Toronto, Canada, February 8, 2023 – A Pathfinders-led coalition of four humanitarian NGOs today published its letter to Prime Minister Trudeau urging the renewal of Canada’s support to war-displaced Ukrainians. With the uncertainty of the war’s future, the letter outlines three critical asks to support war-displaced Ukrainians, including: a 1-year extension of the Canada Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) – set to expire March 31, 2023, the parallel extension of federal financial and other support provided via Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada to benefit CUAET holders – expiring June 30, 2023, and the recommendation to use proceeds from seized Russian assets to help with support to displaced Ukrainians, enabled by Bill C-19 since June 2022.
Co-signing the letter is a coalition of partner organizations who represent volunteers across Canada and the United States providing support ranging from information on CUAET visas, flight sponsorships, host-matching, employment search and support, and settlement support services, including Pathfinders for Ukraine, North America 4 Ukraine, 4Ukraine.ca, and Safe Passage 4 Ukraine. These grassroots organizations formed in the early days of the invasion of Ukraine and have since impacted the lives of tens of thousands of displaced Ukrainians.
Since the introduction of the CUAET program, over 821 thousand Ukrainians have applied, 527 thousand have been approved, and since the beginning of 2022, nearly 154 thousand have arrived in Canada according to IRCC and CBSA statistics as at January 31, 2023. Concerns among the Ukrainian community have been expressed by those waiting for visa decisions, those who have the visa but have not yet mobilized the resources to make it to Canada, and those who are still in Ukraine but are uncertain about the future, among others.
A copy of the letter can be accessed here (English | Français).
From the Organizations
“Being there in Poland and Ukraine as CUAET launched, we saw how Ukrainians were drawn to Canada as a safe haven option: its global reputation, large Ukrainian diaspora, and community values helped make the program the most popular program outside the EU. As expiry dates approach, anxieties about whether Canada will continue to keep the doors, support, and opportunity open are flurrying among social media communities. We urge the Government to promptly announce extension of the program and its support to help allay those fears, be there to support potential future displaced people, and allow organizations to plan their efforts.”
Randall Baran-Chong, Executive Director – Pathfinders for Ukraine
“Over the past year NA4U has worked tirelessly to support the resettlement of Ukrainians in Canada. As an organization we have seen the immense impact the CUAET program has had as Canadians have come together to support the program and Ukrainians. The program has had a profound impact on the lives of so many and is such an important life-saving initiative.”
Cara Filiou Kingstone, President – North America 4 Ukraine
“Many families have had to leave their homes suddenly and with little to no belongings. They have been waiting, often from a neighbouring country, for months to receive passports and apply for the CUAET. The program’s expiration would close the door on the opportunity for these families to come to Canada.”
Karyna Alyeksyeyeva, President – 4Ukraine.ca
“As winter ends, Russia’s assault on Ukraine will likely escalate, increasing the amount of Ukrainians who will seek safety abroad. While neighboring countries have done their best to accommodate the millions of Ukrainians in need, there are thousands who would prefer to join loved ones in Canada but need support for the journey and to resettle. We hope that Canada will continue to warmly welcome Ukrainians.”
Rachel Jamison, President – Safe Passage 4 Ukraine