James Bezan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, announced on behalf of the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Canada’s support to help provide legal aid services to the most vulnerable in Ukraine. He was joined by Erin O'Toole, Member of Parliament for Durham, and Colin Carrie, Member of Parliament for Oshawa.
Parliamentary Secretary Bezan made the announcement at a banquet hosted by the Oshawa-Durham Branch of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress in support of the Children of War program in Ukraine. The program provides rehabilitation and counselling to the children and mothers of families where the father has been killed in the conflicts that have occurred in Ukraine during the past year.
Canada’s support will help increase the awareness among Ukrainian citizens of their rights to legal aid, as well as enhance the quality and access to those services. The project builds on Ukraine's efforts to enhance the integrity of its democratic institutions and practices, placing an emphasis on reforming public institutions and the judicial system, as well as supporting civil society organizations and the media, to ensure effective, accountable and transparent decision making.
“Canada's international development program in Ukraine aims to support Ukrainian efforts toward a free, democratic and prosperous society by advancing democracy and promoting sustainable economic growth for all Ukrainians,” said Minister Paradis.
By expediting and increasing multiyear bilateral development assistance to Ukraine in the areas of advancing democracy and sustainable economic growth, Canada will have more than doubled its historical annual bilateral development support to Ukraine by the end of this year.
In 2009, Canada confirmed Ukraine as one of its countries of focus that are part of Canada’s Aid Effectiveness Strategy. This status was re-confirmed in 2014.
- On March 13, 2014, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced support towards helping Ukraine stabilize its economy and promote economic and social development, including in the form of a loan. This support was conditional on the establishment of a broader package of International Monetary Fund support for Ukraine.
- The loan agreement signed on September 17, 2014, by Prime Minister Harper and Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine, outlines the terms of Canada’s loan to Ukraine, which Export Development Canada will deliver as the agent for the Government of Canada. The funds will be provided in one disbursement and Ukraine will service and repay the loan over a five-year period.
- On September 17, 2014, Prime Minister Harper announced $3 million to support international partners in providing medical attention, food, safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, shelter, emergency child protection, and emergency response and preparedness to help the estimated 3.9 million people living in areas affected by violence, as well as the nearly 200,000 individuals registered as internally displaced throughout Ukraine, many of which require medical care.
- On September 4, 2014, Prime Minister Harper announced support through the NATO Trust Funds, with a focus on building up Ukrainian command and control as well as communications and computer capabilities to assist in improving personnel management systems and reform logistics and standardization within the Armed Forces.
- Negotiations for a Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement are underway, with the most recent being held in Kyiv in September 2012. A free trade agreement with Ukraine would provide increased access for Canadian goods to the Ukrainian market, address non-tariff barriers, and otherwise facilitate an expanded bilateral commercial relationship.