Canadian government charters flights for Ukrainians fleeing war

OTTAWA — Three Canadian charter flights to bring Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion will leave Poland in the coming weeks.

OTTAWA — Three Canadian charter flights to bring Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion will leave Poland in the coming weeks.

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said the flights will be available for some of the more than 90,000 Ukrainians approved for emergency travel to Canada.

Fraser says all three flights will depart from Poland, with seats available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The first flight will leave for Winnipeg on May 23, the second will leave for Montreal on May 29 and the third for Halifax will take off on June 2.

Fraser says the charter flights are in addition to commercial options available to Ukrainians fleeing war in their home country and subsidized by a special fund.

The government says thousands of Ukrainians have arrived in Canada since Russian forces first attacked in late February, and Fraser says it’s unclear how many more will come.

“We’ve seen around 92,000 approvals through the contingency program so far largely since the end of March and it’s now being processed fairly quickly, so I expect that number to continue to rise,” he said. he told reporters on Wednesday.

“It’s hard to predict where it’s going to end up because what we’re hearing on the ground is that there are a lot of people pulling it off on a speculative basis so to speak to monitor the situation on the ground in Ukraine, to figure out if it’s something they’re going to have to take advantage of.”

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said the government continues to face logistical challenges in helping Ukrainians who want to flee to Canada.

“One of the challenges is that people who applied for visas weren’t where they were, they applied for visas,” he said.

He says “it took ⁠ — and it continues to take ⁠ — a lot of effort to figure out where the candidates are, where they can go from” and where they want to settle in Canada.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on May 11, 2022.

The Canadian Press