EDMONTON — The Alberta government is expanding its support for Ukrainians coming to the province from the war-ravaged country.
Premier Jason Kenney said there's a special, deep connection between Alberta and Ukraine, with more than 369,000 Albertans who have Ukrainian roots.
"That is why we are proud to have opened our doors of refuge to Ukrainians fleeing the violence of that conflict," he said Monday at a news conference at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village just east of Edmonton.
Kenney said more than 3,800 Ukrainians — many of whom are women and children because men are required to stay behind to help defend their nation — have already arrived in Alberta and thousands more are expected as the conflict continues into its fourth month.
"Starting July 25, Ukrainian evacuees arriving in Alberta will be eligible for new forms of aid," he said.
Those additional measures, he said, include temporary financial assistance for basic living expenses — such as food, clothing and rent — for up to six months. Anyone with children under the age of 12 would also be able to apply for child-care support for six months, said Kenney.
"This expanded support will be key for people whose lives have been thrown into chaos by the invasion," he said. "We can't take away their fears for those who have been left behind, but we can at least dispel the uncertainties that come with trying to start over and make ends meet in a new country."
Orysia Boychuk, president of the Alberta chapter of the Canadian Ukrainian Congress, said the income support and child-care subsidy are appreciated.
"We are confident this will definitely help support and contribute to the Ukrainian nationals' successful integration in Canadian society," she said at the news conference.
"We also thank the Alberta government for its unwavering support for the past four months as Russia continues to wage war on Ukraine."
Kenney said the additional supports are expected to cost between $15 million and $38 million, depending on how many Ukrainians arrive in the coming months.
The province has already provided money for settlement and language services, humanitarian aid and defensive equipment.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 4, 2022.
— By Colette Derworiz in Calgary
The Canadian Press