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Ukrainians still fleeing war and arriving in Canada, some with help but most will get none

On behalf of Grassroots Response, we extend our deepest gratitude to Canadian Immigration Lawyers Association (CILA) for their efforts in raising awareness about the issues associated with the Ukrainian CUAET program.

Over 200,000 Ukrainian CUAET applications were still being processed after Feb, 2024 even with the looming March 31 deadline. The March 31 deadline marks the last day when Ukrainians can enter Canada with the CUAET Visa and gain the limited support offered by the Federal government. The government took much longer than the 14 days they said they would and are still processing applications a year later. We have just learned that the people whose applications were processed after Feb, 2024 are still eligible to enter Canada until Aug 1, 2024 and receive the same support offered to those who enter before the CUAET deadline. The end of the program won’t stop Ukrainian women, children, seniors or families from fleeing the war and trying to find safety in Canada but it will make it nearly impossible for those who have lost everything to survive here with no Federal or Provincial support.

Grassroots Response to the Ukrainian Crisis, a volunteer movement that originated in the Waterloo region and expanded its operations throughout Canada, is actively assisting Ukrainian newcomers: housing, employment, social & settlement support, food, clothing, transportation, translation and more. Most people do not realize that Ukrainians did not enter Canada as refugees under the CUAET program. They only received 14 days of accommodation in hotels after arrival, with many facing the threat of homelessness thereafter. Why did the government only simplify the Permanent Residency pathway for Ukrainians with relatives in Canada and not any who want to stay?

Canada needs to urgently reconsider the process Ukrainians can receive Permanent Residency. Many Ukrainains who do not have relatives with PR in Canada will need to leave once their Work Visa expires leaving them to go back to a Ukraine potentially still at war. What future do Ukrainian women, children, seniors have in Canada?

We express our solidarity with CILA and other volunteer and civil organizations in their pursuit of a fair and equitable approach to Ukrainian individuals affected by the ongoing war, now entering its third year. We propose joining forces to advocate for the rights and welfare of Ukrainian newcomers in Canada and call for equality and justice for these people.

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