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Feds fund legal advice for Ukrainians in Canada as immigration questions linger

OTTAWA — Justice Minister Arif Virani says the government will expand a legal advice hotline for war-displaced Ukrainians in Canada to help them understand their rights and navigate the immigration system.

The news comes as many Ukrainians anxiously wait to find out whether Canada will offer them a permanent stay after their emergency visas expire. 

This weekend marks the second anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which sparked a massive refugee crisis as million of Ukrainians fled the country.

The federal government has since granted more than 950,000 temporary emergency visas to Ukrainians so they can wait out the war in Canada, and more than 220,000 have actually made the journey. 

Pro Bono Ontario says it has received an increase in calls from people asking about extending their visa and work permits, applying for refugee status or seeking permanent residency in Canada.

The group intends to expand its hotline service to war-displaced Ukrainians across Canada using more than $475,000 in new federal funding. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 20, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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