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Research project launched to study post-1991 immigration

Oct 20, 2021 | Featured

Marco Levytsky, NP-UN Western Bureau Chief.

The Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (CIUS) at the University of Alberta, along with McMaster University, and St. Thomas More College -at the University of Saskatchewan, have launched a research project to assess and study the post-1991 immigration of Ukrainians to Canada.

As Dr. Natalia Khanenko-Friesen, Director of the CIUS, explained during an October 7 webinar held to present the early research findings of this ongoing project, approximately 69,000 people immigrated to Canada from Ukraine over the past 30 years making this so-called Fourth Wave twice as large as the post-World War II Third Wave.

But while some small-scale qualitative and case studies have been conducted there has been no comprehensive study that tries to capture the broader economic trajectories and settlement experiences of this group over multiple years, across different immigration categories, and in different geographical and socio-cultural settings. The Post-1991 Research Project aims to help fill that gap.

Questions that arise are who are these immigrants? “Are they entering the existing networks of Ukrainian Canadian organizations? What is their relationship with the Ukrainian Canadian community? With Ukraine? With Canada?”, added Dr. Khanenko-Friesen.

She was joined by Dr. Victor Satzewich (Professor of Sociology, McMaster University), and Dr. Monica Hwang (Associate Professor of Sociology – St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan).

Dr. Hwang reported that there are three research directions for the project.

The first will study Immigration and settlement patterns utilizing the Longitudinal Immigrant Database (IMDB), which combines linked administrative immigration and tax data files. The team will provide a nationally-representative analysis of post 1991 immigrant groups assessing such characteristics as employment income, educational attainment, inter-provincial mobility, and family size over multiple decades

The second will focus on integration into the Ukrainian Canadian community from both the community and immigrants’ perspectives. The team plans to conduct organizational surveying to explore this subject

The third direction will analyze Ukrainian immigrants and the Provincial Nominee Programs. Using the statistical data from the IMDB and analysis of available data on the provincial nominee program, the research will examine the work of the programs and their success at attracting Ukrainian immigrants and retaining them after 1991.

Dr. Satzewich elaborated on the type of information contained in the IMDB ad related some preliminary findings. Regarding the province of destination more than half of all post-1991 immigrants chose Ontario. Female immigrants consistently outnumbered males throughout the years. As far as age categories are concerned there has been a steady increase in those aged 25-34. The proportion of immigrants coming through the provincial nominee program has been rising consistently since the turn of the century. Also rising has been the number of immigrants who know one or two of Canada’s official languages as has been the number of immigrants who cite Ukrainian as their mother tongue as opposed to Russian.

The next steps will be to provide provincial profiles for immigrants from Ukraine, examine provincial nominee retention patterns, focus on Ukrainian students and study permit holders and study the economic performance of immigrants.

CIUS Research Associate Jennifer Fedun, who moderated the webinar, reported that as of October 2021, eight project team meetings have taken place, three key case studies have been identified and initiated and the Government of Canada security clearance application was successful. As well, over 30 unique Ukrainian Canadian organizations from across the country have been identified and are to be engaged in the coming year.

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