On October 18th, the Thyme group welcomed Mariia Pitolai as a guest speaker.  Mariia was speaking on behalf of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress of Durham.  The Congress was first established in 1940 and unites local, provincial and federal organizations as the voice of the Canadian-Ukrainian community.  Their emphasis has been on providing resources and aid to Ukrainian newcomers to Canada.  

Since February 2022, their work has taken on greater urgency.   To date, they have helped to establish 600 newcomers in the Durham area, assisting them with accommodation, household items, food and clothing, and employment opportunities.  The Ukrainian newcomers who have been arriving since February are here on three-year work visas and are not granted refugee status or benefits.  They are given a one-time allowance of $3,000 per adult, and $1,500 per child, from the federal government to help them become established.  Beyond that, while some Provincial funding is available for those who qualify, they are expected to become employed and self-sufficient.  

Mariia has been in Canada for nine years and currently works as a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant.  She also chairs the legal team for the Durham Ukrainian Relief project.  Her husband is employed at Greenwood Mushroom farm.   There are many ways for each of us to make a contribution in aid of struggling Ukrainian newcomers in Durham.   Angela Wakeford will be following up with Durham Ukrainian Relief Project Committee to explore a project that members of Ascension might be interested in supporting.

Here are a couple of links if you are interested in more information:

Ukraine Immigration Measures

Durham Ukrainian Relief Projects

~ Lucy Black