B.C., all of Canada, and the whole world have been shocked and saddened by Russia and Vladimir Putin’s unjust, heinous, and devastating invasion of Ukraine. As the nation with the largest Ukrainian population outside Ukraine and Russia, our communities’ connections to the people of Ukraine run deep. As their nation fights for survival, more than 2.5 million Ukrainians, mostly women and children, have already fled their home country since the start of hostilities, and B.C. needs to be ready to accept and support Ukrainian refugees any way we can.
The BC Liberal Caucus has recently called on the provincial government to strike a task force to coordinate a cross-government response, create a Refugee Readiness Fund, match donations from British Columbians, and organize regional Refugee Response Teams to proactively plan for the settlement of refugees. We have also called for the extension of visitor visas and work and study permits for Ukrainian citizens currently in British Columbia.
But the most important work is being done by everyday British Columbians who are going to incredible lengths to support Ukrainians any way they can. Here in the Interior, organizations like Kamloops Immigrant Services are going above and beyond to help those in their darkest hours.
They are compiling a comprehensive list of resources offered for Ukrainian refugees, including housing, billeting, goods, employment, and childcare. Their staff also guide people through the different pathways for Ukrainians to apply for their special travel visa to Canada. They are currently accepting donations for their cause, including any electronics in good condition, to help support Ukrainian refugees upon their arrival. Donations can be made through their website at https://immigrantservices.ca/.
Together, we can all do our part to help Ukrainians defend their homeland and find safety and security here in British Columbia.