Ukrainian newcomers living in Saskatchewan are eligible for child benefits and will not have to pay tuition fees for K-12 schooling due to policy changes announced by the Saskatchewan government on Wednesday.
The government will make families who are in Saskatchewan through the Canadian Ukrainian Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) eligible for the Child Basic Benefit under Saskatchewan Income Support (SIS) and the Transitional Benefit for Children under the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability Program (SAID).
Last week, Saskatchewan's Minister of Immigration Jeremy Harrison said 1,900 provincial health cards had been issued to Ukrainian people who have arrived in Saskatchewan since the war started.
"Expanding the Child Basic Benefit to eligible Ukrainian families will provide them with the additional support they need to take care of their families during a very challenging time in their live," said Minister of Social Services Gene Makowsky on Wednesday.
Makowsky said the federal government should accelerate access to the federal child benefit. The provincial government said it will provide the benefits until the families qualify for the federal program.
"There is currently a lengthy delay and additional requirements imposed on displaced Ukrainians arriving under CUAET by the federal government before they can access the federal Canada Child Benefit," Makowsky said.
"This adds hardship for Ukrainian families. The Government of Saskatchewan is disappointed that the Canada Child Benefit is not being provided by the federal government until they reside in Canada for 18 months, as this is an essential program for all families living in Canada."
Tuition fees waived
The government also announced it will waive tuition fees for kindergarten to Grade 12 Ukrainian students in Saskatchewan through CUAET.
Ukrainians displaced to Canada are considered temporary residents and therefore subject to paying for education.
"Providing tuition-free education for these students is an essential step to ensuring these newcomers are able to settle as easily and comfortably as possible," said Education Minister Dustin Duncan.
The government said Wednesday that 400 students from Ukraine through the CUAET program have enrolled in schools.
Ukrainians in Canada under CUAET can live, work and travel in the country for three years, and after that point can apply to become permanent residents.
In August, the provincial government announced temporary residents in the CUAET program were eligible for the Canada-Saskatchewan job grant and the Re-Skill Saskatchewan Training Subsidy.
In August, the province signed a memorandum of understanding with two humanitarian organizations to bring more than 1,000 Ukrainian citizens to Saskatchewan from Warsaw, Poland, by March 31, 2023.