Volunteers for the Ukrainian Canadian Congress B.C. are working 14-hour days as thousands of Ukrainians fleeing the bombs and bullets of the Russian invasion have started arriving in B.C.
The bulk of the $15 million in additional funding announced by the B.C. government Tuesday goes to the B.C. Settlement and Integration Services program, which supports the Ukrainian Canadian Congress among 30 non-profit agencies. There is also extra support for the United Way’s 2-1-1 service to connect people with food and shelter, mental health and other social services, Municipal Affairs Minister Nathan Cullen announced May 3.
Cullen said 85,000 Ukrainians have been approved by the Canadian government for special visas due to the war, and 18,000 of those are expected to travel to B.C., mostly to connect with relatives and friends in the province. Another 200,000 applications for entry to Canada are in process, and B.C. could end up hosting 40,000 Ukrainians, he said.
Devon Sereda Goldie, representative of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress B.C., said volunteers are working long hours to welcome and assist people arriving in B.C. as they arrive.
Another $1 million is being added to B.C.’s Refugee Readiness Fund, including federally-designated refugees arriving from Afghanistan and Syria, two other war-torn countries.