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Ukrainian Club of Moncton hopeful over Ottawa's decision to extend help for fleeing Ukrainians


With about 1,900 Ukrainians already in New Brunswick since the start of the war last year, Wednesday’s announcement provided hope.

“What we heard yesterday was great, really,” said Ukrainian Club of Moncton president, Nataliia Haidash.

On Wednesday, the federal government announced an extension to the Canada Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel program, which Sean Fraser, the immigration, refugees and citizenship of Canada minister, said will provide a safe and fast way to get Ukrainians to the country.

“We will be extending the deadline in which Ukrainians can apply until July 15, beyond the March 31 deadline that was in place before,” said Fraser.

“Those who are approved will also benefit from an extended period during which they can arrive and will continue to be eligible for some of the supports until March 31 of 2024.”

He adds that Canada will continue to support Ukrainians as they transition to a new life in the country, including access to settlement services once they arrive.

“All of the measures that we’ve advanced build upon our previous actions to support Ukraine’s security and resilience and to hold Russia accountable for its atrocities and crimes,” he said.

“We’re going to closely monitor the ongoing needs of Ukrainians and Ukraine to see how we can continue to lend our support and help win this war.” 

Haidash says she was excited to hear the news on Wednesday because it means more people can come to Canada and find safety. 

“The need was great because the war in Ukraine is far from being over and people are still fleeing the country, searching for rescue, so I think it was on time,” she said.

However, she empathizes that Ukrainians are not refugees.

“Many Canadians thought they are indeed refugees, who are entitled to all kinds of assistance that refugees normally get – mainly housing and financial assistance through some period of time, which is not the case with Ukrainians,” she explained.

Adding that the program just provides another way for Ukrainians to come to Canada in the first place.

“It opens up a pathway for Ukrainians to apply for the visa really fast in comparison to other programs and it gives adults a work permit so they are able to arrive here and find jobs," she said. "And it gives study permits to the kids so they can be enrolled into the schools and it also gives them one time financial assistance."

Overall, she says fleeing Ukrainians have found support through the community once they arrive.

“They are on their own once they come here and they face a lot of barriers like employment barriers and language barriers,” she explained.

“They come with zero experience of working in Canada, zero networking, so it’s really, really tough for them.”

Speaking out for the actions she’s seen, she thanks the community of Moncton, N.B., for the ongoing support and helping make everyone feel welcome.

“Nobody expected this war [was] going to take so long,” she said. “We all hoped it was going to be over in weeks, months, it couldn’t be that long in 2022/2023, but here we are, unfortunately. Russia’s still destroying our residential buildings in Ukraine in the middle of the day.”

While Wednesday’s announcement brought good news for the foreseeable future, there are still questions about what comes next.

“The main question will be, 'What's going to happen to all these people who arrive? Will there be created a pathway for them to apply for permanent residency or will they have to apply through the same program that already exists?' This is something we still do not know,” she said.

On Sunday, the Ukrainian Club of Moncton is holding an Easter Bazaar from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. at 22 Church Street. The day will be filled with delicious food, workshops, dancing and songs.

“We will keep raising funds for the Ukrainian army with [these] kind of activities,” said Haidash.


This story has been edited to correct the spelling of “bazaar.” Top Stories

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