Ukrainian Canadian Newcomers’ Stories, Hopes, and Dreams: Adapting to a New Multicultural Reality




mental health, immigration, identity, positive peace, transformative experiences, cross-culture


Introduction: This paper focuses on the experiences of thirty-three newcomer Ukrainian Canadians as they adapt to their new multicultural reality in Canada. Challenges of leaving home and adjusting are studied along with changes to identity and strategies of resilience.

Purpose: Using a mental health and peace building lens, we hope that our findings will inform better understanding of newcomer struggles, hopes and dreams and can be helpful in transforming existing injustices in Canada’s vibrant multicultural society towards positive peace

Methodology: Supported by a document search that supplies the broader context, the heart of the research is based on individual narrative interviews conducted in 2020/2021 with grassroot Ukrainian Canadians who immigrated to Canada as adults before Russia’s overt invasion of Ukraine. The experiences of these modern newcomer research participants are viewed through a peacebuilding and mental health lens.  

Results:  While coming from the same country in a relatively short period of history, study participants were found to be a multivariate group. There were often competing needs for personal growth, security (economic and physical) and belonging. Major challenges upon arrival in their new home also varied. Along with some downshift in employment status, they experienced challenges to identity, language, finances, cultural adaptation, along with loneliness and sadness at leaving their homeland.  They shared personal resilience strategies. Participants shared hopes and dreams for themselves, Ukraine, and Canada ,along with advice for others considering the journey.          

Conclusion:  As Canada’s ethnic and cultural makeup continues to evolve through embracing our current multicultural population accepting increasing numbers of immigrants, newcomers’ experiences and their integration become important aspects of the multiculturalism debate which acknowledges the importance of developing harmonious relationships between Canada’s new and older settler population and the Indigenous people who share this land. This study highlights the importance of newcomers engaging in cross-cultural experiences, while considering one’s own identity at home and in community


Bogdan, Robert, and Sari Biklen. 2006. Qualitative research for education: An introduction to theories and methods (5th ed). Pearson.

Boulding, E. 2003. "Peace culture for today and tomorrow." In Positive approaches to peacebuildig: A resource for innovators, edited by C. Sampson, M. Abu-nimer and C. Leibler, 83-92. Washington, DC: Pact Publications.

Burton, John. 1990. "Conflict: Basic Human Needs." New York: St. Martins Press. DOI:

Bushe, G. 2011. Appreciative inquiry: Theory and critique. Vols. pp. 87-103, in Routledge companion to organizational change, by D. Boje, B. Burnes and J. (Eds.) Hassard. Oxford: Routledge.

Chinn, Peggy. 2004. Peace and power: Creative leadership for building community 6th ed. Mississauga, ON: Jones and Bartlett Publishers Canada.

Cook-Huffman, F. 2015. "The role of Identuty in Conflict." In Handbook of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, by J. D. Sandole. Routledge.

Flaherty, Maureen P. 2016. It takes a vision to raise a nation: Peacebuilding with men in Ukraine. Vol. 1, in Society under construction: Opportunities and risks, by P. Baldys and K. (Eds.) Piatek. Bilesko-Baiala: Technical Humanitarian Academy.

Peacebuilding with women in Ukraine: Using narrative to create a common vision. Lanham: Lexington.

Gelfand, M, J Raver, and L. Nishii. 2011. "Differences between Tight and Loose Cultures: a 33 Nation Study." American Association for the Advancement of Science 332 (6033): 1100-04. doi:10.1126/science.1197754. DOI:

Gelfand, Michele, interview by Stephen J. Dubner. 2021. The U.S. Is Just Different — So Let’s Stop Pretending We’re Not Brent Katz, (July 14).

Government of Canada. 2015. "Discover Canada - Canada's History." Government of Canada. 10 26. Accessed 05 2021.

Permanent Resident Program.

Grekul, Lisa. 2005. LEaving Shadows. Edmonton: The University of Alberta Press.

Hung, Lillian, Alison Phinney, Habib Chaudhury, Paddy Rodney, Jenifer Tabamo, and Doris Bohl. 2018. "Appreciative Inquiry: Bridging Research and Practice in a Hospital Setting." International Journal of Qualitative Methods (Sage) 17 (1): 1-10. DOI:

Khromeychuk, Olesya. 2021. "Ukraine at 30, Part 1: How to love your homeland properly." Los Angeles Review of Books. August 22.

Klokiw, Andrew. 2020. "A fifth wave? A contemporary comparative study of Ukrainian immigration to the United States, 1870-2019." Texas Law Review 98 (4): 757-791.

Kondrashov, Oleksandr. 2008. "An Exploratory Study of Fourth Wave Ukrainian Immigration in Winnipeg: Problems and Perspectives of Immigrants' Adaptations."

Kyiv Post. 2021. The most promising sectors for investors in Ukraine. Kyiv, Accessed September 29 2021.

Ledohowski, Lindy. 2011. "'A vaguely divided guilt': The Aboriginal Ukrainian." In Re-imagining Canadian Ukrainians: History, politics, and identity, by Rhonda Hinther and JIm Morochuk, 85-106. Toronto: Toronto University Press.

Luciuk, Lubomyr. 1986. "Unintended consequences in refugee resettlement: Post-war Ukrainian refugee immigration to Canada." Accessed 05 2021. DOI:

Luciuk, Lubomyr, and Stella (Eds.) Hryniuk. 1991. Canada's Ukrainians: Negotiating an identity. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Lynn, Suzanne. 2016. "Differences and similarities in attitudes towards intellectual and visual culture within the Ukrainian-Caadian community in Edmonton, Alberta." Mulit-lingual Discourses, ??? DOI:

Makuch, Andrij. 2011. "Fighting for the soul of the Ukrainian Progressive Movement in Canada: The Lobayites and the Ukrainian Labour-Farmer Temple Association." In Re-imagining Ukrainian Canadians: History, politics and identity, by Rhonda Hinther and Jim Morchuk, 376-402. Toronto: Toronto University Press. DOI:

Makuch, Andrij. 2002. "Sociologist Examines Latest Wave of Ukrainian Immigration to Canada." The Ukrainian Weekly (Ukrainian National Association) LXX (10).

Marker, Sandra. 2003. Unmet human needs. Vol. August, in Beyond Intractability, by G. Burgess and H. Burgess. Boulder, Colorado: Conflict Information Consortium, University of Colorado.

Martynowych, Orest. 1991. Ukrainians in Canada: The Formative Years, 1891-1924. Edmonton: CIUS.

Mochoruk, Jim, and Rhonda Hinther. 2011. "Introduction." In Re-imagining Ukrainian Canadians, by Jim Mochoruk and Rhonda (Eds.) Hinther. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. DOI:

Momryk, Myron. 1993. "Ukrainian Canadians, 100 years later." Labour/Le travail (University of Toronto Press) 31: 355-364. DOI:

Nedashkivska, A. 2018. "Identity in Interaction: Language Practices and Attitudes of the Newest Ukrainian Diaspora in Canada." (Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies) 5 (2): 111-47. doi:10.21226/ewjus421. DOI:

Public Health Agency of Canada. 2022. Social determinants of health and health inequalities. 06 14. Accessed 04 13, 2023.

Robinson, Amanda. 2018. "Turtle Island." The Canadian Encyclopedia. November 6. Accessed 2 19, 2020.

Swyripa, Frances. 1993. Wedded to the cause: Ukrainian-Canadian Women and Ethnic Identity, 1891-1991. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. DOI:

The World Bank. 2021. "Where we work: Ukraine." The World Bank. Accessed September 2021.

"Ukrainian Women's Congress." United Nations Human Rights Council. September 15.

UNHCR. 2023. Operational Data Portal: Ukraine Refugee Situation. March 28. Accessed April 04, 2023.

Verkuyten, M. 2018. The Social Psychology of Ethnic Identity. Routledge. DOI:

World Health Organization. 2014. "Social Determinants of Mental Health." World Health Organization. Accessed October 2020.;jsessionid=6958C382AB67177B3B43887159306145?sequence=1.

Zembrzycki, Stacey. 2011. "'I'll fix you!': Domestic violence and murder in Ukrainian working-class immigrant community in Northern Ontario." In Re-Imagining Canadian Ukrainians: History, politics, and identity, by Rhonda Hinther and Jim Morchuk, 436-464. Toronto: University of Toronto Press DOI:




How to Cite

Flaherty, M., & Ivaniuk, Y. (2023). Ukrainian Canadian Newcomers’ Stories, Hopes, and Dreams: Adapting to a New Multicultural Reality. Mental Health: Global Challenges Journal, 6(1), 47–60.