Niagara organization concerned about bureaucracy and lack of money to help those fleeing Ukraine

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Frustrations run high in the Canadian-Ukrainian community as the group grapples with red tape and financial constraints to help their compatriots reach Canada safely for safety from Russia’s war on the nation, which continues to suffer immense civilian casualties.

While the federal government has promised to move quickly to open emergency immigration programs to facilitate quick entry for displaced Ukrainians, the President of the Ukrainian-Canadian Niagara Congress Chapter, Irene Newton, said that his national organization was struggling with layers of bureaucracy.

“It’s stalled right now across Canada,” Newton said. “The government has opened up an emergency visitor visa, but it’s the people there who have to fill it out and then pay for their trip here. Where is a family of three going to get $1,500 per ticket? plane to come here?

Having been displaced by the relentless bombardment of metropolitan cities across the country, those crossing the border into Poland not only find themselves strapped for money or with limited payment methods – they will also have to learn how to navigate the online system. complex Canadian immigration, which, depending on the individual’s personal circumstances, can turn into a difficult administrative hurdle to overcome, especially with limited English skills.

Newton said the government must act in a few key areas, such as setting up a settlement system with translators at airports and people who will guide Ukrainians to the appropriate destinations in the country, because many could not having parents or on-the-ground support in Canada. .

Then, says Newton, come all the costs associated with daily living in Canada.

“We have a lot of people here who are willing to house and feed them, but people ask me, who will help them do that? Utilities, groceries, getting them jobs and more,” he said. Newton. “A business in Niagara Falls told me they were in contact with a woman who just crossed the Polish border. They have a job lined up for her here, but nowhere to live. I have two families waiting to come, but it’s 10 people in total, and that’s $10,000 in plane tickets. We don’t know where to find that kind of money.

The Ukrainian-Canadian Congress currently holds frequent meetings on the issue. A number of local prayer watches are also being held over the next few weeks around Niagara and will be announced on the UCC Niagara Facebook page.

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