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Ukrainian refugee centre set to open doors near airport

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A reception centre for Ukrainian refugees destined for Manitoba will open in west Winnipeg this week, as the settlement sector gears up for the arrival of hundreds fleeing war in eastern Europe.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/04/2022 (294 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A reception centre for Ukrainian refugees destined for Manitoba will open in west Winnipeg this week, as the settlement sector gears up for the arrival of hundreds fleeing war in eastern Europe.

The provincial government said the newly established centre, near the Winnipeg Richardson International Airport, will offer initial intake services, access to co-ordinated health-care services, and registration and referral services for settlement support to Ukrainians shortly after they touch down in Manitoba.

Temporary accommodations and meals will also be provided at the reception centre, set up at an undisclosed location in close proximity to the terminal, for those coming to Manitoba who do not have connections to the community.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES A reception centre for Ukrainian refugees destined for Manitoba will open at the Winnipeg Richardson International Airport campus this week.

According to the government, the new reception centre is a result of planning efforts by the province’s Ukrainian Refugee Task Force, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Manitoba Provincial Council, and the settlement sector and community groups.

A request for an interview with the refugee task force lead was declined Wednesday.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the provincial government said it has not received confirmed arrival dates for the first Ukrainians arriving through the Canada-Ukraine authorization for emergency travel.

However, the government is preparing to receive thousands of people fleeing the war in the wake of the Russian invasion.

During question period Wednesday, Premier Heather Stefanson said her government will open its arms and welcome as many Ukrainians as possible.

“We can’t wait for them to arrive here,” Stefanson said.

The UCC provincial council will be leading volunteer efforts at the reception centre and will be on site to greet families as they arrive and to provide language assistance, the province said.

“As the trickle of individuals coming to Manitoba from Ukraine becomes a steady flow, we welcome the establishment of the Manitoba reception centre that will enable the triaging of clients and the development of individualized plans of action for each circumstance,” Joanne Lewandoski, UCC-Manitoba chairwoman, said in a statement.

Emily Halldorson, Ukraine response co-ordinator with the Manitoba Association of Newcomer Serving Organizations, said Ottawa gave the green light Wednesday for organizations that receive federal funding to extend support to Ukrainian nationals.

“That’s really important because now the sector has that direction and they can move forward,” she said.

Halldorson said people arriving from Ukraine will be able to access key government services at the reception centre, with plans in place to quickly disseminate Manitoba Health cards.

Organizations from the settlement sector will also be available to assist in transition to the community, Halldorson said, while her organization will be working behind the scenes to ensure the system is prepared with the appropriate supports for new arrivals.

“The settlement sector is really set up well to welcome people and to provide all those services that they need.”

To date, the province has provided $800,000 in direct humanitarian aid to Ukraine. The Progressive Conservatives’ 2022-23 budget set aside a $630-million contingency fund for expenses related to the settlement of Ukrainian refugees, as well as the COVID-19 response, and other unforeseen expenses.

danielle.dasilva@freepress.mb.ca

Danielle Da Silva

Danielle Da Silva
Reporter

Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.

History

Updated on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 10:05 PM CDT: Updates location of reception from airport to west Winnipeg

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