War in Ukraine | Bringing Ukrainians to Canada was more complicated than expected, Ottawa admits

(OTTAWA) German Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said Thursday that Canadian airlines are ready to charter flights to charter Ukrainian refugees – once certain logistical hurdles are overcome.

Posted at 2:15 p.m
Updated at 5:02 p.m

Emily Bergeron
The Canadian Press

More than five million Ukrainians have fled their country to other parts of Europe since Russia began its invasion on February 24.

The Canadian government has established special immigration programs to help Ukrainians who want to come to Canada temporarily or permanently.

Minister Alghabra last month pointed out that Ottawa had struck deals with airlines to charter flights to Canada for these refugees.

But he conceded on Thursday that arranging the flights was more difficult than expected because the refugees were not all in the same place.

“We’re working on these logistical challenges, but hopefully we’ll have better answers soon,” he told reporters before heading to a cabinet meeting.

Minister Alghabra pointed out that many of these Ukrainians are no longer where they applied for their Canadian visas, making arranging air transport difficult.

Those comments made the bloc’s immigration critic Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe wince, who believes the Liberals are falling by the wayside.

“We’re sending flights to different places, we’re going to publicize it and you’ll see pretty quickly people will be queuing to get on those planes. It is obvious! ‘ he said at the end of Question Time.

According to him, Minister Alghabra is acting as a person who is “desperate at the situation”.

“How is it that in the face of these difficulties there is no plan yet? […] put in order ? straight out ! It doesn’t take Papineau’s head,” he exclaimed.

Ottawa has approved Canada-Ukraine Emergency Travel Permit (CUATU) applications for 71,057 Ukrainians and their relatives, according to the latest data released by the Department of Immigration.

This program is designed to give these people who fled the war quick access to a three-year temporary residency in Canada. A total of 180,903 applications were submitted. Minister Alghabra has committed to making charter flights available to AVUCU recipients.

With Mia Rabson

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