Canadian politicians on all levels are calling on the federal government to create a plan to help Ukrainian refugees
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday that Canada will be prioritizing immigration applications from Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion.
These plans have been in the works for weeks, said Trudeau, in a briefing. Among the support measures that were first announced on Feb. 22, is the increased operational capacity of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The department may priority-process applications for “proof of citizenship, permanent residence, and temporary residence, including study and work permits, for Ukrainian nationals who want to study, work, reunite with family, or start a new life in Canada.”
The federal government has also implemented measures to quickly issue travel documents to facilitate the crossing of Canadian citizens, Canadian permanent residents, and their immediate family members in Ukraine to neighbouring countries and, if they wish, back to Canada.
A phone line (+1 613-996-8885) has also been created for anyone “at home or abroad with urgent Ukraine-related immigration questions,” said Trudeau.
These announcements come as Canadian politicians on all levels are calling on the federal government to create a plan to help Ukrainian refugees.
Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh called on the government to prioritize humanitarian aid and safe havens for Ukrainians seeking refuge in Canada, in a tweet.
In a speech in the Ontario legislature this morning, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said she “asks the Prime Minister and federal government to ensure that we welcome Ukrainian refugees, commit to family reunification, and provide humanitarian aid to the people of Ukraine.”
In a tweet, Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown called for Canada to open its doors to displaced Ukrainians that may need a safe home.
“Canada has always welcomed those fleeing violence and persecution,” he wrote.
“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may kill thousands or hundreds of thousands of people; millions would be displaced,” said Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) CEO and executive director Ihor Michalchyshyn, in a statement. “The resulting humanitarian crisis would be the worst in Europe since World War II.”
Countries in Eastern Europe have been preparing for an influx of Ukrainian refugees for weeks. In Poland, hotels are being used to house those fleeing violence, and in Romania, the government is discussing the creation of refugee camps. Slovakia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are also all preparing for refugees.
The UCC and the Canada-Ukraine Foundation have created a committee that will oversee the humanitarian crisis that will result from further Russian invasion in the country, said Michalchyshyn.
The organization has also been in contact with the IRCC and other federal agencies to discuss Canada taking a lead role in supporting Ukrainian refugees.
National Post, with additional reporting from Reuters
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