With Budget 2023 right around the corner, Alberta intends to bolster funding for Ukrainians fleeing the devastating war in Europe.
The UCP committed upwards of $27.3 million to help Ukrainians access settlement, language, housing and financial support in the upcoming fiscal year.
Since Russia invaded the eastern bloc country on February 24 last year, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Rajan Sawhney said about 21,600 Ukrainians have come to Alberta.
Sawhney said more are expected to arrive in the province in the coming months, with newcomer support agencies now busier than in the same period last year.
The Ukrainian community and settlement agencies have told us that there is a critical need for funding to help evacuees when they arrive in Alberta.
As a dedicated supporter of the Ukrainian people, the Alberta government would provide much-needed funding to ensure Ukrainian evacuees have language and settlement services when they arrive in Alberta.
Of the $27.3 million in funding, the province would allocate $7 million from its ministry of trade, immigration and multiculturalism over three years for settlement and language services.
The UCP would direct the remaining $20.3 million for housing and financial support from the ministry of seniors, community and social services.
“Ukraine is grateful for the government of Alberta’s constant and effective support of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in our struggle against unjustified and unprovoked Russian aggression,” said Oleksandr Danyleiko, consul general of Ukraine in Edmonton.
“We are also grateful for the support of Ukrainians who come to the province to escape the horrors of the Russian war, mostly women with children. Many have no relatives or friends here and are also very limited in means of living.”
Budget 2023 would also contribute to the Alberta Rent Supplement Program with $9.9 million in additional funds, bringing the total to $16.7 million. Ukrainians can apply for the program with previous requirements around citizenship, refugee or immigration status removed.
“By providing more access to supports such as the Rental Assistance Benefit, we are paving a path for success in our province,” said Social Services Minister Jeremy Nixon.
“It is important for those leaving Ukraine to know that our government stands with them in solidarity against the tragic war in their home country, and we will show that by supporting those who find refuge in Alberta.”
Budget 2023 will also provide $3.6 million to support the Ukrainian Evacuee Emergency Financial Support and Benefits program that commenced on March 28, 2022.
The province will extend the program until next January and remove the six-month maximum duration of benefits. The UCP said they would provide funding based on need rather than time.
Alberta’s budget is set to be delivered Tuesday at 3:15 pm MST.