Handout to Ukrainian ‘war refugees’ to cost taxpayers $491 million

To date 189,194 Ukrainians in Canada have applied for $490,717,500 in taxpayer handouts for resettlement purposes, according to a federal government briefing note.

Handout to Ukrainian ‘war refugees’ to cost taxpayers $491 million
The Canadian Press / Christopher Katsarov
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Taxpayers are on the hook for nearly a half billion dollars to resettle displaced Ukrainian refugees, according to the federal government.

To date 189,194 Ukrainians in Canada have applied for $490,717,500 in taxpayer handouts, reported Blacklock’s Reporter

"These funds will help Ukrainian nationals and their family members meet their basic needs such as transportation and longer-term housing as they arrive in communities across Canada and find a job," said the December 1 briefing note Service Canada Support To Ukrainian Newcomers by the Department of Employment.

According to the briefing note, refugees are entitled to $3,000 per adult and $1,500 per minor child under the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) program. They also received a whole slew of benefits, including free air travel to Canada, shelter aid, Social Insurance Numbers and work permits.

"There is no limit [to how many refugees we will accept]," said the memo, Information On Ukrainian Nationals Coming To Canada.

As of last July, nearly 793,084 visas have been approved through CUAET, according to Immigration Canada. At the time, only 166,849 Ukrainians emigrated to the country. 

"The people of Ukraine know that the Government of Canada and the people of Canada are strong supporters of Ukraine, that we recognize this fight is not just Ukraine’s fight," Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters August 25, 2022. "Ukraine is fighting for its sovereignty and for its democracy but Ukraine is also fighting for democracy around the world."

The Department of Foreign Affairs estimated "immigration measures" including free flights and grants to refugees cost $1 billion so far.

"It’s one thing to promise the money," she said. "It’s another thing for that money to hit Ukrainian bank accounts. You don’t need to trust me about this."

However, that money evaporated as soon as many landed, with landlords siphoning the funds by requesting at least three months' rent upfront. 

In December 2022, Oleksandra Balytska landed in Toronto and could only afford "two ramens" because of food inflation. 

A "brutal" job market eventually sent her packing after her employer let her go last summer.

As reported by CBC News last August, Andrei Zavialov, a Ukrainian Canadian Social Services Toronto settlement worker, knew of 15 Ukrainians who have left the Greater Toronto Area for their native homeland.

The social worker surveyed 734 emergency visa holders residing in Toronto at the time, and only 40.2% said they would stay in Canada permanently. Over 1.1 million Ukrainians have applied for temporary residency in Canada as of last July, but many have yet to emigrate.

Of the respondents, one in 20 would return to Ukraine, while another 5% would go elsewhere in Europe "at the first opportunity." One in 10 (11.6%) would return to Ukraine after the war, with the rest still deciding. 

As reported by Blacklock’s Reporter, total aid to Ukraine totals $9.7 billion, including $5.4 billion in loans and guarantees to finance Ukrainian pensions and other "essential services," $1.8 billion in military aid, $352 million in foreign aid and $115 million in repairs to war-damaged utilities.

"We will be there until Ukraine wins the war," Freeland told reporters last April 10. "I know all Canadians are inspired by the remarkably brave people of Ukraine."

The Department of Finance asked Canadians if they agreed with l providing Ukraine more financial aid to defend against Russia. Only 32% agreed.

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