Trudeau gives preference to Ukrainians over other refugees of war

The House of Commons immigration committee said Wednesday that Canada's treatment of Ukrainians fleeing war has been markedly different from that of those fleeing other humanitarian crises, and MPs want that to change.

The committee voted Tuesday to issue a public statement urging the government to extend to refugees from other regions the same special immigration measures that were extended to Ukrainians.

Consultations with the Ukrainian community reveal that many want to come to Canada for a short period of time and then return home when it is safe.

"We will continue to look at additional ways for Canada to settle refugees, in addition to our resettlement efforts," said spokeswoman Aidan Strickland in a statement.

"Each situation is unique and should be treated as such to ensure that Canada responds appropriately."

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi praised Canada's efforts to provide a safe haven for Ukrainians, but he also reminded government officials of other refugee crises.

Prior to Russia's violent invasion of Ukraine in February, the UN refugee agency estimated that there were approximately 84 million refugees and internally displaced people worldwide.

"Since then, the figure has most likely risen to well over 90 million.

We must now be nearing 95 million people "Grandi stated this during a press conference with Fraser.

Grandi was in Ottawa on Wednesday to announce the formation of a new global task force, chaired by Canada, to explore alternative methods of transporting refugees to safe countries.

The initiative builds on a pilot programme in Canada that allows skilled refugees to apply for permanent residency through economic channels.

The plan is to bring in additional refugees in addition to those already admitted through humanitarian channels.

The pilot eliminated some of the barriers that previously prevented refugees from applying for permanent residency in Canada through economic channels.

It was expanded late last year to accommodate 500 skilled refugees, and Fraser says he hopes to welcome even more in the future.

Jenny Kwan, an NDP immigration critic, says the pilot program's concept is great, but there are some issues with its execution.

For example, the programme is supposed to include a loan option to help refugees meet the financial requirements to support themselves in Canada, but that loan is not yet available.


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