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British Columbia launches hotline to support arrival of Ukrainian immigrants

Click to play video: 'As the West opens its doors to Ukraine, millions more refugees suffer around the world' As the West opens its doors to Ukraine, millions more refugees suffer around the world
The Canadian government and many of its allies have been commended for the humanitarian aid they’ve provided to Ukrainians as millions leave the country. Experts say initiatives shown by western nations is the ideal response during a refugee crisis. But as Kyle Benning reports, many agencies are questioning whether these measures will be available for people fleeing countries beyond Europe – Mar 30, 2022

The B.C. government has launched a new phone line to ensure Ukrainians fleeing violence who are arriving in B.C. have access to the services they need.

The Service BC phone line, 1-800-663-7867, will be available with translation services in Ukrainian, Russian and 140 other languages from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT every day.

The line is in place to help people arriving from Ukraine and their families in locating and accessing the services they need, such as employment, health-care, housing and education.

The B.C. government announced earlier this week that Ukrainian refugees would immediately get health-care and not have to wait the standard three months for those coming from out of province.

The province is also waiving the international student fee for those arriving from Ukraine and entering the K to 12 system.

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The hotline is also in place to coordinate British Columbians who want to volunteer or donate to help displaced Ukrainians feel welcome in the province.

Read more: Old resort brings new life for Ukrainian refugees in East Sooke, B.C.

Click to play video: 'B.C. preparing to welcome Ukrainian refugees' B.C. preparing to welcome Ukrainian refugees
B.C. preparing to welcome Ukrainian refugees – Mar 29, 2022

 

Ukrainian community organizations in major urban centres and regional hubs have indicated to the government that they are overwhelmed by the generosity of British Columbians and need help managing calls and offers of support.

The phone number is also in place to help with that support.

Earlier this week, federal immigration minister Sean Fraser announced an expansion of the federal settlement program to offer key services such as language training, orientation, employment assistance and other supports for Ukrainians as they settle into their new communities.

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Read more: B.C. to waive health-care wait period, student fees for Ukrainian refugees

More than 60,000 Ukrainians have applied to move to Canada but the expectation is many of those people have applied to multiple places to seek refuge.

British Columbia is still looking for details from Ottawa on support for paying for housing and helping either secure employment or provide long-term financial assistance.

Most Ukrainians coming to B.C. are expected to arrive through the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel program.

Under this new federal program, Ukrainians and their family members will be allowed to stay in Canada as temporary residents for up to three years.

Ukrainians will be allowed to apply for a three-year open work permit.

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