Ukrainian President Zelenskyy in Canada, to address Parliament


Rachel Aiello
Senior Digital Parliamentary Reporter

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska arrived in Canada Thursday night, and have a full day of events ahead of them, in Ottawa and Toronto.

The specifics of his itinerary were kept under tight seal until Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office officially announced the visit in the hour before Zelenskyy touched down in the nation's capital.

On Friday, the marquee event will be Zelenskyy's address to a joint session of Parliament at 1 p.m. ET. The House of Commons changed its sitting plans for the occasion, seeing the chamber floor opened to Senators, and other dignitaries who will pack in to the viewing galleries above.

Prior to his address, Zelenskyy and the first lady will meet with Governor General Mary Simon and her husband Whit Fraser at Rideau Hall, at 10 a.m. ET.

The Ukrainian president will then travel to Parliament Hill where a welcoming party including Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, and other parliamentary officials will greet him.

He'll be invited to sign the distinguished visitors books of the House and Senate, before heading down the hall for a bilateral meeting with Trudeau.

At around 11:30 a.m. ET, Zelenskyy will partake in an expanded bilateral meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland, Minister of National Defence Bill Blair, Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly, and Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development Mary Ng.

Early Friday morning, Blair will be hosting Ukraine's Minister of Defence Rustem Umerov at National Defence Headquarters.

Zelenskyy's speech to parliamentarians will be proceeded by introductions from House Speaker Anthony Rota. Afterwards, there will not be remarks from opposition party leaders as is the case with some special addresses.

Zelenskyy virtually addressed Canadian parliamentarians in March 2022. Trudeau also addressed the Ukrainian Parliament in June when travelled to Kyiv.

Today's address will be an opportunity for the Ukrainian leader to make his case for the need for continued support in the face of Russia's now 19-month invasion, directly to the Canadian public.

Since January 2022, Canada has provided more than $9.8 billion in military, economic, and humanitarian aid. The federal government has also levelled multiple rounds of Russian sanctions, deployed Canadian Armed Forces to Europe to train Ukrainian soldiers, and welcomed more than 175,000 Ukrainians to this country.

At 2:40 p.m. ET, Trudeau and Zelenskyy will participate in a signing ceremony "to continue strengthening economic ties between our two countries," and then hold a joint media availability.

Trudeau, Freeland and Zelenskyy will then travel to Toronto, for evening events, first a meeting holding a roundtable with Canadian business leaders and then an event with members of the Ukrainian-Canadian community.

This visit—his first since Russian President Vladimir Putin's February 2022 invasion of Ukraine—is being held under tight security, and follows stops at the White House in Washington, D.C., and United Nations General Assembly in New York City.

"I look forward to welcoming President Zelenskyy to Canada to continue building on our support for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people as they contend with the effects of Russia’s brutal war of aggression," Trudeau said in the statement announcing the visit. will be providing up-to-the-minute updates on Zelenskyy's visit, starting at 10 a.m. ET. Check back here for more throughout the day.