Even though Nadia Gereliouk answered some of the phone calls in the morning, people were still waiting to see her. She has never been busier at her workplace. Though she is attending multiple meetings to organize many other unscheduled works, she never seems to be tired.
But this is not how she used to work a couple of months ago.
The war in Ukraine has changed everything at the League of Ukrainian Canadians in Toronto. Hundreds of people are coming to Canada from war-torn Ukraine. This organization helps people to relocate, find jobs and coordinate many other humanitarian necessities.
Nadia said people who are able to come to Canada express relief, but that is not enough for them. Because they don’t have refugee status, that makes things much more complicated. Right now, they have a three-year tourist visa status. But people who don’t speak English, don’t have any family members or friends here, it is uncertain how they make it.
The language problem is the one thing that makes the relocation and job hunt for these people extremely difficult for Nadia and the League of Ukrainian Canadians.
One thing Nadia is happy about is the Canadian community pouring in immense support. They are donating money and supplies. “It gives me hope” says Nadia.
More than 120,000 Ukrainians have registered to come to Canada. More than 60,000 applications have been approved so far. Because B.C. accepts a lot of people to that province, the League of Ukrainian Canadians in Toronto is happy about that.
Nadia and the League of Ukrainian Canadians or not only helping the people who came here to Canada after the war started in Ukraine. They are sending supplies to Ukraine from the generous donations they received from the nearby communities. Some retired military officers donated their used vests to the organization. They wholeheartedly thank these donations. But sometimes because some of them lack the manufacturing details on it, they can’t send it to Ukraine.
The federal government has announced that it would support the people with more services such as language training. Canada said in a news release on March 3, 2022, "Canada remains steadfast in support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Ukrainian immigrants have helped build this country, and we stand with the courageous people of Ukraine in upholding the values that our countries share.”
The Canadian government has assured the Ukrainians that it will accept an “unlimited” number of people from Ukraine. However, many people are skeptical about it. The Trudeau administration has not delivered on the promises made to other refugees from Afghanistan and Syria. That is the exact reason why The League of Ukrainian Canadians is worried. Without having that refugee status, these people’s lives are in limbo.
The kind of support Nadia and her organization give is exemplary. Despite having many difficulties in handling the present situation, Nadia and her organization seem determined to handle it in the best possible way.
These people in The League of Ukrainian Canadians told many heart-breaking stories of people who either came here in Canada or in Ukraine. The fact is people are suffering beyond our imagination.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently announced Canada is going to ship “heavy weapons” to Ukraine and told reporters that “they fight like heroes”. But in reality, none of these remarks nor the measurements would help the bleeding Ukrainian people. Considering the upcoming provincial election, they don’t know if they can take all these promises for face value.
We got the chance to interview the Executive Director of the LUC, Nadia Gereliouk, and even speak with a member of the Winnipeg LUC.
In this video, you can have a better idea of what the LUC is currently doing to help Ukrainians in Canada, and a broader view of the war that resulted from the attacks of Russia to Ukraine that started more than a month ago.