MLA adds his voice to calls to waive medical exam fees for displaced Ukrainians
Cindy White - Jun 25, 2022 / 4:00 am |
KSWU and the Bravery Foundation are getting support from Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick in a campaign to ease one burden for displaced Ukrainians.
Both organizations have been lobbying for the province to waive the fee for a mandatory medical exam for the new arrivals. Under federal entry rules, the medical exams have to be completed within 90 days of arrival in Canada and they are not currently covered by the Province of BC Medical Services Plan (MSP).
In a letter addressed to Minister of Health Adrian Dix, Letnick writes that the cost of these tests can be as high as $2,000 for a family of four.
“Other provinces have chosen to support the Ukrainians fleeing this horrendous war by covering the costs of the federal medical exams,” writes Letnick. “ I am requesting that you consider welcoming and supporting our displaced Ukrainians with also covering the costs of the federal medical exams.”
Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador are already covering the costs of the exams for displaced Ukrainians living in those provinces.
Typically, people applying for work permits, or who have lived for six months in a country with a higher incidence of serious communicable diseases, have to submit the results of a medical diagnostic test before they can come to Canada.
Under Ottawa’s expedited visa process, the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET), that rule was changed to give people 90 days after arrival to submit their results.
Bonnie Penner of The Bravery Foundation has penned a letter to Dix.
“Displaced Ukrainians arrive in our province with usually only one suitcase, which represents all they now own. Adding onto the backs of these people, costs associated with medical exams, seems not only unfair but cruel,” she writes.
“I greatly appreciate that the BC Government has waived the usual three month waiting period for MSP so displaced Ukrainians receive immediate medical coverage. It is my belief, now that your government is aware of their plight, regarding costly medical exams, action will be taken to support our Ukrainian friends,” adds Penner.
Denys Storzhuk of KSWU says even more than a provincial exemption, he’d like to see the federal government waive the medical exam cost for all incoming Ukrainians.
Mamas for Mamas teams up with the Bravery Foundation to offer a shopping spree for displaced Ukrainians
Cindy White - Jun 11, 2022 / 4:00 am
Many arrived in the Central Okanagan with just the clothes on their back, and now Bravery Foundation and Mamas for Mamas are teaming up to offer displaced Ukrainians a chance to go on a free shopping spree.
“We’re basically closing down Mamas for Mamas Karma Market and our warehouse to the public so that we can have all of the Ukrainian families who have come in, either displaced or refugees, to get access to anything and everything we have,” explains Mamas for Mamas founder Shannon Christensen.
“So, hygiene products, clothing, baby essentials. We’re working with a couple of different companies in town right now to see if we can get extra food there, just to get them set up with a few extra things right off the bat.”
Christensen said they are working in conjunction with KCR Community Resources, the Central Okanagan Food Bank and other organizations that are helping the new arrivals.
She adds that many of the Ukrainians need furniture, bedding, kitchen essentials and other things to fill their homes here.
Mamas for Mamas will be opening their warehouse and store locations on June 15 from 10:00 a.m to noon and then again from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. so the families and individuals who recently arrived in the Okanagan from the conflict zone can pick up some needed supplies.
Those who are interested are required to register in advance because time slots are limited.
Christensen estimates the event will help about 150 people.
“Right now we have primarily people registered from Kelowna but we’re opening it up all the way from Vernon to Penticton because we know that many agencies are stuck for resources right now in terms of the extras. So we want to make sure that any family from all over the Okanagan knows that they can come in.”
Anyone who wants to help can sign up to volunteer with Mamas for Mamas at: firstname.lastname@example.org