Canada launches a mobility working group with Ukraine

Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba (left) and Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov offer a virtual handshake to Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship of Canada the Hon. Marco Mendicino after signing the Letter of Intent on the Establishment of the Canada-Ukraine Mobility Working Group between Canada and Ukraine on January 27. Photo: mvs.gov.ua

New Pathway – Ukrainian News.

January 27 Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced the establishment of a new Canada–Ukraine Mobility Working Group, to identify and improve mobility opportunities for Ukrainians seeking to come to Canada, once COVID-19 restrictions are removed, while continuing to ensure the integrity of our respective migration and visa frameworks.

This mobility working group is a unique partnership between the Canadian and Ukrainian governments that will let Canada and Ukraine share best practices on migration management, increase recruitment, promote Canada’s economic immigration programs and further strengthen co‑operation on migration-related matters.

Through this group, Canada and Ukraine will also work together to finalize a youth mobility agreement that will provide Canadian and Ukrainian youth with opportunities to travel, once COVID-19 restrictions are removed.

“Through generations of Ukrainians who have made Canada their home, the Ukrainian Canadian community continues to make outstanding contributions to Canada’s economy, our society and our diverse cultural fabric. The unique partnership that we are announcing today will serve to further strengthen the deep-rooted, people-to-people ties between our two countries,” Mendicino said.

“The people of Canada and Ukraine have a strong relationship that will only be deepened by the announcement made today. Our people-to-people ties, but also our commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty, is unequivocal and Canada will continue to stand by Ukrainians as reforms take place in the country,” echoed Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
January 27 also marks the 29th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Canada and Ukraine.

In his statement, MP Yvan Baker (Etobicoke Centre) who is the Chair of Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group, said: “Canada has stood at the forefront of international support for Ukraine’s democratic, economic and defence reforms. Canada has also been unwavering in its support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Putin’s violent imperialism. This is because Canada and Ukraine share a close relationship and deep-rooted people-to-people ties. That relationship has been strengthened further by our government’s announcement today, on the 29th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two nations, of the new Canada–Ukraine Mobility Working Group. The Ukrainian Canadian community has helped build Canada into the best place to live, work and raise a family, and it continues to make significant contributions to our country. The community has also worked tirelessly to help forge and nurture those strong people-to-people bonds between our two countries. Today’s announcement is great news for Canada, for our community, for Ukraine, and for the people-to-people ties that bind us.”
In his interview for the New Pathway – Ukrainian News, Minister Mendicino explained that the two countries will create a working group whose first priority will be a youth mobility agreement which will enhance and facilitate travel to get experience, training and skills for young people of Canada and Ukraine.

The Working Group will also look at mobility for everyone else who wishes to travel back and forth between Canada and Ukraine. The Group will broaden cooperation on migration-related matters, including border management, and will discuss opportunities in the labor markets.

Visas will be among the priorities for the Working Group, where the Canadian side will learn from its Ukrainian counterparts on how they regulate travel documents, said Mendicino.
The Group’s objective, he added, is achieving efficient travel between our two countries which will not only be good for young people, commerce and economic opportunities but will also strengthen the bond between the people of Canada and Ukraine.

Mendicino noted that the establishment of the Working Group got overwhelmingly positive feedback from the Ukrainian Canadian diaspora, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Canada Andriy Shevchenko and Canada’s ambassador to Ukraine Larisa Galadza. Mendicino said he was “very grateful” to Ambassador Shevchenko and his whole team for their advocacy, and also credited deputy prime minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and MP Yvan Baker for their support in bringing the partnership about.

Since 1992, Canada and Ukraine have enjoyed a strong relationship anchored by close people-to-people ties and shared values. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a number of temporary measures, including travel restrictions, the mobility working group will build on Canada’s relationship with the people of Ukraine and bring the two countries even closer together.

Since January 2014, Canada has committed more than $800 million in multifaceted support to Ukraine, encompassing a broad range of financial, development, stabilization and security, non-lethal military and humanitarian assistance.

Canada’s support of the military training and capacity-building mission in Ukraine, Operation UNIFIER, launched in September 2015. It is a key part of Canada’s overall effort to aid Ukraine’s security, stability and sovereignty.

Canada and Ukraine work together in a range of international organizations, including the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie.

The 2017 Canada‒Ukraine Free Trade Agreement eliminated tariffs on 86% of Canada’s merchandise exports to Ukraine.

In 2019, the two-way merchandise trade between Canada and Ukraine was approximately $300 million.

In July 2019, Canada hosted the third Ukraine Reform Conference in Toronto, which brought together foreign ministers from the European Union, the G7 and NATO countries to support Ukraine and its people and meet their ambitious democratic and economic reform program and Euro-Atlantic goals.