Manitoba will not borrow a page from its western neighbor by coordinating humanitarian charter flights for Ukrainian refugees.
Saskatchewan welcomed a second wave of newcomers last week.
Premier Heather Stefanson said the province’s current approach to resettling Ukrainians fleeing war is working and suggested other jurisdictions that partner with organizations to charter flights for Ukrainians catch up. .
“We have welcomed over 5,500 Ukrainians to Manitoba through our welcome centre,” Stefanson said. “Because we have one of the highest per capita rates of Ukrainians in Manitoba, I think what we’re doing is working.
“Other provinces look to our Welcome and Reception Center as a model across the country,” said the premier. “Maybe other provinces are trying to catch up with us by chartering flights.”
Last week, 200 Ukrainians arrived in Saskatchewan on charter flights thanks to a government partnership with humanitarian organizations Open Arms and Solidaire. It was the second time newcomers had been flown from Poland to Saskatchewan since the war in Ukraine began in February.
The Saskatchewan government said 1,500 displaced Ukrainians have arrived or resettled in that province. Earlier this summer, the Newfoundland and Labrador government chartered two flights to transport Ukrainian refugees to their province.
The Manitoba government, however, will continue to work with Ottawa to resettle Ukrainian newcomers, Stefanson said. About 300 Ukrainians arrived in Manitoba on a federally chartered flight in May.
“We are very proud to have been the very first charter flight that Canada received,” she said.
NDP MP Mark Wasyliw accused the provincial government of failing to back up its rhetoric on Ukraine with actions and funds.
“They are very quick to line up Ukrainian refugees or newcomers and the Ukrainian community for photo ops, but they are very slow to put government money behind any kind of action that would get more Ukrainian refugees to safety. “, Wasyliw said.
The Fort Garry MP said his party has repeatedly called on the province to establish immigration offices in Poland and charter flights to bring more Ukrainians to Manitoba.
“Manitoba could welcome many more refugees,” Wasyliw said.
To date, the Manitoba government has provided $800,000 in humanitarian assistance in addition to supporting a reception centre, providing short-term hotel accommodations, funding immigration medical screenings for 1,870 people and fund day camps for newcomer children and youth.