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HomeNewsOver 350 Ukrainians settled in Northern BC during Canadian emergency travel period

Over 350 Ukrainians settled in Northern BC during Canadian emergency travel period

353 Ukrainians who settled in Northern BC in the last two years were helped by Share Hope and PG For Ukraine.

“Of those, 315 settled in Prince George,” Dick Mynen, a Share Hope volunteer, told My PG Now.

These numbers will be close to the final total, as the Canada-Ukraine authorization for emergency travel (CUAET) expired at the start of April – meaning the majority of Ukrainians fleeing the war are no longer being offered free, extended temporary status that allowed them to live, work, and study in Canada.

Those who have already arrived were offered a free 3-year visitor visa and can apply for permanent residence.

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For Share Hope, this means the constant influx of new people arriving from Ukraine in Prince George and northern BC is functionally over, though more may move from within the country.

While the number is constantly changing, Mynen said Share Hope is aware of 269 Ukrainians who are still living in Prince George.

“It is a very stable group that has come to Prince George, and it is a very large number that is still here,” Mynen said.

Many of them have now been living in Prince George for two years, Mynen thinks the “vast majority” are planning to stay.

“They have permanent long term jobs, kids are in school and settled well, some have moved to a second and more permanent location,” he explained. “Many of them are making Prince George a long-term home.”

Share Hope and PG For Ukraine have focused a lot of their efforts on helping these people settle in the area over the last two years – including finding and furnishing a place to live, finding jobs, enrolling kids in schools, and helping finance their first few months in Canada.

Now that the stream of newcomers is largely cut off, Mynen said their focus will shift to other areas they have also been helping with.

“There is a lot of folks who can still use help in other ways,” he said. “Some of that is just dealing with the trauma of leaving a war-torn area and leaving friends and family behind. One of our focuses is on helping with mental supports, another is helping with jobs, and the third main focus is helping them with their English skills.”

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Mynen said English language support is in high demand in Prince George right now – not just with the Ukrainian population – and the spring is a “problematic” time to try and find lessons.

“The Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society and CNC, those are the two primary locations for English classes, they’re full. They’ve been full for a while. The next opening is in September,” he explained, adding the language barrier is often what prevents Ukrainians from finding suitable jobs in Canada.

“It is a different focus, but it is the same amount of energy that is going in,” he said. “We are not stopping, there is still work to be done.”

Mynen added Share Hope has been around for more than 10 years in Prince George, and they are helping more than just Ukrainians.

You can learn more about Share Hope and PG For Ukraine here.

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