Saskatchewan has a long relationship with Ukraine. Ukrainian immigrants helped settle the province more than a century ago and Ukrainian culture and traditions are deeply embedded in the Saskatchewan mosaic.
Approximately 13 per cent of Saskatchewan residents trace all or part of their ancestry to Ukraine, according to the last census. Ukraine is one of the major sources of immigration to the province.
1. Overview of Saskatchewan's Relationship with Ukraine
Saskatchewan and Ukraine enjoy decades of fruitful relations. Saskatchewan was the first Canadian province to sign an agreement with the Government of Ukraine in the post-Soviet Union environment. Over the past several decades, Saskatchewan has established a number of city-twinning arrangements and academic exchange agreements with Ukraine. A Memorandum of Cooperation between Saskatchewan and Ukraine has been in place for more than 20 years. The provincial government has led a number of economic missions to Ukraine and provided financial support towards a number of humanitarian projects in Ukraine over the years.
Saskatchewan also holds annual remembrances of the victims of Holodomor, the man-made famine that devastated Ukraine in the 1930s. The province's Legislative Assembly was the first jurisdiction in North America to recognize this genocide with the passing of The Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (Holodomor) Memorial Day Act in 2008.
In Fall 2022, Ken Krawetz, former Deputy Premier of Saskatchewan, was appointed as an Honorary Consul of Ukraine in Saskatchewan.
2. Saskatchewan's Response to the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
On February 24, 2022, Russia began a military invasion of Ukraine. Saskatchewan strongly condemned the invasion, supported the sanctions imposed by federal government, and committed to welcoming and supporting an unlimited number of Ukrainians affected by the war who wish to settle in the province.
For more information visit the Saskatchewan Supports Ukraine page.
3. Reports of the Saskatchewan-Ukraine Relations Advisory Committee
In 1993, the Saskatchewan government established a citizen committee to provide advice on enhancing business opportunities and cultural ties with Ukraine, continue work on student exchanges and strengthen the civil society of Ukraine. That committee was succeeded by other advisory bodies over the years, and the government revitalized the citizen group in 2009 as the Saskatchewan-Ukraine Relations Advisory Committee (SURAC). In February 2021, the government extended SURAC and its mandate to 2024.
SURAC provides advice, information, and support to the Government of Saskatchewan in their efforts to engage strategically with Ukraine. Most recently, SURAC has played a role in supporting Saskatchewan response to the Russian war on Ukraine, including humanitarian aid initiatives and shaping supports for displaced Ukrainians in the province.
Legislative Secretary Responsible for Saskatchewan-Ukraine Relations is a liaison to the committee.
Members of SURAC
Gerald Luciuk, Regina – SURAC Chair
Gerald Luciuk, a professional agrologist by training, has served in a number of senior executive roles with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. He has extensive international project experience in Ukraine, China and Russia and served as a policy advisor to the Ministry of Agriculture in Ukraine. He was director and project lead on numerous initiatives to Ukraine from the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration and the Agriculture Institute of Canada. Gerald is a board and executive member of several national boards including the Canada Ukraine Foundation, SUS Foundation of Canada and the Canada Ukraine Centre Inc. He remains active in a number of local, provincial and national Ukrainian organizations.
Angela Wojcichowsky, Saskatoon – SURAC Vice-Chair
Angela Wojcichowsky is the Director of International Projects at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. In this role, her primary responsibility is marketing consulting services to international clients, enhancing relationships with international organizations and obtaining and managing large scale international funding contracts. Angela has over 15 years of experience working in Ukraine on a variety of development projects for the Government of Canada and is currently overseeing projects related to skills training and small business, and economic development. She is active in the Saskatoon Ukrainian community, volunteering with the Canada Ukraine Centre Inc., the Yevshan Ukrainian Folk Ballet Ensemble and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of All Saints.
Alicia Klopoushak, Saskatoon
Alicia Klopoushak is a retired teacher of gifted learners in the Saskatoon Public School Division where she served on many advisory committees. She has also worked with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) to establish English language classes for new immigrants to Saskatoon. Alicia continues to serve on the Board of Directors of the Ukrainian Museum of Canada in Saskatoon as Past President. She has also held leadership roles with the local, provincial and national executives of the Ukrainian Women's Association of Canada. She continues her active participation in the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Trinity as choir member and volunteer, and in the Lastiwka Choir and Orchestra.
David Dutchak, Saskatoon
David Dutchak has been involved with emergency management services in the province since 1979 and recently retired as President and Chief Executive Officer of MD Ambulance Care Ltd. of Saskatoon. He helped spearhead the national Ambulances for Ukraine project which has seen donated ambulances sent to the conflict zone in that country. David is a former president of the Saskatchewan Emergency Medical Services Association and both the Saskatoon and Saskatchewan Chambers of Commerce.
Iryna Matsiuk, Saskatoon
Iryna Matsiuk is an immigration consultant with over 17 years of experience in immigration and international recruitment. Born and raised in Ukraine, she emigrated to Canada in 2011. In 2018, she established her own practice to help newcomers from Ukraine and other countries make Canada their home. She holds Master’s degrees in Linguistics and in Marketing, and diplomas in Business Administration and Immigration Consulting. Iryna’s a member of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council and the Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants, and has held board positions with, and continues to participate in, several local, provincial and national Ukrainian organizations.
James (Jim) Shevchuk, Battleford
James Shevchuk has been a teacher and administrator in rural Saskatchewan for the past 25 years, with positions in Landis, Hafford and North Battleford. He is currently a Superintendent of Education with Living Sky School Division. He holds advanced degrees in Ukrainian Educational History and Educational Administration from the University of Saskatchewan (USask). Jim assists various environmental organizations and Ukrainian immigrant groups. He grew up in the Saskatoon Ukrainian community, is passionate about Ukrainian dance and is a lifetime member of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada.
Mary Ann Trischuk, Yorkton
Yorkton pharmacist Mary Ann Trischuk is a retired member of the Pharmacists Association of Saskatchewan and the College of Saskatchewan Pharmacists. She served on the USask Senate, the USask Alumni Association and is the past president of the Canadian Federation of University Women (Yorkton). She holds memberships in the Ukrainian Women’s Association of Canada and the Ukrainian Museum of Canada, and continues to support the local arts community. As a member of the Health Foundation of East Central Saskatchewan she is involved in fundraising activities. As past president of the UCC-Saskatchewan Provincial Council she continues to help preserve and promote Ukrainian culture and identity.
Chantelle Patrick, Regina
Chantelle Patrick is the Executive Director of International Relations at the Ministry of Trade and Export Development.
4. Additional Information
Various resources are available online if you wish to learn more about Ukrainian culture and the contributions to Saskatchewan by citizens of Ukrainian descent.