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Embracing Change: The Ukrainian Canadian Congress and the Future of Manitoba’s Ukrainian Community

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In recent years, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) has played a pivotal role in shaping the destiny of the Ukrainian community in Manitoba, Canada. With the largest Ukrainian diaspora in the world, Canada has long been a home for people of Ukrainian origin.

However, the landscape changed dramatically due to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, leading to a significant influx of Ukrainian refugees into Canada. The UCC, with its Manitoba Provincial Council at the helm, quickly adapted to the new reality, working tirelessly to assist and integrate these newcomers into Canadian society.

Joan Lewandosky, a representative from UCC Manitoba Provincial Council, shed light on the challenges faced and the remarkable efforts made by the organization. With approximately every seventh person in Manitoba having Ukrainian heritage, the province has become a literal extension of Ukraine. Manitoba boasts the highest number of Ukrainians per capita in Canada, making the integration process of the newcomers of utmost importance.

In response to the crisis triggered by the Russian invasion, the UCC collaborated closely with the Canadian Government, ensuring smooth transitions for the arriving Ukrainians. The Manitoba Metis Federation, recognizing the situation’s urgency, provided crucial financial aid, kickstarting the relief efforts. These collective endeavours made it possible for the UCC to provide immediate assistance, ranging from housing support to helping with document processing, significantly easing the refugees’ journey.

The influx of Ukrainians affected by the war prompted the UCC to reevaluate its strategies and programs. Welcoming the newcomers into their community, the UCC aimed to integrate them into existing Ukrainian organizations, churches, and cultural celebrations. Despite the challenges, the organization managed to retain and celebrate its rich cultural heritage, which often left the new arrivals in awe.

The UCC’s commitment to incorporating newcomers into Canadian society is unwavering. Efforts are being made to involve them actively, ensuring they become an integral part of the community. Many new Ukrainian immigrants work diligently, often juggling multiple jobs to make ends meet. In light of this, the UCC recognizes the need for support, including daycare assistance and various programs designed to facilitate their integration.

Looking ahead, the UCC Manitoba Provincial Council remains optimistic about the future. The resilience and determination displayed by the Ukrainian community and the ongoing support from organizations like the UCC paint a promising picture. As Manitoba continues to welcome new faces and stories, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress stands as a beacon of hope, embodying the spirit of unity and community that defines Canada. Their collective efforts pave the way for a brighter and more inclusive future for all.

–Yuliia Kovalenko, U Multicultural

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