Building supports to welcome Ukrainians

Posted in: , , ,

People in our community, and across BC, are welcoming and always ready to pitch in for those in need. It’s who we are. Over the last two years, we’ve seen the power of people coming together to support each other during the pandemic, as well as floods and forest fires.

I know many of you have been watching the events unfolding in Ukraine. Ukrainians who are escaping unimaginable violence are now arriving in B.C and we are making sure that they receive the vital medical services and community support they need.

As people from the Ukraine begin this next chapter of their lives, we understand that access to physicians, prescriptions, and mental health support is critical. Instead of the typical three-month waiting period for new arrivals, we are providing day-of-arrival MSP coverage for Ukrainians entering BC, to ensure that they can have access to immediate care.

Another important aspect of health and safety is community connection. This is why we have expanded the Service BC phone line to include United Way British Columbia’s bc211 service, a multilingual service that connects people to more than 15,500 free social supports, services and community programs throughout the province. British Columbians who would like to help can also access information and opportunities through this service.

In addition to immediate access to healthcare and the 24hr bc211 phoneline, we have also expanded access to free employment services and supports available through 102 WorkBC Centres, including skills training, employment counselling and access to our provincial job board.

And, to help to ease the transition for families and students, we have encouraged school districts to enroll K-12 students from Ukraine and to waive additional fees they might have for extracurricular activities, such as music or soccer camps. These are just some of the ways that we are supporting newly arrived Ukrainians to feel safe, supported, and connected as they navigate this challenging time.

Because of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the Government of Canada has accelerated a temporary residence pathway to allow Ukrainians to stay and to work in Canada. We are committed to working with our partners, including the federal government, to ensure that those fleeing conflict are welcomed to BC as efficiently as possible.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about a provincial issue, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help you.