submitted by St. Lawrence – Rideau Immigration Partnership and Refugees for Brockville
The Ukrainian refugee crisis continues to worsen. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on Feb.24, 2022, more than 10 million Ukrainians have been forced to flee their homes. That’s a quarter of the country’s population. 4.7 million of those have fled the country entirely and are now refugees in their neighboring countries.
The Canadian government has offered an unlimited number of special temporary residence visas (“CUAET”) for Ukrainian refugees to come to Canada. To date, the government has approved over 91,000 applications for Ukrainian refugees.
Locally, three refugee families have already arrived and at least two more will arrive soon. More are likely to come as the government continues to approve further CUAET applications and these newcomers look for more affordable regions to live and work, whether temporarily or permanently.
The biggest challenge with regards to the arrival of refugees, and is the case with anyone arriving, is the housing shortage. This is not an issue that can be solved quickly and is a problem not just in Leeds & Grenville, but across the country.
Ukrainian newcomers are eligible for settlement supports such as ESL classes, assistance in finding work, and registering children in school. Many local service providers have already stepped up to offer their assistance.
Local refugee sponsorship groups, including United Welcome, as well as the umbrella organization Refugees for Brockville, are already working to assisting any refugees who may be arriving to the area.
For anyone looking to get involved with assisting refugees in general, or the Ukrainian refugees specifically, you can get in contact with Refugees for Brockville through its Facebook page (Refugees for Brockville | Facebook). A Google Form link is posted for those wishing to help that allows you to choose the ways you want/can help.
Tax-deductible financial donations to support these families are being received by United Welcome (by e-transfer to [email protected], marked “United Welcome”).
The St. Lawrence-Rideau Immigration Partnership is also looking for local Ukrainian speakers to join its volunteer translator list. They can be contacted at [email protected] or 613-213-4455.
The government of Canada website, https://www.international.gc.ca/world-monde/issues_development-enjeux_developpement/response_conflict-reponse_conflits/crisis-crises/ukraine.aspx?lang=eng , provides more information about the government measures taken for the assistance and support of the Ukrainian refugees and how you can help.