of Sociology, University of Toronto)
and Integration of New Immigrants: The Fourth Wave of Immigration
from Ukraine in Canada, 1991-2001"
Toronto, multicultural milieu par excellence, studies on multiculturalism
and ethnicity have a particular resonance. On January 28,
Wsevolod Isajiw (Department of Sociology, U of T), very familiar
with these issues, presented the preliminary results of his
study on Adaptation and Integration of New Immigrants: The
Fourth Wave of Immigration from Ukraine in Canada, 1991-2001.
The event started off the new year for the seminar series
sponsored by the Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Ukraine
and was held in conjunction with the Canadian Institute of
Ukrainian Studies, Toronto Office.
his introductory remarks, Prof. Isajiw made note of the fact
that each successive wave of immigrants from Ukraine has brought
with it a specific set of political and social values. His
research aims to assess how well Ukrainian immigrants of the
most recent wave are adapting to the Canadian economic system
and to determine whether and to what extent they become integrated
into Toronto's Ukrainian community.
series of statistical tables displayed the results of some
300 interviews done among new Ukrainian immigrants between
November 2000 and January 2001. Among other things, the study
shows that more than 90% of those interviewed fall into the
independent immigrant category. This situation mirrors Canadian
immigration policy--Ukrainians in this category have high
qualifications and significant disposable incomes. Young and
dynamic (39.2 years old on average), close to a quarter of
these immigrants have Canadian citizenship and own their home.
According to Prof. Isajiw, this data represents very rapid
the question of immigrant adaptation to the economic system,
Prof. Isajiw looked at the types of employment held by immigrants
before and after they arrived. While 15.2% of the immigrants
had a job related to computing in the Ukraine, this rate fell
to 13.4% for their first job in Canada and rose to 20.1% for
their current working status. For jobs related to business
and entrepreneurship the rates were: 3.9%, 3.0%, and 6.4%
respectively. In sectors such as engineering, humanities,
art, and management, the employment figures are not as positive
and downward social mobility predominates.
order to find a job, Ukrainian immigrants faced three major
problems: lack of Canadian experience, lack of Canadian contacts,
and inadequate knowledge of English. They found employment
mainly in newspapers, by approaching employers directly, and
through Ukrainian Canadian friends or private employment centres.
While the majority of the candidates have a fairly good education
(15 years or more), the study reveals that a degree was not
a necessary asset for a career in Canada. Nonetheless, Prof.
Isajiw concluded that Ukrainian immigrants are economically
the integration of immigrants into the Ukrainian community,
the most striking information is the fact that less than 10%
of new arrivals are involved in the community, whereas, as
Prof. Isajiw indicated, the opposite was the case for the
previous waves of Ukrainian immigration. Having a pronounced
sense of Ukrainian culture, more than 90% of the interviewees
feel that is important to pass it on to their cchildren. To
do so, half of immigrant parents send their children to Ukrainian
schools, but many other means such as dance lessons and summer
camps are also used. Overall, these newly arrived Ukrainians
desire to stay in Canada and observe that Canadians treat
immigrants positively even though settling in Canada has been
difficult for the majority of them. Prof. Isajiw considers
that mother tongue is not an indicator of national identity
whereas the language used at home is an identity indicator.
Regardless of whether their mother tongue is Russian or Ukrainian,
the immigrants can send their children to Ukrainian schools.
audience, mainly composed of members of the Toronto Ukrainian
community, welcomed his talk with great interest, and we at
CREES are waiting for concluding analysis of the fourth wave
of Ukrainian immigration to Canada.