Marco Levytsky, National Affairs Editor.
The Alberta Government has set up a new task force to identify ways to support Ukrainian evacuees coming to Alberta with their financial, physical and spiritual needs.
To ensure the appropriate settlement supports are available, the Premier’s Advisory Task Force on Ukraine will engage with Alberta’s Ukrainian community, not-for-profits and organizations that are assisting Ukrainian newcomers. It will identify ways Alberta’s government can further help Ukrainian evacuees settle and integrate into communities across Alberta.
“Ukrainian people were among the first to move to Alberta and make a life here and now hundreds of thousands of Albertans of Ukrainian descent call our province home. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Albertans have opened their hearts and homes and provided support through donations and humanitarian aid. This new task force is yet another way Albertans stand with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people,” said Premier Danielle Smith.
The task force includes leaders with deep roots in the Ukrainian community and will be chaired by Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk, parliamentary secretary for Ukrainian Refugee Settlement. In order to hear directly from the Ukrainian community and those supporting newcomers, the task force will hold roundtables across the province. The task force will provide both immediate and long-term recommendations in its final report.
“I look forward to working with the task force on how we can best support Ukrainian evacuees coming to Alberta. The ideas and information gathered by this group will help identify gaps in existing supports and ensure Ukrainian evacuees face a smooth and welcoming resettlement process,” said Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk, parliamentary secretary for Ukrainian Refugee Settlement.
The Premier’s Advisory Task Force on Ukraine members are: Ed Stelmach, former premier; Sally Mansour, non-profit executive and emergency management specialist in the non-profit sector; Kevin Royle, firefighter and Firefighter Aid Ukraine project director; Carol Slukynski, founder of Helping Ukrainians in Fort Saskatchewan; Vitaliy Milentyev, chairman of the supervisory board at the National Depository Ukraine; and Jenn Schmidt-Rempel, councillor, City of Lethbridge.
Since the spring, thousands of Ukrainians have fled the war in their homeland to come to safety in Alberta. Under Smith’s predecessor Jason Kenney, Alberta’s government committed $23 million in assistance to Ukraine, including:
• $10 million to the Ukrainian World Congress’s Unite with Ukraine campaign for humanitarian aid
• $2.2 million for settlement and language services delivered across the province
• $1 million to the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, organized by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and the Canada Ukraine Foundation, to help coordinate and deliver humanitarian aid
• 5 million to the Ukrainian World Congress to equip 5,000 members of the Ukrainian Territorial Defence Force with defensive equipment
• $5 million to the Canada Ukraine Foundation for additional humanitarian aid
• $350,000 to the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Alberta Provincial Council to support their efforts
In October, the government renewed its memorandum of understanding with the Ivano-Frankivsk region of Ukraine – which identifies avenues for cooperation across areas including arts and culture, science and technology, and humanitarian assistance to agriculture, economic development, infrastructure and energy development.
Alberta’s government continues to prioritize the assessment of applications for permanent residency made by Ukrainian nationals through the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program. Candidates must still meet all program criteria.