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Since the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, over 5.6 million Ukrainians have been forced to flee their country as of April 6, 2022. In response, the government of Canada has announced special measures to bring Ukrainians to safety in Canada. This page provides information and resources to support Ukrainians arriving in Canada. We will continue to update it on a regular basis with new information and resources as they become available.

Immigration Pathways

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has taken measures to provide fast and easy pathways for Ukrainians fleeing war to come to Canada, and to ensure Canadian citizens, permanent residents and their family members can safely return to Canada. Visit government of Canada’s webpage on Immigration Measures for Ukrainians to learn more about these special measures.

The government of Canada is committed to accepting unlimited number of Ukrainians fleeing the country. There are two pathways through which Ukrainians will arrive in Canada: 1) a temporary stream through which Ukrainians will be provided with temporary visitor visas to travel to Canada, and 2) a permanent stream through family reunification program. None of the programs announced so far fall under Canada’s formal refugee resettlement programs.

1) Temporary stream: the government of Canada announced on March 11 that it will help Ukrainians and their family members to travel to Canada as quickly as possible through the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) program. These are some of important components of this program:

  • Ukrainians and their family members can apply for a temporary visitor visa, which will allow them to stay in Canada for up to 3 years.
  • Visa applications submitted will be processed on a priority basis, with an expected processing time of 14 days.
  • Application fees are waived, so are other requirements for a normal visa application, expect for security screening. Applicants are also exempted from COVID travel restrictions.
  • Applicants can apply for fee-exempt 3-year open work permit or study permit at the same time.
  • For Ukrainians already in Canada, CUAET provides the option to extend their visas, work or study permits for another 3 years.

2) Permanent stream: Canadian citizens and permanent residents who have family members in Ukraine can apply to sponsor them to come to Canada permanently. These applications will be given priority. For more information, click here.

IRCC has set up a dedicated service channel for Ukrainians:

  • Call at 613-321-4243
  • Add keyword “Ukraine2022” to the IRCC crisis web form

Community Supports in Hamilton

There are various supports for Ukrainians who have and will be arriving in Hamilton, including:

  • Local service provider organizations who serve newcomers in Hamilton. Click here for a list of these organizations.
  • Local initiatives to support Ukrainians in Canada and abroad:
    • Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) Hamilton is the umbrella organization that coordinates activities and supports for Ukrainians in Canada and abroad. To learn how you can help with these efforts, contact UCC by visiting their website here (not updated), or Facebook page here.
  • Post-secondary support from McMaster University which has allocated funds to sponsor and support forcibly displaced scholars and students from Ukraine and Afghanistan. Click here to learn more.
  • World Education Services (WES) is now offering credentials evaluation services to Ukrainians who don’t have documents to prove their education and skills
  •  Red Cross has created a Welcome Package for Ukrainian arrivals. This document, available in English, French, Ukrainian and Russian languages, includes useful information and resources to help Ukrainians in their first few weeks of arrival

Canadian Government is providing:

    • Settlement services such as language training, orientation, employment assistance and other supports for Ukrainians as they settle into their new communities.
    • Targeted charter flights to Canada for Ukrainians
    • Short-term income support to ensure basic needs are met 
    • Temporary hotel accommodation for up to two week.
    • For more information, see Government of Canada’s announcement here.
  • The Government of Ontario is providing:

Key Figures

  • Between January 1 and April 24, 5,197 Ukrainians have arrived in Canada by land and 17,056 have landed by air.
  • Through the CUEAT, 180,903 applications have been received, and 71,057 of them have been approved.
  • Check regularly updated figures here.
  • As of 2016, there were 855 Ukrainian immigrants in Hamilton, and close to 17,000 residents identifying as Ukrainian.

How Can I Help?

The YMCA Hamilton Burlington Brantford has created some forms to collect offers of volunteer support in the following areas:

  • If you would like to provide housing, please complete this form.

  • If you speak Ukrainian or Russian languages and would like to provide interpretation assistance, please complete this form.

  • If you are an employer and would like to offer employment opportunities, complete this Employer Intake Form. 

If you have arrived in Hamilton from Ukraine or are planning to arrive and need accommodation, please complete this form.

For monetary donations, donate directly to the local Ukrainian Refugee Fund: https://wesley.ca/donate-now/

Follow organizations such as Ukrainian Canadian Congress Hamilton to keep informed about ways to help Ukrainians in Hamilton and abroad.

Remember, to be a welcoming and inclusive community member. Arriving in a new community having fled war and crisis can be extremely stressful. Being welcoming to all goes a long way in helping new residents to feel a sense of home in our city! 

For more information or updates, contact our team at: immigration.partnership@Hamilton.ca

Stay Informed! Learn about Canada’s measures for Ukrainians