Immigration has made Canada into the diverse

Immigration has made Canada into the diverse, strong, and attractive country it is now. Millions of people from different backgrounds came to Canada and brought their culture, language, and skills and developed Canadian life. One of the most prominent groups of people to immigrate to Canada are Ukranians. During the course of Canadian history, particularly between the years of 1896 amd 1945, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians emigrated to Canada. This essay talks explains their history before immigration, difficulties after immigration, and contributions to Canadian life.
The conditions of immigration to Canada for Ukrainians started with their immigration and settlement history. Ukrainian territory in the nineteenth century was divided by the Austro-Hungarian and Russian empires. In the Austro-Hungarian empire, there was a region called Galicia, which was home to the largest number of Ukrainians. This region was overpopulated and experienced famines, which were caused by natural disasters such as floods. Some famines, though, were man-made, such as Holodomor, meaning death by hunger. This famine was caused when the Ukrainian government seized many crops and sent farmers to work in labour camps elsewhere, so there was a food shortage. Several million Ukrainians died due to Holodomor. These two factors led to starvation, poverty, and epidemics, which, in turn, led to approximately 50,000 people who died between the 1870s and 1910s. Moreover, as the territory was divided in two, the political situation was extremely poor. The Austrians put restrictions on Ukrainian culture and language. Then, when the Poles living in Ukrainian territory demanded independence, Austria lifted some of their restrictions to counter the Poles. The Ukrainian people were given a congress to promote Ukrainian activities and establish the Ukrainian language in schools. Still, this was not enough, and being oppressed by the Poles and Austrians, the Ukrainians felt that their only choice was turn to Russia. They did not receive much help and Ukraine became very unstable and uninhabitable, so people started to immigrant to countries all over the world, such as Brazil and the Balkans because they needed to live where they could freely engage in their culture without being criticized. The first wave of immigration to Canada was in 1891. Several families immigrated to Western Canada in the early 1890s, but it was Dr. Josef Oleskow and Cyril Genik who were responsible for the coming of 170,000 Ukrainians later in the decade. Most of these immigrants were living under the Austro-Hungarian empire, but the Ukrainians who were a part of the Russian empire also came in smaller groups. Then, the second wave of immigrants came to Canada. Around 70,000 Ukrainians left their country between World War I and World War II for similar economic and political reasons as the people from the first wave had. This group of people were in search of a better life away from all the death because the war had ruined their communities and they had experienced revolution and famine and a number of other hardships. Ukrainians from both waves came to Canada by ship and they scattered by train. Most of the new immigrants resided in Western Canada, that is to say, Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. This was because those three provinces were big in agriculture and many of the Ukrainians were farmers. For the most part, the immigrants settled together, but those who did not choose to become farmers in the prairie provinces became wage workers in resource industries all over Canada. Canada promoted itself as a good destination for immigrants, too. The Ukrainian immigrants’ history was excessive, but ultimately explained the conditions of immigration and how difficult it was.
While residing in Canada, Ukrainian immigrants faced many barriers that impacted their lives, despite managing to overcome or adapt to those barriers. One of the obstacles the Ukrainians faced was concentration camps. They were considered enemy aliens, so over 8000 men were placed in concentration camps from 1914 to 1920 under the War Measures Act (WMA). This act allowed the government to take away or limit civil freedoms, such as the incarceration of enemy aliens, for the good of the country. 5000 of these men were innocent civilians, while only 3000 were prisoners of the war. The men in these camps were starved and forced to work and build some of Canada’s famous landmarks, such as Banff National Park. Poor treatment of the immigrants in these concentration camps and during the labour resulted in severe casualties. In addition, Ukrainian immigrants had a difficult time in the workforce. Although some people were able to find jobs as farmers, miners, and railway workers, others were not so lucky, as the unemployment rate, especially for immigrants, was high. During the Great Depression, particularly in the year 1933, the national unemployment rate was 19.3%. For just immigrants though, that rate would have been higher as Canadian-born workers would have been the first priority of employers. For the Ukrainians who did manage to find jobs, they were forced to work in conditions less than humane. For example, the wage was extremely low, at $0.25 per hour, which, in 2018, would be equal to $3.16. Their salary was a quarter of what a Canadian-born worker would receive. Also, the immigrants would have to work 12 hours a day to make a living. Even then, though, they would earn the absolute minimum. To add on, the Ukrainians would work hard labour jobs, such as miners or factory and construction workers. These jobs were dirty, crowded, and unethical, but the workers had no choice but to continue working, as they could not find a decent job or afford to be without one. Furthermore, the Ukrainian immigrants faced years of gruelling discrimination. As mentioned, they had to endure concentration camps and discrimination in workplaces. To add on, they had certain rules they were forced to follow while out in public. For example, they were kept under surveillance as they had to carry identity papers and report to the local police regularly. Around 80,000 Ukrainians were treated this way. Not only had the law mistreated them, but civilians have also treated them cruelly. The civilians would look at them like animals and think of them as “10 times lower than the Indians” and “can turn a place into a common sewer.” Also, the Ukrainians were hoping to live and participate in their culture freely when they escaped the tortures of Austria-Hungary, but clearly, their wished were not granted in Canada. The Canadian government also oppressed Ukrainian culture when they shut down and suppressed Ukrainian language schools, churches, and newspapers. To deal with the substantial amount of discrimination received, the Ukrainians adopted a couple strategies. They could not counterattack the government, but they were able to do smaller scaled projects in their communities to make Canada feel like home.
The conditions of immigration for Ukrainians coming to Canada were intense. They had to deal with political and economic issues back home and hurdles while living in Canada. Through it all, though, Ukrainians made numerous efforts that evolved the workforce, culture, and politics. All these aspects of immigration made Canada a compelling country.


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