Total Population: ~865,000 for Vancouver Island. The metropolitan area of Victoria has close to ~360,000 residents.
% of Ukrainian Population: 6.1% of Ukrainians out of total population (sixth highest concentration in Canada).
Climate: It has the mildest climate in Canada. The winter temperatures in the city, on average, are 4°C to 6°C. Because of its temperate climate often compared to the Mediterranean, Vancouver Island has a long growing season.
Language: Predominantly English.
Known For: Being the largest island on the west coast of North America. It is a short ferry ride away from the metropolitan city of Vancouver. Victoria has a very low crime rate and is known for its excellent standard of living. Most cities on Vancouver Island have a laid back lifestyle. This community provides excellent support for LGBTQ2+ individuals.
Pros: Because of it’s mild climate, Vancouver Island is known for it’s peaceful nature, and recreation and eco-tourism. Vancouver Island nature is breathtaking. Sailing, kayaking, and other water-based activities are popular here. There is no commuter traffic on the Island. Housing prices are lower compared to other areas in British Columbia.
Cons: Since the land here is limited, the supply for housing and jobs is low and the demand is high. While the housing prices might be lower compared to other regions, the living costs are still high considering the salary range. Social circles are tight, so if you’re the type of person who wants to establish an active social life, Vancouver Island only provides limited opportunities to interact.
Cost of Living: Generally speaking, housing is cheaper on Vancouver Island in comparison to the mainland. However, consumer goods and expenses are slightly higher. Family of four estimated monthly costs are $4,675.63 without rent. A single person estimated monthly costs are $1,279.32 without rent. Victoria is 1.30% more expensive than Toronto (without rent). Rent in Victoria is, on average, 7.90% lower than in Toronto. Learn more.
Apartment vacancy rate: 1% (2021), among the lowest in the country.
Average cost of rent (1 bdrm): $1,895.45 (2022)
Average cost of rent (3 bdrm): $3,326.09 (2022)
Public Transportation: Public transportation is not very developed. There are some bus services running on the island that will get you to various communities and ferry terminals located on the island.
Arts & Culture: Vancouver Island is well known for its thriving arts community. While the city has a flourishing culture and is a center for the arts, one can also find a smaller-town feel amongst its suburbs. There is a remarkable range of work on display in galleries and home studios throughout the region. Masks, totems, rattles and exquisite carvings of animals and spirit creatures is a centuries-old tradition for the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations, whose leading artisans are valued highly by collectors worldwide.
*It is strongly suggested not to arrive in Vancouver or Victoria without having a plan for accommodations in advance.
Who to contact to secure housing and migration support: Help Ukraine Vancouver Island
Jobs: Register with Work BC, who will help with job search, free bus pass, free laptop, and free work clothes.
Airport: Victoria International Airport (YYJ)
An organization called SUCCESS has a kiosk set up at arrivals. Hours of operation are 8am-8pm, Monday-Sunday, except statutory holiday. Help Ukraine Vancouver Island can also send a driver to meet their guests at the airport, who takes them to the ferry, where their host meets them.
First 1-2 Weeks
Upon arrival to anywhere on Vancouver Island, please email Help Ukraine Vancouver Island to let them know of your contact details and location. They will arrange for a welcome basket to be delivered to you.
If you require emergency support for food, clothing, or other needs, please fill in their application for assistance.
Sim Card: Can be requested on the application for assistance form.
SIN card, health card, bank account, doctor, school, childcare/daycare, community, language, transportation, etc.
The host and newcomer is given this checklist, which details what needs to be done in the first 90 days.
Accommodations (longer term), Jobs, Childcare, Education, Language Support, etc.
If a job cannot be found in advance through WorkBC, Help Ukraine Vancouver Island can help to job match. It takes about 3-5 weeks to find a job that pays $19/hour. It is not always a job in your field.