Speaking Notes for the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship: Announcement regarding additional measures for those fleeing the war in Ukraine


Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Sean Fraser, and Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra, hold a news conference to make an announcement regarding additional measures for those fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Ottawa, Ontario

April 9, 2022

As delivered

Thank you so much for your service today. I’m joined here today with my colleague the Honourable Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport and my Parliamentary Secretary Marie-France Lalonde. For six weeks now, the world has watched in shock and horror as the Russian armed forces have invaded and assaulted the sovereignty and territorial integrity and right to self-determination of Ukraine and is people.

Dozens of cities and communities large and small have been destroyed and Ukrainians have mounted a brave defence of their homeland. That incredible defiance and fight for their sovereign rights continues today. Canada continues to stand with the people of Ukraine as they defend their country against this attack. Canada reacted quickly and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada took several steps to support Ukrainians.

Working with our partners, we’re going to do everything we can to make sure that Ukrainians are supported over the course of their stay in Canada. I’d like to share that since launching last month, Canada has now approved more than 30,000 applications for those seeking to come here under the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel. That number is in addition to the thousands who were approved under programs that pre-existed this new innovative measure.

This is an expedited pathway to Canada that provides three-year stays for those who need it. These newcomers will come with a work permit in hand. Children will be able to go to school and they will have access to work and study opportunities. To reduce the pressure on biometrics collection, we are exempting biometrics for people under the age of 18, over the age of 60 and those with previous Canadian visas that have no derogatory immigration history and who holds supporting documents.

This decision was made out of the utmost concern for the safety of Canadians while facilitating the processing of applications from Ukrainians fleeing the large-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

Again, these decisions regarding biometric exemptions have been taken with great care for the safety and security of Canadians. We’re also doing everything that we can to help facilitate travel for those who may not have travel documents.

This means that for family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents currently residing in Ukraine who don’t hold valid travel documents IRCC can issue single-journey travel documents on exceptional basis to support their travel to Canada. Even though most Ukrainians are arriving as temporary residents, we announced recently that we would expand settlement supports for all Ukrainians coming to Canada in recognition of the special circumstances that they’re facing and the potentially immense need that they may be requiring to have met.

This means that Ukrainians will have access to key services to help them settle into their new communities. This includes things like language training, information about life in Canada, information on how to enrol children in schools, employment aid and services for women, seniors, youth and LGBTQ2+ individuals. For this, we rely on more than 550 settlement services agencies across Canada who are mobilizing to play a key role in supporting Ukrainians after their arrival.

I want to highlight that starting this month we are going to be supporting efforts to provide Ukrainians with arrival packages at Toronto, Vancouver and Edmonton airports. These packages will include key information on support and services available to Ukrainians and the information will be provided in Ukrainian on request as well. This is what we have to do. We know that coming to live in a new country even temporarily is not easy. And we will continue to look for ways to further support Ukrainians after they’ve arrived.

But we know that we can do more. This morning at the Stand-up for Ukraine Pledging Event, the Prime Minister announced additional supports for Ukrainians fleeing Putin’s illegal and unjust war and who are arriving under the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel. These include new income supports for Ukrainians for up to six weeks for those who need it after they arrive to get them started here in Canada on the right foot and ensure that they have access to the basic necessities. We’re also going to provide temporary hotel accommodations for up to two weeks to make sure that those needing a place to stay have access to initial accommodations and those early days after they first arrive.

This morning at the Stand-up for Ukraine event, the Prime Minister announced additional support measures for Ukrainians fleeing Putin's war and coming via the Canada-Ukraine Emergency Travel Authorization. These measures include new income supports for Ukrainians for up to six weeks for those in need. This measure will allow them to get off to a good start in Canada and to have access to basic necessities. We will also be providing temporary hotel rooms for two weeks to ensure that those who need a place to stay have access to initial accommodation.

I’d also like to thank in particular our provincial and territorial partners who have stepped up to provide access to healthcare and education for Ukrainians. Your support alongside the 550 resettlement organizations across the country has been instrumental in making sure that those fleeing the war are supported not just on the path to get into Canada but after they arrive. And I want to say from the very beginning the spirit of Team Canada in support for Ukraine has been something that has motivating me to continue my work and I’m incredibly grateful or these partnerships that we’ve built.

We look forward to building on our partnerships with provincial and territorial governments, NGOs, the Canadian business community and Canadians at large as we come together to help those in Ukraine. This is all happening very quickly and further details are going to be available on the days and weeks ahead as these new measures begin to take effect. I am, however, confident that the actions that we’re taking today demonstrate our ongoing and determined support for the people of Ukraine.

We will continue to look for ways to support people fleeing war in Ukraine. I’d like now to turn things over to my colleague the Honourable Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport. Thank you.

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