The challenges the City of Dauphin is facing as they welcome refugees from Ukraine

Three Ukrainian families are settling into their new homes in Dauphin.

The Parkland Ukrainian Family Support Team has organized enough funds to sponsor three families fleeing from the Russian invasion, and community support has allowed them to support even more.

“Initially the fund was set up to support one family, and then the fund grew,” says Rodney Juba, Dauphin city councillor and chairperson of the Ukrainian fund subcommittee. “So we were able to support three families, and now we’re looking at having 10 families come to Dauphin.”

Juba says while each family will have their own individual needs, he estimates it costs roughly $10,000 per year to support one Ukrainian family.

“It depends on what their living expenses are. For some, the rent is donated, but for us the biggest challenge is daycares,” he adds.

Daycares throughout the city, as well as many communities in Manitoba, are full, with waiting lists that can have people waiting a year or longer to get in.

“There are 147 families on our waitlist,” says Jamie Grouette, executive director of Dauphin Magical Horizons Daycare. “When I started in this field, there were wait lists of people trying to get on the Early Childhood Education Level II course. My class that graduated had 60 students. This year, the graduating class in Dauphin barely had six students.”

Grouette says the reason that people are either leaving the profession, or not getting into it at all, comes down to the daycare workers not being paid enough.

“A starting wage for someone who’s just finished two years of school is just above $18/hr,” she says. “A lot of people are choosing to go into other fields, I’ve had a lot of amazing staff that have taken their Level II’s and have worked and left daycare to go work in other places because it’s a higher starting wage than after they’ve been here for 10 years.”

Aside from daycare issues, there are still more hurdles for the families to clear before they can officially immigrate.

“We’re having difficulty finding doctors that can do the immigration appointments,” Juba says. “All the families have to go through the appointments, it’s a cost of $200 per person, and we have to drive them to Brandon for the day. We would like to have a simplified and permanent solution to this, as we receive other families not just from Ukraine, but other families coming to Dauphin that have to go through this process for their visas and work permit requirements.”

Three more Ukrainian families are expected to arrive in Dauphin next week, and four more families will be coming soon.

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