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Skip Navigation LinksUkrainian-Crisis Operation Ukrainian Safe Haven
Skip Navigation LinksImmigration Simcoe > Operation Ukrainian Safe Haven

Operation Ukrainian Safe Haven

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Introduction

Since the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, millions of Ukrainians have been forced to flee their country. In response, the Canadian government announced the launch of the Canadian-Ukraine authorization for emergency travel (CUAET), a special temporary residence visa program for Ukrainians seeking safety in Canada. The government is also prioritizing family sponsorship applications for Ukrainian relatives of Canadian citizens and permanent residents. This page provides information and resources to support Ukrainians arriving in Canada. We will continue to update it on a regular basis with new information and resources as they become available.

Immigration Information ​​and Resources

The government of Canada has committed to accepting an unlimited number of Ukrainians. . The Canada–Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) is a special government visa program put in place to expedite the migration process for Ukrainian nationals.

  • Ukrainians and their family members can apply for a temporary visitor visa, allowing them to stay in Canada for up to 3 years.
  • Visa applications will be processed on a priority basis, with an expected processing time of 14 days.
  • Application fees and requirements of a typical visa application have been waived, except for security screenings.
  • Applicants can apply for a fee-exempt 3-year open work permit or study permit at the same time.
  • Ukrainians already living in Canada can apply for CUAET to extend existing visas, and work and study permits for another three years.
Alternatively, Canadian citizens and permanents residents with family members in Ukraine can apply to sponsor them to come to Canada permanently. These applications will be given priority.

For more information on CUAET or sponsoring relatives from Ukraine, please visit the Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website: Immigration measures for people a​ffected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine webpage.​

Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Dedicated Federal Service Channel for Ukraine immigration enquiries:

  • Call 613-321-4243, collect calls accepted
  • Use the IRCC crisis web f​orm and add the keyword “Ukraine2022" and it will be prioritized

Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program

Ukrainian Nationals living in Canada on a temporary basis can apply for permanent residency through the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP). OINP recognizes and nominates people for permanent residence who have the skills and experience that the Ontario Government needs. The Government of Canada makes the final decision to approve applications and grant residency. At this time, all applicants with Ukrainian citizenship will benefit from expedited application processing. Applications must be based oestablished program criteria.

Pre-Arrival 

On May 4, 2022, the government announced the launch of a new Canada Information Centre (CI Centre) in Warsaw, Poland. Ukrainians can attend the CI Centre in person for information on what to expect when coming to Canada. The CI Centre is located within the new Canadian Biometric Operations Centre in Warsaw at the Global EXPO Centrum. Information will be available in Ukrainian, English and French. Visitors to the centre can ask questions and receive guidance on pre-and post-arrival services and support.

A second, temporary Canadian Biometric Operations Centre was been opened in Berlin, Germany to address the growing demand for biometrics.  

Arriving in Canada

Canadian Red Cr​​​oss:

The Canadian Red Cross provides reception, registration, and translation services upon arrival at Toronto Pearson International Airport. 

 Welcome Packages for Ukrainians  provide information and resources to help during the transition period.

Current Public Health Restrictions for Ukrainian Newcomers:

  • No need for proof of negative COVID-19 test upon arrival
  • Unvaccinated travelers allowed to transfer freely to other provinces
  • Exemption from presenting ArriveCan requirements
  • Health assessments are being offered at ports of entry to address urgent concerns
  • Support is available at ports of entry to ensure that federal quarantine requirements are understood and met

​Travel within Canada

​To assist Ukrainians in need of air travel, WestJet has provided 500 domestic one-way flights to any WestJet destination in Canada to ensure they reach their final destinations across the country with ease. The airline will also waive all taxes, third party and baggage fees associated with these vouchers. Upon arrival in Canada, Ukrainians seeking to be relocated to other cities or provinces will be provided with free domestic flights. This generous donation of WestJet is coordinated by CISSA-ACSEI and the provincial/territorial network of settlement agencies on the ground. 

If you are looking for guidance on accessing the gift of flight tickets for travel within Canada, please contact info@cissa-acsei.org. ​​​

Supports for Ukrainian Nationals in Simcoe County

Settlement Services help newcomers settle and adapt to life in our communities. These services include information,  referrals to other community services, language training, and assistance finding employment that matches newcomers' skills and education.

Additional supports may be available to ensure that programming is accessible, such as transportation, child-care and interpretation/translation services.

There are many local service provider organ​izations who provide free settlement support to newcomers within Simcoe County.

Local Support Groups:

Ukrainian Churches in Simcoe County:

Both Ukrainian Churches are directing monetary donations to the Catholic Near East Welfare Association: https://cnewa.org/ca/campaigns/ukraine/

Employment                          

Social Insurance Number (SIN) ​​

A 9-digit Social Insurance Number (SIN) is required to work in Canada. ​​Service Canada is responsible for issuing SINs, which come in a paper format ​(Confirmation of SIN letter). ​There is no fee to apply for a SIN​

The quickest way to obtain a SIN is to apply in person at a Service Canada office. If all requirements are met, Service Canada will provide a copy of the SIN document immediately following application submission. Online SIN applications are responded to by mail within 15 days.​

​How to apply

1. In-person at a Service Canada Office​

  • ​​Receive a copy of the application form online​ or from a local Service Canada Centre 
  • Bring original copies of documentation to the Service Canada Centre (primary documentation, secondary documentation, proof of address) 
  • ​If all requirements are met, a SIN document is provided on the same day 
Service Canada Locations in Simcoe County
  • ​Barrie: 
    • ​48 Owen Street, Floor 1 
  • ​Orillia: 
    • ​​50 Andrew Street South, Suite 101
  • ​Midland: 
    • Huronia Mall, ​​9225 Highway 93
  • Collingwood: 
    • ​​44 Hurontario Street ​​

2. Apply Online​

  • Upload digital copies of primary documentation (i.e. work or study permit), ​secondary documentation to confirm identity (i.e. passport), ​​and proof of address (i.e. letter from host family or landlord) 

3. Apply by Mail 

  • Mail completed SIN application form, primary documentation (i.e. work or study permit), secondary documentation (i.e. passport) and proof of address (i.e. letter from host family or landlord) to the Social Insurance Registration Office
                Service Canada
                Social Insurance Registration Office
                PO Box 7000
                Bathurst, New Brunswick
                E2A 4T1
  • Only original copies of documents will be accepted (no photocopies) 
  • If you are unable to print the SIN application form, you can order the form by phone at 1-506-548-7961; long-distance charges apply)
  • ​Service Canada is not responsible for documents lost in the mail. It is recommended that applicants use registered mail with a tracking number​
​Job Search Supports 

A dedicated hotline (1-888-562-4769) as well as email address (ukrainianjobs@ontario.ca) has been created to help connect new arrivals to job search supports and local employers.

The Job Finding Club for Immigrants​, offered by Georgian College, ​helps newcomers navigate employment in Simcoe County. Staff can assist Ukrainian evacuees with resume writing,​ marketing international experiences,​ job searching, interview preparation and professional networking. ​​JFCI provides information to support newcomers with their transition to Canadian workplaces, covering employer expectations, employee rights, and workplace culture. There is no fee to access support. Individuals seeking employment support can call (705) 722 1505, email jfci@georgiancollege.ca, or visit the office at 48 Collier Street, Barrie. ​

Individuals arriving under the CUAET (Canada–Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel) stream are eligible to:

  • Access Employment Ontario services
    • A SIN is required to access assisted service (1:1 appointment counseling, assisted programs like Better Jobs Ontario, placements with employers) 
    • A SIN is not required for resources and information (help with resumes, attending workshops, and using computers on-site) ​
  • Apply for jobs on the Ontario Job Bank 

Ukrainians looking for work can contact Job Bank (let them know that you are a Ukrainian national looking for a job in Canada and they will contact you with information), or use the Job Bank to search for Canadian employers who want to support Ukrainians. Employers who wish to support Ukrainians with offers of employment can register on Job Bank's Jobs for Ukraine webpage.

Locally, www.workinsimcoecounty.ca provides job opportunities from nearly 20 employment websites in one consolidated location.  ​

​Immigration Medical Exam (IME) and Working in Ontario

In the interest of public health, all Ukrainian evacuees with Open Work Permits (OWP) are restricted from working in childcare, healthcare, education, and agriculture until they have completed an Immigration Medical Exam (IME). Immigration Medical Exams are required for all Ukrainians planning to stay in Canada longer than six months. Once this exam is completed, an application can be submitted to Immigration Refugees Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to remove work permit restrictions​. All costs associated with the removal of restrictions have been waived. Applications from Ukrainians are being prioritized and processed within 14 days. 

Healthcare

Ukrainians in Ontario under the Canada-Ukraine authorization for emergency travel (CUAET) are eligible for universal provincial health care coverage through:

Applying for the Ontario Health Insurance Program

Ukrainians in Ontario under the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) can apply for the Ontario Health Insurance Program (OHIP) at any ServiceOntario location immediately following arrival (see below for a list of locations).

All applicants (including children) will be asked to supply documentation from Immigration, Refugees, Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to confirm their emergency authorization to enter and stay in Canada. Applicants over the age of 16 will be required to provide proof of identity and address where they are staying in Canada. At this time, ServiceOntario is accepting letters from sponsoring organizations/individuals as proof of residency. For example, if a family has just arrived from Ukraine and is staying with relatives, the relative that owns the home would write and sign a letter stating the address and confirming their home as a temporary dwelling. Alternatively, if a Ukrainian family is being sheltered by a community program, a representative of the organization would write a letter confirming the temporary address in Ontario. OHIP eligib​ility und​er the Emergency Authorization for Humanitarian Purposes provision.

ServiceOntario locations in Simcoe County:

  • Alliston:
    • 180 Parsons Road, Unit 1, L9R 1E8
  • Barrie:
    • 320 Bayfield Street, Unit 104, L4M 3C1
    • 274 Burton Avenue, Unit 21, L4N 5W4
    • 34 Simcoe Street, Unit 102, L4N 6TA4
  • Bradford:
    • 100 Dissette Street, Unit 9, L3Z 3G8
  • Collingwood:
    • 191 Hurontario Street, Unit 6, L9Y 2M1
  • Elmvale:
    • 40 Yonge Street South, Unit A, L0L 1P0
  • Midland:
    • 9225 Highway 93, Unit 20, L4R 4K4
  • Orillia:
    • 575 West Street South, Unit 6, L3V 7N6

Immigration Medical Exam

​All Ukrainian evacuees planning to stay in Canada longer than six months are required to undergo a full Immigration Medical Exam (IME) within 90 days of arrival. For individuals 15 years or older, a chest x-ray and bloodwork (testing for HIV and syphilis) will be required. Children between the ages of 11 and 14 will only require a chest x-ray, and those under 11 years old will undergo a visual health check.

Only Panel Physicians approved by Immigration Refugees Citizenship Canada (IRCC)​ can perform these exams. Exams typically cost between $200-$350 and are not covered by OHIP. The government is currently advising all Ukrainian evacuees to use their one-time transitional assistance funds to cover exam fees. Any individual with irregular test results will be referred to public health authorities for follow-up. In Canada, there are 279 Panel Physicians across 74 cities who can complete IMEs. ​​

​​Health Connection 

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit offers a free, confidential public health information and advice service, available Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm. Callers can request service in any language and receive immediate interpretation support at no cost. All Health Unit programs can be accessed by calling Health Connection. No health card or physician referral is required. 

Phone: 705-721-7520 press #2 
Toll-free phone: 1-877-721-7520 press #2 
Email - online form (response time: 5 to 7 business days) 

Health Connection can answer questions about: 
  • ​Immunizations 
  • Parenting
  • Breastfeeding and child nutrition
  • Common illnesses and infections 
  • Well Water testing
Health Connection can provide referrals​ to: 
  • ​Prenatal classes and parenting programs
  • Quit smoking workshops 
  • Immunization clinics
  • Sexual health clinics
  • ​Inspectors for safe food and water
  • Dental support 

​​Covid-19 Vaccination

​​​COVID-19 vaccinations are available at immunization clinics (Barrie, Midland, Orillia, Cookstown, Collingwood), pop-up and GO-VAXX clinics, local pharmacies, and through some healthcare providers. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit ​has developed a webpage with information on where and how to access the COVID-19 vaccine. This information is also available in Ukrainian. ​

Education

Elementary and Secondary

Ukrainian elementary and secondary school students may attend publicly funded schools in Ontario. There are four main school boards in Simcoe County:

  • Simcoe County District School Board
    • School operates and teaches in English. Opportunities exist for extended language programming, including extended French, French immersion, and French as a Second Language (FSL)
    • No religious affiliation
  • Simcoe Muskoka Catholic School Board
    • ​School operates and teaches in English. Opportunities exist for extended language programming, including extended French, French immersion, and French as a Second Language (FSL)
    • Catholic affiliation; students attend mass and participate in religious education courses
  • Conseil Scolaire Viamonde
    • ​School operates and teaches in French
    • No religious affiliation 
  • Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir
    • ​School operates and teaches in French
    • Catholic affiliation; students attend mass and participate in religious education courses

Families select which school board is the best fit for their child(ren). Once this decision is made, parents can visit their website to initiate the registration process. For support with school registration and integration, contact The Settlement Workers in Schools program.  

Post-secondary

A new $1.9-million Ontario-Ukraine Solidarity Scholarship may help those studying in Ontario's publicly funded colleges and universities, who were admitted to Canada on an emergency basis for humanitarian reasons. This page will be updated with further details on eligibility and application procedures as information becomes available.

Training

The province's Second Career program will provide financial support — for those who apply and are eligible — of up to $28,000 for basic living allowances, tuition, transportation, and other needs. For more information, please visit "Coming to Ontario from Ukraine".

Financial Support

Ontario Emergency Assistance (EA) Program

Individuals arriving via CUAET (Canada–Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel) are eligible for the Ontario Emergency Assistance (EA) program, which provides temporary financial support for basic needs and shelter in crisis situations. 

Evacuees can receive approximately $733 a month if single (parents may be eligible for more). Financial support is available for up to six months. Eligible individuals also receive a prescription drug card to help cover the cost of medications. 

If you have a social insurance number, email address, and phone number, you can apply online​

If you don't yet have a social insurance number, email, and/or phone number, you can apply through your local Ontario Works office​

For more information about the Ontario Emergency Assistance program please visit the Ontario government website.

Transitional Support Benefit

IRCC has introduced Transitional Financial Assistance to support Ukrainians arriving through the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET). All Ukrainian temporary residents (and their dependents) are eligible to receive a one-time, non-taxable payment for essential needs while in temporary accommodation. Adults (18 and over) are eligible for $3000 each, while children (17 and under) are eligible for $1,500 each.

Application Process:

Step 1 - Open a Canadian Bank Account.

 Step 2 - Apply online. Applicants will be asked to provide a direct deposit form or void cheque, their unique client identifier (UCI) number, their temporary resident status document (IMM 1442) number, and personal information. Note that the IMM 1442 document must include a remark about CUAET. If it doesn't, the individual must first apply to extend their stay as a worker, student, or visitor under CUAET.

Step 3 - Write down the confirmation number or print the screen.

Step 4 - Receive direct deposit within 5 business days. Note that it may take the receiving bank another 3 to 5 days to display the deposit.

For any payment issues or other questions related to financial assistance, clients should call the Financial Assistance Information Line at 1-833-760-1162.

Opening a Canadian Bank Account

To open a Canadian bank account, you will need:

1. Temporary resident document (IMM 1442)

2. Passport

Most banks will ask for a social insurance number (SIN). They ask this for tax purposes. Please note that a SIN is not required to apply for financial assistance. A SIN is required to work in Canada.   ​

Major Banks in Canada

 No monthly banking fee No fee for a small safety deposit box for 1 yearSpecial pricing on mortgages, car loans, and lines of creditUnlimited, no-fee international money transfers for one yearAccess to a credit card without a credit check Other offers
Bank of Montreal (BMO)

2 years

-Earn $350 cash if criteria is met
CIBC

2 years

  

-Receive $400 after you open a CIBC Smart Account for newcomers as your first chequing account 

-CIBC Smart Account includes unlimited transactions (including Interac e-transfer), Visa Debit, and one free non-CIBC ATM withdrawal a month in Canada

National Bank

3 years

  -Access to on-call, exclusive support for one year to help answer any questions about housing, employment, healthcare and more
Royal Bank of Canada

1 year

2 year

Offers 2 free international transfers per month for a year

-No fee to use another bank's ATM in Canada

-Unlimited, free INTERAC e-transfers

-1 Book of 50 cheques, free

Scotiabank

2 years

 
TD Canada

1 year

 

-$300 Amazon Gift Card for anyone who opens a TD Unlimited Banking Chequing Account before October  31, 2022 and  completes two specific banking tasks by December 27, 2022

-$50 Amazon Gift Card for anyone who opens a TD Savings Account before  October 31, 2022  and completes two specific banking tasks by December 27, 2022 

-Bonus interest rate of 0.25% for 6 months on new savings accounts ​

How to Help 

​​​Employers & Businesses 

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada has developed the Call to Action: Canadian Industry for Ukraine web portal. The portal provides businesses with the ability:

  • ​Donate financial aid
  • Offer jobs for displaced Ukrainians
  • Donate medical supplies
  • Donate temporary housing, transportation, goods and services​​

​​​​​Donating & Volunteering 

Corporate and cash donations can be made on the Operation Ukrainian Safe Haven website. This website can also be used to locate volunteer opportunities and offer housing​ to evacuees. 

​The Operation Ukrainian Safe Haven website is funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. It is coordinated in partnership with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. ​

Other Resources:

Where can I learn about trauma and trauma-informed care?

Canadian Ukrainian Organizations

The following organizations are located in provinces across Canada:


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