In an extraordinary measure, Canada announced Thursday it would fast-track Ukrainian applications for both temporary and permanent residency status with full access to work and study programs, as well as family reunification applications.
“Canada is ready to welcome Ukrainians fleeing Vladimir Putin’s war, and there is no limit to the number of applications that we are going to be willing to accept,” said Sean Fraser, Canada’s immigration minister, at a news briefing in Ottawa.
Canada is home to the world’s largest Ukrainian diaspora after Russia, with more than a million Canadians who claim Ukrainian heritage.
One of them is Canada’s deputy prime minister, Chrystia Freeland, who says she is proud of Ukrainians and how they are resisting the Russian onslaught, but has a sobering prediction for what lies ahead for them.
“There is every reason to believe it is going to get worse, and a lot more people are going to die and we as Canadians need to brace ourselves for that. It’s already been a bloodbath, I think it’s going to be become more of a bloodbath,” said Freeland, adding that Russian soldiers fighting against their will are also casualties of this conflict.
Canada also said it will revoke "most-favored nation" status for both Russia and Belarus. It means imports from those countries will now automatically face a 35% tariff. Freeland said Canada was one of the first nations to take that step and encouraged allies to do the same.
Canada also announced it has sent more shipments of lethal military aid to Ukraine, including rocket launchers.