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Ontario earmarks $300 million in supports for Ukrainian refugees


Premier Doug Ford announced Wednesday a swath of supports valued at $300 million for Ukrainian families who plan to relocate to Ontario amid the Russian occupation of their homeland.

Ford made the announcement in Etobicoke, an area of the city which is densely populated with Ukrainian-Canadians, and said he expects the province will see more than 40,000 refugees in the coming months.

“This is where I grew up. I was born here and have a lot of Ukrainian friends …They’ve been absolutely outstanding -- literally given the shirt off their backs. We’re going to be there to support them,” Ford said.

Included in Wednesday’s announcement is free access to emergency housing in the province through settlement service agencies and Ukrainian community organizations. If need be, Ford said families fleeing Ukraine could be housed in hotels until more long-term accommodations are in place.

Individuals and families can also access free OHIP coverage for health-care services and mental health supports they may require during their time in the province, including trauma counselling. That coverage would also extend to drug benefits and emergency income assistance.

As well, Ukrainian elementary and secondary school students will be able to attend publicly-funded schools for free.

Also included in the funding is an announcement made by the provincial government last month, which saw the launch of a dedicated jobs hotline for Ukrainians fleeing war to fill in-demand jobs in Ontario. The hotline (1-888-562-4769 or, which is now live, allows Ukrainians in the province to connect with job search supports and local employers in the community.

Minister Monte McNaughton, who was present for Wednesday’s announcement, said over 30,000 jobs are currently available and that the government is working closely with companies and unions to make sure those roles are filled.

Last month, the federal government announced the Canada-Ukraine authorization for emergency travel (CUAET) -- a special measure which allows Ukrainians and their family members free, extended temporary status in Canada to work, study and live until it is safe for them to return home.

Ford said it’s unclear how many Ukrainians have arrived in Ontario so far, but that he has heard anecdotally many are staying with friends and family. He added that although the province is only expecting to welcome 40,000 refugees, the supports announced today can be expanded if necessary.

Ford said more than 375,000 people of Ukrainian origin live in Ontario -- the largest population in Canada.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has recorded 1,417 casualties in the country as of April 3. The UN estimates that some 4.2 million Ukrainians have fled the country following the onset of the occupation.

A full list of the supports announced today can be found here Top Stories

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