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Editorial: Ukrainian families need help for a new start

More than 1,500 displaced Ukrainians have arrived in Saskatchewan since the conflict began.
Estevan new Ukrainians pic 1
More than 1,500 displaced Ukrainians have arrived in Saskatchewan since the conflict began.

WEYBURN - The federal government needs to put their money where their mouth is where helping Ukrainian refugees are concerned, especially with the red tape that government officials have in place for new arrivals in Canada.

The province is welcoming some 230 new refugees who have fled Ukraine to escape the violence and war inflicted on their country by Russia.

Among those who are arriving this week is a family of seven to Weyburn, arranged for through the Sunflower Network.

There are a lot of people in Weyburn and area who are putting in a huge effort to help provide a safe place and a home for this family, as would be happening in many communities around the province welcoming families and individuals from Ukraine.

A large part of welcoming these families is dealing with all of the requirements of immigration that the federal government has in place.

These people have in many cases fled their homes and the communities they grew up in with only what they could carry with them, and are looking to establish a new life here in the safety and peace of Canada.

With the arrival of this flight, more than 1,500 displaced Ukrainians have arrived in Saskatchewan since the conflict began, and it’s likely there will be more in the coming weeks and months.

Ukrainian nationals have been able to come into the country under the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) program, which was set up by the federal government – but this government also has onerous restrictions and rules, such as getting medical exams before a work permit can be issued.

One of the difficulties with the medical exams is only a few physicians in major centres are allowed to do the exams, and for newcomers to Canada, one can imagine how confusing that is as they try to navigate the rules in a country where they don’t know the language or the culture.

With harvest coming up and a labour shortage in many sectors, the new arrivals would be very welcome to bring their experience to fill these vacant jobs, but the delays caused by red tape may make that rather difficult.

These families come here looking to Canada to provide them not only a safe and peaceful country to live in, but a safe and welcoming environment where they can work and make a life for themselves and their families.

They want to do their part as new members of the local communities here, including here in Weyburn, but how can they do that if there are mounds of red tape to overcome, and rules that will only cause major delays?

The government needs to step forward and help these families get established in their new homes.