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Since the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces one year ago, about 21,600 Ukrainians have come to Alberta seeking support. With more expected to arrive in the coming months, the government is enabling access to meet the demand for programs and providing new funding for settlement and language services to help Ukrainian newcomers settle in Alberta.
If Budget 2023 is passed, Alberta’s Ministry of Trade, Immigration and Multiculturalism would provide $7 million in new funding over three years for language and settlement services. Additionally, the Ministry of Seniors, Community and Social Services would provide $20.3 million for housing and financial supports, ensuring they are made available to Ukrainian evacuees.
“The Alberta government is steadfast in supporting Ukrainians coming to Canada to avoid Russia’s war machine. Our Alberta government will continue to find ways to support Ukrainians coming to Alberta as long as this war continues.”
Settlement and language supports
Budget 2023 would provide a total of $7 million over three years for continuous settlement and language supports.
This funding would help settlement agencies and immigrant-serving organizations meet increased service demand and would ensure that Ukrainian evacuees have the language supports and settlement services necessary for their successful transition into Alberta communities. The funding would build upon existing English language learning opportunities and supports for successful employment and economic transition.
Alberta’s government will continue to work with immigrant-serving and community organizations to identify the supports needed.
“The Ukrainian community and settlement agencies have told us that there is a critical need for funding to help evacuees when they arrive in Alberta. As a dedicated supporter of the Ukrainian people, the Alberta government would provide much-needed funding to ensure Ukrainian evacuees have language and settlement services when they arrive in Alberta.”
“Ukraine is grateful for the government of Alberta’s constant and effective support of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in our struggle against unjustified and unprovoked Russian aggression. We are also grateful for the support of Ukrainians who come to the province to escape the horrors of the Russian war, mostly women with children. Many of them have no relatives or friends here and are also very limited in means of living. Such support is very important, and we hope to continue fruitful cooperation with the Government of Alberta in this direction.”
Affordable housing and Income Support
Supporting Ukrainian families and individuals is a key focus for Alberta’s Ministry of Seniors, Community and Social Services. Ukrainian evacuees were previously unable to apply for Alberta’s Rent Supplement Program due to requirements of citizenship, refugee or immigration status. With $6.8 million made available in late 2022-23, Ukrainian evacuees are eligible to apply for the same social housing and rent supplement programs as other Albertans, beginning Feb. 24.
If passed, Budget 2023 would inject $9.9 million into Alberta’s Rent Supplement Program to support the increased number of people eligible, bringing total additional support to $16.7 million.
“With thousands of Ukrainian individuals and families fleeing to Alberta, our government is ensuring support is available for them. By providing more access to supports such as the Rental Assistance Benefit, we are paving a path for success in our province. It is important for those leaving Ukraine to know that our government stands with them in solidarity against the tragic war in their home country, and we will show that by supporting those who find refuge in Alberta.”
Budget 2023 would also provide $3.6 million to support the continuation of financial benefits similar to Income Support for Ukrainian evacuees, which began on March 28, 2022.
The Ukrainian Evacuee Emergency Financial Support and Benefits program would be extended until January 2024 to ensure both new and existing eligible applicants would receive emergency or ongoing financial benefits.
The six-month maximum duration of benefits would also be removed to ensure benefits are provided to individuals based on need, not how long they have been on the caseload.
“The support of Alberta’s government is helping thousands of displaced Ukrainian individuals and families get settled in this province. This added assistance will help many people and provide some added relief to those who are experiencing distress and unable to make ends meet.”
More than eight million Ukrainians have fled their country and about 21,600 have arrived in Alberta, with more expected to come.
Since the conflict began, Alberta’s government has provided significant assistance to Ukraine and its citizens, including:
$10 million to the Ukrainian World Congress’s Unite with Ukraine campaign for humanitarian aid
$2.2 million for settlement and language services delivered across the province
$1 million to the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, organized by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and the Canada Ukraine Foundation, to help coordinate and deliver humanitarian aid
$5 million to the Ukrainian World Congress to equip 5,000 members of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Force with defensive equipment
$5 million to the Canada Ukraine Foundation for additional humanitarian aid
$350,000 to the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Alberta Provincial Council for their campaign coordinating the air shipment of first aid and defensive equipment to Ukraine
In November 2022, Alberta’s government announced $12.3 million in additional funding to support newly enrolled kindergarten to Grade 12 students from Ukraine with language, social and educational supports
The Government of Alberta expects as many as 1,100 Ukrainian newcomer households may need rent support. The average benefit is about $750 per month, while the actual amount of the benefit may change based on individual circumstances.