Two years after the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, Operation Ukrainian Safe Haven presents ‘In Their Words’, a video series with insights into the lives of Ukrainian newcomers in Canada.

Tuesday March 5, 2024, Burnaby, B.C.

Operation Ukrainian Safe Haven presents a storytelling series called ‘In Their Words’ amplifying the stories of displaced Ukrainians and their families arriving under the CUAET (Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel) in Canada. ‘In Their Words’ features the journey of displaced Ukrainians reflecting on hurdles, hopes and aspirations as they find safety and rebuild lives in their new communities.

Maria: “My name is Maria. I’m 19 years old. […] [On] 24 February 2022, we woke up because of the sounds of bombs.”

Rodion: “Bonjour, je m’appelle Rodion. J’habite à Montréal. […] In Kyiv, I was the owner of Ridni Animation.”

Dgenish: “I was director of a Children and Youth Sports School. […] We left everything, our plan, and our future.”

As Russia’s aggression against Ukraine enters its third year causing further displacement, destruction, and loss of lives in Ukraine, Canadian volunteers and citizens continue to open their hearts and homes. The settlement service providers, diaspora community and the Government of Canada remain steadfast in offering solidarity and support to Ukrainians who have already called Canada home.

Anna: “When we arrived in Canada, an organization that is assisting Ukrainian newcomers, helped us a lot. [The service provider] was very kind and gave us orientation on everything.”

Rodion: “[A Canadian volunteer] hosted us for the first month, he showed us things that a person who arrives first in a new country needs to go through. […] We call him our ‘petit parent’.”

Dgenish : “We got introduced to the Ukrainian diaspora here. There was a store […] called Baba’s Closet. […] We took everything from there for free. […] We received help from the government as well with which we purchased our necessities for winter and spring.”

The series also highlights how Ukrainian newcomers contribute to their new communities showcasing efforts and enthusiasm in learning English and French, acquiring skills to boost their employment prospects, and pursuing their passion.

Viktor: “I work as welder at a company. For me, it was a very very pleasant surprise. I have already started learning French. A teacher comes to our company.”

Rodion: “I teach kids in different English-speaking and French-speaking schools and create cartoons with kids.”

Dgenish: “I created a class [Taekwondo] for Ukrainian children. […] A year has passed now and there are still those children practicing. And adults also come. Some have been coming for a whole year. I would like to have my own large gym here. And I want to continue with sports. It’s my profession.”

“It is heartwarming to see how those helping hands from Canadians, the settlement sector, partner businesses and the Government of Canada have enabled Ukrainian newcomers navigate options and re-establish their lives,” said Sarosh Rizvi, the Executive Director of Operation Ukraine Safe Haven. “We call on everyone including those who are already involved to continue providing support as we experience surge in new arrivals who flee the aggression.”


Watch ‘In Their Words’:


Quick Facts:

  • 221,231 Ukrainians have arrived in Canada under CUAET between March 17, 2022, and January 27, 2024. An estimate of 50,000 is expected to arrive between January 1st, 2024, and March 31st, 2024.
  • For the latest data and updates on available supports for displaced Ukrainians, visit the website: ca


About Operation Ukrainian Safe Haven:

Created by AMSSA in 2022 in partnership with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Operation Ukrainian Safe Haven operates the national secretariat of more than 100 partners to support Ukrainians across Canada who are fleeing the war in Europe.


About AMSSA:

AMSSA is a province-wide association that strengthens over 80 member agencies and hundreds of community stakeholder agencies serving immigrants and newcomers in British Columbia. With a focus on co-creating the conditions for success, AMSSA provides its members with the knowledge, resources, and support they need to fulfill their mandates.


Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies of British Columbia

4445 Norfolk Street, Burnaby, British Columbia, V5G 0A7

Toll Free1 888 355-5560 or T 604 718-2780