Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka, with the backing of the Shelter for Ukraine Society, is helping to push the B.C. government to make driver’s licence tests available in Ukrainian.
Shypitka said this move aims to help smoothen Ukrainian refugees’ integration into Canada.
“It was never available before and we’re seeing a big influx of Ukrainians coming to British Columbia,” said Shypitka. “All these refugees want is to integrate, contribute, work, to be part of the lifestyle. They’ve chosen us, and yet they can’t get the driver’s test in Ukranian.”
Up to this point, Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion were only able to take the test in Russian.
“What a slap to the face of these refugees. They’re leaving Russian oppression to come to Canada and they have to integrate by taking a test in Russian,” said Shypitka.
B.C.’s written diving exam is offered in 11 languages, but Ukrainian has not been among them, up to now.
On Thursday, the Kootenay East MLA asked B.C.’s solicitor general Mike Farnworth to consider making Ukranian another language available for those taking a driving exam.
Shypitka said the recommendation received bipartisan support.
“He agreed. It’s very rare in the house during the question period for a minister to actually commit to a suggestion from the opposition,” said Shypitka. “This is the first time I’ve ever seen it since I’ve been in the house. It’s a big win for our Ukrainian Society.”
Shypitka credits the Shelter for Ukrainian Society for bringing it forward in the first place.
“They were the ones who brought this to me. They did a lot of the heavy lifting, I just delivered the message,” said Shypitka. “Between us both, we were able to get this through. It’s going to be huge for Ukrainian societies around British Columbia.”