies (orientation, documentation, work permit, health care, ESL etc) with whom local Ukrainian communities will engage;
– Encourage provincial governments to recruit and sponsor displaced people from Ukraine.
– Develop and implement a refugee stream for Ukrainian citizens displaced by Russia’s war.
The full list of recommendations provided to the Department of Immigration Refugees and Citizenship by the UCC is available here:
“Our community and Canadians all across the country are willing to help – it is time for the federal government to step up and dedicate the resources that an effective, compassionate Canadian response demands,” said Ihor Michalchyshyn, UCC CEO.