Today was spent getting a sense of Pathfinders’ work at Warszawa Centralna at the Canada Desk, as well as making headway on a tech solutions project that is in the works.
Many Ukrainian mothers with children approached the desk today asking about the status of their applications or for updates on other items we have been working through with them. The team looks forward to their daily visits, especially when we have good news to share. Some have become “regulars” because of the many stopgaps and bottlenecks within the immigration process through CUAET.
The Canada-Ukraine authorization for emergency travel (CUAET) is a special measure the Government of Canada introduced to support the people of Ukraine, essentially providing an open-door policy. But because it was enacted so quickly, there are many, many kinks.
There are common challenges that we’re facing on the daily
One such kink was illustrated in colour by Ukrainian mother Kateryna. Kateryna is seeking safe haven in Canada with her two children. Because of the rampant human trafficking issue, children’s applications require either both parents be migrating along with them — or they require written consent from the missing parent. A glaring problem is that many fathers are currently fighting in hot zones in Ukraine, so getting this consent signed off is extremely difficult, if not impossible. After all, they cannot hold a gun and a pen steady at the same time.
Some Ukrainian families obtained this consent in early days, which shows incredible forethought on their part, revelatory of the dire intuitions of the Ukrainian people – they “had a feeling” Putin might put them in this situation. For documents that were secured in advance, translation is required to pave the road for swift IRCC review and approval. The IRCC does not have enough Ukrainian language bench strength to support this process, as Ukrainians we are simply not on everyone’s radar.
It takes hours to translate a handful of documents because legal names must be cross-checked and location names and dates triple verified to ensure a seamless approval process. One small blip in the bureaucracy process could mean starting again at step one — which takes time Ukrainians do not have.
Still, we continue to push forward and look ahead
Luckily our Executive Director has worked through enough of these applications to be able to identify the proverbial cherries on top to make application submissions more iron clad.
It is apparent that every special case requires a human touch, and all hands on deck. This is why an on-the-ground Canadian presence is essential to ensure displaced Ukrainians do not get discouraged and return to Ukraine while this war is still waging.
This is day 103.