New immigrants helped fuel a growing militancy in the labour movement. These men and women had come to Canada seeking a better life, but many found their success hampered by anti-immigrant sentiment and unscrupulous employers. Under these circumstances, they found it necessary to either organize their own unions or join other groups that promised to promote their interests.


The dissatisfaction with the quality of life in Canada experienced by some Ukrainians forced them to express their frustration in a variety of ways.

"The only salvation from despair was drama and singing groups, and socialist and union organizing."

Excerpt from: No Streets of Gold: A Social History of Ukrainians in Alberta, Helen Potrebenko (Vancouver: New Star Books, 1977).

"Their expectations were low, revolving around work and survival. Indeed, they were preoccupied with survival.... They were willing to work long hours and endure much discomfort if it allowed them security and a viable future for their offspring. They settled for the concept of 'limited good,' but if their modest stipulations were not met, they reacted in a variety of mutinous ways."

Excerpt from: Peasant in the Promised Land: Canada and the Ukrainains 1891-1914, Jaroslav Petryshyn (Toronto: Lorimer, 1985)

Link to the Social Progress Gallery