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Ukrainian refugees | Quebecers will open their doors by the hundreds

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Hundreds of Quebecers are ready to welcome Ukrainians fleeing the war into their own homes. A welcome offer as nearly 900 nationals of this country have already arrived in Canada in one week.

Since 1er January, as the Russian threat intensified on Ukraine’s doorstep, more than 6,000 Ukrainian nationals entered Canada, according to the latest data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Then, in the last week (from February 28 to March 6), 876 of them – including permanent residents – arrived by air, also indicates the Canada Border Services Agency.

The federal and provincial governments have announced that there will be no limit on the number of Ukrainian refugees or asylum seekers accepted into Canada. Special programs at both levels of government are being put in place to facilitate the arrival of Ukrainians in the country. IRCC’s must be finalized by March 17.

Prepare to help

Quebec is therefore preparing for the arrival of families torn apart by war.


PHOTO PHILIPPE BOIVIN, THE PRESS

Michael Shwec, president of the Quebec branch of the Congress of Ukrainian Canadians

Priority at the Congress of Ukrainian Canadians [CUC]it’s really to collect goods to be able to have something to give to those who arrive with nothing.

Michael Shwec, president of the Quebec section of the CUC

A large part of these goods in Montreal are received and sorted at the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of Sainte-Sophie, located at the corner of 10and Avenue and rue de Bellechasse.


PHOTO HUGO-SÉBASTIEN AUBERT, THE PRESS

Father Volodymyr Kuchmir, Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Sophia

We no longer take clothes, because we have enough, but we take sanitary articles, medication and non-perishable food.

Father Volodymyr Kuchmir, Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Sophia

On its web page, the CUC has brought together several initiatives to help future refugees, whether through financial donations (a foundation is being set up), donations of essential goods or through volunteering. “We need help with translation, with daycare, with accommodation,” says Michael Shwec. We try to set up programs that normally take two or three years to set up. »

Anywhere in the province

The momentum of solidarity is spreading far beyond Montreal. “Currently, the troops are getting organized, describes Daniel Côté, mayor of Gaspé and president of the Union of Quebec Municipalities (UMQ). The important thing will be to be ready when Ukrainian refugees arrive in Quebec. »

Fourteen cities that have experience in welcoming refugees from conflict zones have been targeted in Quebec, including Montreal, Quebec, Trois-Rivières, Laval, Longueuil, Sherbrooke and Gatineau. Municipal, social and community services will be used to help newcomers.​​

“We are currently working with our network of partners to orchestrate the solidarity initiatives which are multiplying, wrote by email Émilie Vézina, media relations of the Quebec ministry of Immigration, Francisation and Integration. More details will follow soon. »

Other municipalities also want to get involved. In Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, in the Gaspé, a disused building could be renovated to accommodate short-term refugees, cites Daniel Côté as an example. “Each time we have to relocate people, we have to find arms, social services, but we always manage to organize ourselves,” adds the president of the UMQ.

Welcome home

Hundreds of Quebecers, touched by the images coming from the other side of the Atlantic, are also ready to welcome families into their homes. “In terms of volunteers, we already have more than 1,000, and the majority is to open their doors,” says Michael Shwec astonished.

“Here, in Gaspé, we have people who tell us that they have room in their house to accommodate people who, in the short term, need a roof over their heads,” also points out Daniel Côté.

The help group Canadians hosting Ukrainian refugees now has 6,400 members on its Facebook page and 2,880 people on its list, according to Mand Alexandre Dufresne. The lawyer is behind this initiative, which aims to put citizens in contact with community or government organizations responsible for hosting Ukrainian refugees.

“Quebecers are really a warm people,” observes Michael Shwec. They open their hearts, their wallets, their homes. »

Learn more

  • $230,000
    Amount raised in one day by the “Save Ukraine” emergency fundraising campaign

    SOURCE: Congress of Ukrainian Canadians

    28,250
    Number of people in Canada whose Ukrainian language was spoken most often at home in 2016

    SOURCE: Statistics Canada

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