The province announced Tuesday that it will be providing an additional $2.1 million in supports for Ukrainians fleeing their worn-torn country and seeking refuge in Alberta.
The funding, which comes out of the 2023 provincial budget, will be spent towards “pre-arrival services and a Ukrainian Help Line to streamline information and available resources,” according to a news release from the province.
More than 26,500 Ukrainians have arrived in Alberta since the beginning of the Russian invasion over a year ago.
The province’s Ukrainian task force determined the help line will help newcomers with any questions they have about settling in a new place, and navigating programming and applications in the language of their choosing, said the province.
“The task force has done crucial work in uncovering gaps in supports for Ukrainian evacuees,” said Alberta’s trade, immigration and multiculturalism minister, Rajan Sawhney.
“It also ensured we are providing support where it will have the biggest impact. As a government, we have a responsibility to get this right for these evacuees and the advice from the task force is ensuring we do.”
After receiving feedback from the task force, the province has also allocated more than $22 million in funding in the budget for settlement and language supports, social housing and rent supplement programs, emergency and ongoing financial benefits (income support), financial support for students, and learning English as a second language.
The task force “has deep roots in the province’s Ukrainian community and heard directly from the community and those who are supporting newcomers,” said Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk, parliamentary secretary for Ukrainian refugee settlement.
“The task force has done an outstanding job of quickly determining what needs to be done to ensure effective services are available to help Ukrainian newcomers thrive here just like the generations of Ukrainians who’ve come before them have done.”