Alberta has welcomed 26,572 Ukrainians since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, and has directed more than $28 million to date in support and services to help evacuees resettle in Alberta. With more evacuees expected to arrive as the invasion enters its second year, Budget 2023 would provide $2.1 million in additional supports for pre-arrival services and a Ukrainian Help Line to streamline information and available resources.
“Our government is committed to helping the thousands of Ukrainians seeking refuge here. Thanks to the efforts of so many tireless volunteers in addition to work by our government, Ukrainian newcomers have access to numerous resources available to them to integrate into communities across Alberta smoothly and successfully.”
The creation of a help desk is a direct result of the recommendations of the Premier’s Advisory Task Force on Ukraine. One of the items it heard was that Ukrainian nationals were having trouble navigating what can be complex programming and applications. This new help desk will ensure that Ukrainian evacuees and the organizations that serve them can get timely, accurate information in the language of their choosing.
“The task force has done crucial work in uncovering gaps in supports for Ukrainian evacuees. It also ensured we are providing support where it will have the biggest impact. As a government, we have a responsibility to get this right for these evacuees, and the advice from the task force is ensuring we do.”
“The Premier’s task force on Ukraine members has deep roots in the province’s Ukrainian community and heard directly from the community and those who are supporting newcomers. The task force has done an outstanding job of quickly determining what needs to be done to ensure effective services are available to help Ukrainian newcomers thrive here just like the generations of Ukrainians who’ve come before them have done.”
Other previously announced Budget 2023 supports for Ukrainian evacuees also reflect task force input and include:
$7 million over three years for settlement and language supports to help agencies and immigrant-serving organizations meet increased service demand.
$9.9 million for social housing and rent supplement programs, through Alberta’s Rent Supplement Program, to address growing waitlists and support Ukrainian newcomers eligible for these programs. This is on top of the additional $6.8 million made available in late 2022-23.
$3.6 million to support emergency and ongoing financial benefits similar to those provided through the Income Support program. In addition, the Evacuee Emergency Financial Support and Benefits program, launched in March 2022 to provide emergency benefits for Ukrainian evacuees, will be extended to January 2024 to ensure both new and existing applicants can receive emergency or ongoing financial benefits.
$1.5 million, through the new Ukrainian Student Benefit, for post-secondary institutions to continue providing financial supports for Ukrainian newcomer students. Eligibility for Alberta apprenticeship education programs has also been expanded to allow Ukrainian temporary residents to participate.
$12,000 in funding to the Red Deer Public Library to help Ukrainian newcomers learning English as an Additional Language.
“It was a privilege to work with the members of the task force and under the leadership of the parliamentary secretary, Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk. Working with them and meeting with the stakeholders who all share a genuine interest in the well-being and successful settlement of Ukrainians fleeing the Russia invasion was enlightening in so many ways. Learning from their observations and experiences and conveying them to the Premier who values their input was an honour.”
Alberta’s government will continue to work with immigrant-serving and community organizations to identify supports needed, as well as ensure supports complement any federal government services. Alberta also continues to work with other provinces and territories to lobby the federal government to provide additional support for Ukrainian evacuees and announce plans to address the future of the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) program in 2023 and beyond.
Alberta’s government will continue to prioritize the assessment of permanent residency applications by Ukrainian nationals through the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program. Candidates must still meet all program criteria.
Budget 2023 secures Alberta’s future by transforming the health-care system to meet people’s needs, supporting Albertans with the high cost of living, keeping our communities safe and driving the economy with more jobs, quality education and continued diversification.