Canada and many other countries have announced a series of measures in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This webpage is a resource to help residents of Waterloo Region support the Ukrainians coming to Canada in meaningful ways. We will update it regularly with new resources and reliable, accurate information as it becomes available.

Standing in solidarity with Ukraine and Ukrainians in Waterloo Region, Canada and Around the World

Everyone is watching with heavy hearts what is happening in Ukraine, some more personally affected with loved ones in the country or among the exodus of millions of people from Ukraine seeking refuge. What happens around the world impacts here in Waterloo Region. As Canada’s immigration response evolves quickly, numerous temporary and permanent pathways have opened for Ukrainians to come to Canada through expedited processes. None of the measures announced thus far align with Canada’s formal refugee resettlement programs.

Ukrainians have already begun to arrive in Canada and more will come. Some will arrive in Waterloo Region. We don’t know how many. Community groups are starting to organize clothing drives and more. We have a structure through the Immigration Partnership to help facilitate appropriate community service responses. We are working to get information on what the government measures mean in practice in terms to possible resettlement or settlement supports, income supports, etc. people arriving in Canada may be entitled to. 

People from Ukraine, Afghanistan and all around the world are showing up in Waterloo Region everyday. We all have a role in welcoming them and helping them get situated as members of our community.

Canada’s Immigration Response

As part of the Government of Canada’s response, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is taking measures to support Ukrainians and people residing in Ukraine, and to make it easier and faster for Canadian citizens, permanent residents and their accompanying immediate family members to return to Canada:

  1. Immigration measures for people affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Government of Canada has put measures in place to help Canadian citizens and permanent residents return home and to help Ukrainians come to and stay in Canada.

  2. Visa applications for Ukrainians to come to Canada. Visa applications can be submitted online from anywhere in the world. Biometrics can be given at any visa application centre (VAC) outside of Ukraine. VACs are open in Moldova, Romania, Austria and Poland, and there is an extensive VAC network across Europe.

  3. Canada-Ukraine authorization for emergency travel (CUAET). It is a special, accelerated temporary residence pathway for Ukrainians seeking safe haven in Canada while the war in their home country continues. With the CUAET, Ukrainians and their immediate family members of any nationality may stay in Canada as temporary residents for up to 3 years. This permit will allow them to work in Canada. Ukrainian workers, students and visitors and their family members who are already in Canada also benefit from these measures. 

  4. Financial assistance available for Ukrainians in Canada. Ukrainians arriving in Canada can apply to receive transitional financial assistance. These funds will help Ukrainian nationals and their family members meet their basic needs—such as transportation and longer-term housing—as they arrive in communities across Canada and find a job. The benefit will consist of a direct, one-time payment of $3,000 per adult and $1,500 per child (17 years and under).
  5. Mental Health Services. Government of Canada funds Kids Help Phone to expand mental health services for Afghan and Ukrainian youth
  6. Jobs for Ukraine. Ukrainian job seekers looking for a job in Canada can check out the Government of Canada's free-to-use online job board, many Canadian businesses have posted jobs for them. Employers who wish to support Ukrainians with offers of employment can register these offers on Job Bank’s Jobs for Ukraine webpage. Job Bank will then work with local organizations and employers to help connect them with Ukrainians seeking work in their communities. 

  7. Canadian Industry for Ukraine donation portal. Through this online portal, Canadian businesses can provide offers of high-priority goods and services to support displaced Ukrainians and the organisations providing aid and resettlement services. At this time, the focus is on large-scale donations, including temporary housing, gift cards for the purchase of priority items, transportation and jobs for those arriving in Canada. More Information.
  8. Refugee HealthLine to provide transitional care for refugee. The Ministry of Health is supporting newly arriving refugees and people arriving through other exceptional humanitarian authorizations by providing a toll-free, multilingual, Refugee HealthLine where they can connect with health care providers who deliver transitional health care and services. Refugees, Resettlement Assistance Programs, sponsors, and settlement agencies can contact the Refugee HealthLine at 1-866-286-4770 to find a matching health care provider for services funded by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), the Interim Federal Health Program, or through provincial programs. All health care providers interested in participating should contact the Refugee HealthLine at 1-866-286-4770. More information in English/French.
  9. Kids Help Phone. Access to vital mental health services for vulnerable newcomers in multiple languages over the phone 24/7 by calling 1-800-668-6868.
  10. Dedicated Federal Service Channel for Ukraine Immigration Enquiries:
  • Call 613-321-4243, collect calls accepted.
  • Use the IRCC crisis web form and add the keyword “Ukraine2022”

Helpful Tools Specifically for Ukrainian Individuals and Families

Resources in Ukrainian

Ontario's Response

See information here on the offering a range of immigration and settlement supports offered by the Province of Ontario.

Ukrainian Refugee Toolkit

This brief toolkit provides some context about the current crisis in Ukraine and will assist providers in helping newcomers connect with the Ukrainian-Canadian community and understand the immigration options available to them.

Community Support to Ukrainian Individuals and Families Staying in Ukraine and Arriving in Waterloo Region

Community members, organizations and families can support Ukrainians residing in Ukraine or who have been displaced by the Russian invasion and are arriving in Waterloo Region in the following ways:

  1. Connect people arriving from Ukraine to immigrant services at the YMCA and the KW Multicultural Centre for support connecting to housing, health, education, employment services and more.
  2. Be a welcoming and inclusive community member. Arriving in a new community having fled war and crisis can be extremely stressful. Being friendly and welcoming to all goes a long way to making our newest residents feel good as they get to know their new community, make friends and start their new life. 
  3. Offer employment through federal and provincial job portals for Ukrainians.
  4. Make monetary donations to the Immigration Partnership Fund to support local initiatives for Ukrainians.
  5. Donate clothing and other items via Thrift on KentReStore Habitat For Humanity Waterloo Region or The Salvation Army.
  6. Volunteer to support newcomer serving programs through Volunteer Waterloo Region. Ukrainians and other refugees will access many social and community service organizations in Waterloo Region. Volunteering at any community service organizations through this pathway will benefit Ukrainians and others and helps community organizations engage volunteers in meaningful ways. Volunteers will be contacted as needs are determined.
  7. Join local initiatives. Support local initiatives to collect donations via:

More information on how you can get involved: 

5 things to consider when donating to Ukraine

Charity Intelligence Canada: Ukraine- How to help