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As you know from my previous message, UHN condemns, in the strongest possible way, the unprovoked attack and war waged on Ukraine. We support all diplomatic efforts to end this conflict before further senseless loss of life and trauma ensues.
I am encouraged by the world's response to this war, which is an enormous condemnation of the Russian Government's actions under Putin, including specific actions undertaken which will freeze Russian funds where possible, and the provision of arms to Ukraine and humanitarian assistance for those fleeing this war across Ukraine's borders. I applaud the Canadian Government's actions in putting forward an emergency Visa program, as I know that we have a large Ukrainian Canadian community in this country who will do their part to welcome those who have left Ukraine. Yet all these actions haven't stopped this war. Further actions are sadly required, and rapidly.
Many of you have written to me about how we can help. I have reached out to the Government of Canada offering our support in whatever ways possible. We stand ready to assist. At UHN, I would underline that Operation Green has been collecting surplus supplies for some time and would welcome participation from any area of UHN. Lisa Vanlint heads this program and you can get in touch with Lisa directly about what may be donated and how we move the supplies to charities which will help those in Ukraine. Lisa has let us know that she has received many queries about donations in the past week and will work with all of you to ensure that supplies arrive on the border of Ukraine and into Ukraine if that becomes possible.
At UHN we are also having discussions about what might be needed in the future to support refugees from Ukraine. It is clear that Ukrainian families here will do what they can to bring the greatest number of people to safety that they can support and those individuals will need medical care – both physical and mental care. I have asked the Executive Leadership Team to consider and explore how best to organize the response which will be necessary when people from the Ukraine start arriving. Thanks to the many who have reached out offering help.
I also want to remind you that our Employee Assistance Program is available to support those struggling with this tragedy. Your People & Culture consultants and Health Services staff are also available to help direct you to needed services.
I will close with my reflections on our need to also support people of Russian descent, whether they are Russian-Canadians, here as students, or visiting faculty. When I see the photographs of the crowds in St. Petersburg protesting the war, I believe that the Russian people are as stunned as we are by the actions of their government and are protesting, likely at enormous personal risk, within the Russian political system. We must extend our support and compassion to our colleagues of Russian heritage as this must be a time of fear of reprisals. As Canadians, we must make sure that this doesn't happen.
Our belief in A Healthier World will not be deterred by these outrageous actions. Thank you for continuing your care of our patients and support of each other in the backdrop of such tragic happenings.