Ukrainian-speaking Ottawans rush to help those fleeing Russian invasion
An Ottawa immigration lawyer says Canada is home to large Ukrainian diaspora
A temporary federal government job posting seeking Ukrainian speakers is spreading like wildfire among the Ukrainian-Canadian community, with fluent Ottawans offering up their services to help the millions now fleeing the Russian invasion.
Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada posted the entry-level position to its LinkedIn page earlier this week, seeking help processing visa applications from Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion.
The original post has since been deleted, but the Ukrainian Canadian Congress told CBC News it circulated the job opening widely.
Tamara Pastukh, principal of the Ukrainian School of Ottawa, did not say whether she had applied but said she knows "many, many" others who have.
"Anything [that] we can do, it feels like it's not enough. So, if we have one more opportunity, it is really important for us to take part and to help," Pastukh said.
"We all feel like we should be there fighting along with everybody else."
Canada prepared to welcome 'unlimited number' of Ukrainians
Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced Thursday the federal government would be waiving typical visa requirements for those fleeing Ukraine.
He said the government would accept an "unlimited number" of Ukrainians to work or study in Canada for up to two years.
The application process is set to open in two weeks' time.
Julie Taub, an Ottawa immigration lawyer, said having a large Ukrainian population in Canada will make resettlement easier for those who come.
"They will have people who speak their language, people who know Canada, know the cities they're migrating into," Taub said. "If you come into a country and nobody speaks your language, it's far more difficult, for obvious reasons."
According to Statistics Canada, around 1.4 million Canadians trace their ethnic origins to Ukraine, making it the 11th largest ethnicity in the country.
'Close to my heart'
For Yuliya Kubin, head of the parents' committee at Ottawa's Ukrainian school, the posting is an opportunity to continue work she already does in her spare time: helping family and friends apply for visas.
A nurse at The Ottawa Hospital, Kubin isn't sure her qualifications match the position. But with her knowledge of Canada's immigration system and her ability to speak Ukrainian, English, Russian and some French, she felt she could be an asset.
"It's so close to my heart," she said.
Kubin knows families that were torn apart in Ukraine, including mothers and children who left relatives behind but hope to one day return in peacetime.
"I know that all of us are desperate to help as much as we can," Kubin said.