The Alberta government is pledging more than $27 million in its upcoming budget to help Ukrainians resettle in the province one year after Russia invaded the eastern European country.
Rajan Sawhney, minister of trade, immigration and multiculturalism, said Friday that the United Conservative Party government is to continue to support Ukrainian newcomers as the crisis enters its second year.
Sawhney said the Alberta government would provide $7 million over the next three years for settlement and language programs as a part of the 2023 budget.
“It would ensure Ukrainian newcomers have the skills and language support needed for successful settlement and integration in our province,” Sawhney said at a news conference in Vegreville, Alta., about 100 kilometres east of Edmonton.
She added the funding would help build upon existing English-language learning opportunities “and supports for successful employment and economic integration.”
The Ministry of Seniors, Community and Social Services would also provide $20.3 million for housing and financial support.
Jeremy Nixon, minister of seniors, community and social services, said the Ukrainian newcomers would be able to access the same supports through the Alberta rent supplement program as others in the province.
“We know how important it is for these families and individuals to be able to have a roof over their heads … especially as they arrive in a new country,” Nixon said at Friday’s news conference.
The funding for affordable housing, he said, would be possible with an additional $16.7 million increase to the program — with $6.8 million being made available in the upcoming fiscal year.
The government also proposed an extension to its existing Ukrainian evacuee emergency financial support and benefits program until January 2024.
If passed during the 2023 budget, an additional $3.6 million would be provided to extend the program, Nixon said.
Sawhney said 21,600 Ukrainians have come to Alberta since the war and more newcomers are expected to come to the province.
The Alberta government is to deliver its budget next week.