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Saskatchewan-Ukraine Relations

Saskatchewan has had a long relationship with the country of Ukraine. Ukrainian immigrants helped settle the province more than a century ago and Ukrainian culture and traditions are deeply embedded in the Saskatchewan mosaic.

More than 13 per cent of Saskatchewan residents trace all or part of their ancestry to Ukraine, according to the last census. Ukraine is currently the fourth top source of immigration to the province.

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1. Overview of Saskatchewan's Relationship with Ukraine

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 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.

You can find information on the Saskatchewan-Ukraine and Canada-Ukraine relationships, the Ukrainian community in Saskatchewan, and the economy of Ukraine in the accompanying fact sheet.

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2. Saskatchewan-Ukraine Relations Advisory Committee (SURAC)

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 May 2018, the government extended SURAC and its mandate to 2021.

SURAC serves as a community-based focal point for residents, businesses and educational institutions interested in Saskatchewan-Ukraine relations, and makes recommendations to the government on programs that advance those relations. In that regard, it has offered advice on the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program and on Memoranda of Understanding that were established with the Ukrainian states of Chernivtsi Oblast and Zhytomyr Oblast.

SURAC has also played a role more recently in raising awareness around the escalation of political violence in Ukraine. Its advice led to the government donating $60,000 in aid to Ukraine that was used to buy medical supplies, support family rehabilitation and provide trauma support for health-care professionals. As well, SURAC was instrumental in a community- and government-supported project that saw four donated ambulances from Saskatchewan and Alberta sent to Ukrainian hospitals in the fall of 2015. The Saskatchewan government provided $25,000 in financial support to that initiative.

SURAC receives administrative support from Intergovernmental Affairs of Executive Council. The Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan-Ukraine Relations is a liaison to the committee.

Members of SURAC

Gerald Luciuk, Regina
A professional agrologist by training, Gerald Luciuk 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
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.

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.

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 currently serves as President of the Board of Directors of the Ukrainian Museum of Canada in Saskatoon. She has also held leadership roles with the local, provincial and national executives of the Ukrainian Women's Association of Canada.

Holly Paluck, Regina
Holly Paluck is a long-time educator who has served as a school-based and senior level school system administrator among diverse educational environments in Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Japan. She has worked as a curricular consultant, vice principal and principal with the Regina Catholic School Division and served on many system-level committees. Her involvement with the Saskatchewan's Ukrainian community has been extensive. Holly has served as chair of the Holodomor Awareness and Education Committee of the UCC–Saskatchewan Provincial Council (UCC-SPC), as member of the UCC National School Council Committee and numerous other community committees. She currently serves as a Member of the Regina Multicultural Council Board of Directors.

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. 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 member of the Pharmacists Association of Saskatchewan and the College of Saskatchewan Pharmacists. She has served on the University of Saskatchewan Senate, the University of Saskatchewan Alumni Association and is a past president of the Canadian Federation of University Women (Yorkton). She is an executive member of the local and the provincial Ukrainian Women’s Associations of Canada. As a board member of the Health Foundation of East Central Saskatchewan, she continues her work with fundraising activities. Her role as past president of the UCC-SPC allows her to help preserve and promote Ukrainian culture and identity.

Jodi Banks, Regina
Jodi Banks is the Assistant Deputy Minister, International Relations and Trade, Ministry of Trade and Export Development. Her office provides secretariat and organizational support to SURAC. Jodi has worked with the Government of Saskatchewan for over 25 years, having held senior positions at the Ministry of Agriculture and the Canadian Intergovernmental Relations Branch of Intergovernmental Affairs, Executive Council. She holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Public Administration degrees from the University of Regina.

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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.

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