Two Kenora residents are working towards housing a displaced Ukrainian refugee.

Nathan and Olena Moncrief have opened up their home to help support a childhood friend Nadiia, who had to flee her home of Kyiv following Russia’s invasion of the capital city.

“She woke up to the missiles pretty much, and so she fled Kyiv on February 25, 2022, to the Western Ukraine where her family is,” said Olena.

Olena adds that Nadiia is currently in Warsaw, Poland, going through the application process of the Canada-Ukraine authorization for emergency travel (CUAET).

“I helped her fill out the application, now she’s at Warsaw getting her biometrics done, and we’re waiting for her visa for that and hopefully she will be in Kenora by May,” adds Olena.

Once Nadiia arrives in Kenora the couple says they will house and employ her, while helping assist in welcoming other individuals to the community.

Olena, who is originally from Ukraine but moved to Canada in 2003 says this conflict hits close to home for her personally.

“I’m still in disbelief and I’m very saddened by it, and honestly still in shock. I have my dad there, my grandparents, my cousins, and very close family and friends that I communicate with every day. I’m grateful for the Kenora community to even help out.”

Nathan, Olena’s husband is a part of the newly founded Kenora Supports Ukraine coalition, which is designed to help displaced refugees find a home in Kenora.

“We’re really trying to drum up support for Ukrainian refugees, mainly women and children fleeing the conflict. Locally, we feel we can get behind it and support people that are likely even going to come into our community here,” says Nathan.

Local resident Peter Kirby, held an information session back on April 4, 2022, which Nathan attended, to see if there would even be any interest by Kenora residents.

He notes that from that meeting, a small committee was formed to begin the organizational process of trying to get the word out about the KSU.

“There’s a small group of us who will meet every Thursday. The group is looking for support in a variety of ways. We’re also going to be looking for donations, as well as housing availability, and employment opportunities.”

Co-chaired by Peter Kirby and Nathan Moncrief, KSU has been in contact with several Ukrainian individuals and families seeking assistance. Ukrainians fleeing the war can apply to live and work in Canada for up to three years. KSU seeks to provide practical help and financial assistance to those resettling or transitioning in Kenora while they rebuild their lives.

St. Alban’s Cathedral has agreed to accept donations and will issue charitable receipts for those in excess of $20. Donations by way of cheques can be made out to St. Alban’s Cathedral, with Kenora Supports Ukraine in the memo line.

If anyone is interested in contacting the KSU and wants to join to help out in any way, they are asked to contact Peter Kirby at 807-468-5930 or by email at info@kenorasupports.com

KSU Logo April 21.PNG Photo credit: Nathan Moncrief. 

Over 4.5 million Ukrainian refugees have fled to neighbouring countries to find safety since Russia’s invasion began on February 24, 2022.

The province of Ontario will have employment opportunities for the up to 40,000 refugees that they are expecting into the province.

Refugees coming into Ontario will also have access to trauma-informed counselling and culturally responsive support to students and families, through a $449,000 provincial investment in Canadian-Ukrainian community organizations.

Support will be given to people who have been admitted to Canada on an emergency basis for humanitarian reasons studying at Ontario’s publicly assisted colleges and universities through a new provincial $1.9 million Ontario-Ukraine Solidarity Scholarship.

Financial support of up to $28,000 through our province’s Second Career Program, for those who apply and are eligible, for basic living allowances, tuition, transportation, and other critical needs.

Canada has stepped up and opened its doors to Ukrainians, starting their Canada-Ukraine authorization for emergency travel (CUAET). This program allows refugees to call Canada home under a special visa program that will allow them to work and study in the country for three years.

Over 54,000 Ukrainian refugees have been approved already for the federal settlement program, with over 60,000 more have applied already, and another 12,000 have come under traditional immigration streams since January.

In early April 2022, the Canadian Red Cross, in support of the Government of Canada, began providing arrival services at the Toronto, Edmonton, and Vancouver international airports.

This support includes providing translation services, as well as information in their language of choice to help connect Ukrainians with government and community services.

Canada has opened the program to an unlimited number of applicants, and also plans to launch a family reunification program to allow people who fled Ukraine to become permanent residents of Canada if they have relatives in the country. 

Announced on Thursday, Canadians can now give cash or Aeroplan points to help bring Ukrainians to Canada. The goal is to pay for flights to bring at least 10,000 Ukrainians and their families approved for travel to Canada.

These would be on top of targeted chartered flights to bring Ukrainians to Canada announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier this year.

Donations started being accepted Wednesday, but details about how eligible Ukrainians can access the money won't be available for a few weeks.

Air Canada has donated 100 million Aeroplan points to the effort — the equivalent of about $2 million. The Shapiro Foundation, a U.S.-based charity focused on refugees, announced it would match donations from Canadians up to the equivalent of 50 million Aeroplan points, or approximately $1 million.

Donations can be made below:

- Red Cross Canada

- National Bank of Ukraine

- Winnipeg’s Oseredok Ukranian Cultural and Education Centre