Sudbury

Northern Ontarian stuck in Russia calling for more federal support

Dan De Chevigny and his family have spent the last several weeks trying to figure out how to leave Russia, and he says they're still not sure if they'll be able to.

Dan de Chevigny wants to return to Canada with his family, but is facing several hurdles

Dan de Chevigny wants to come home to Canada with his wife and three children, but they're facing challenges getting out of Russia. (Submitted by Dan de Chevigny )

Dan de Chevigny has enjoyed his life in Russia for the last three years with his wife and their children —  but with Russia waging war an Ukraine, and the ensuing sanctions in the country, the family decided it was time to leave and return to Canada. 

De Chevigny and his family have spent the last several weeks trying to figure out how to leave the country, and he said they're still not sure if they'll be able to. The northern Ontarian is calling on the federal government to provide more support to Canadians like him who are stuck in Russia. 

"This process has got to have been the most frustrating and disappointing thing I've ever dealt with," de Chevigny said. 

Affected by sanctions 

De Chevigny grew up in Elliot Lake and later lived in Sudbury. He has lived in Russia since 2019, when he married his wife who is from that country. They live in Tyumen with her two children from a previous marriage and their two-year-old son. 

When they decided to leave, they began the process of applying for visas for his wife and children. While he described it as a difficult process, the family received the good news this week that the visas have been approved, and they'll be able to enter Canada in June. 

We're preparing for the situation where we are here and we don't have any money to live.​​​​​​— Dan de Chevigny

But de Chevigny recently found out his passport has been revoked, and he will need to receive a temporary passport in order to enter Canada. 

The biggest hurdle however, will be funding the trip, de Chevigny says. He said  airfare prices are soaring, and due to sanctions on Russia, his family has been effectively cut off from about 90 per cent of their income. 

Dan de Chevigny's youngest son, Adrian, is two years old. (Submitted by Dan de Chevigny)

"I'm not saying that the sanctions aren't necessary, because something has to be done to help the people of Ukraine. But if you're going to take those steps you also have to look at the citizens that you have that might be impacted by those decisions too," de Chevigny said. 

CBC sent a request to Global Affairs Canada to ask what it being done to help Canadian citizens in Russia, but has not yet heard back. 

'People here are slowly dying' 

While the family hopes to be able to come to Canada in June, de Chevigny said they aren't viewing it as a guarantee. 

"We've been preparing ourselves, you know dehydrating foods and getting some bulk flours and things like that just in case," he said. 

"We're preparing for the situation where we are here and we don't have any money to live."

While he's not dealing with the imminent threats of tanks and gunfire like those in Ukraine, de Chevigny urges Canadian officials to do what they can to help citizens in Russia. 

"People here are slowly dying. They're slowly feeling pain," he said.

"And yes it's not an immediate threat, but give it five or six months and they're going to be in a similar situation. They're not going to have food, they're going to be fighting each other for what remnants and scraps they can get. And something needs to be done for those that shouldn't be harmed on this side of the war too." 

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