Paul Yuzyk Awards for Multiculturalism Presented

Victoria Karpiak (Yuzyk).

On August 4, 2015, the 6th Annual Paul Yuzyk Award for Multiculturalism ceremony was held at the Sala Colombo in Toronto. The Award commemorates and honours the late Senator Paul Yuzyk’s pioneering legacy in establishing multiculturalism as one of the fundamental characteristics of Canadian heritage and identity.

The Award recognizes individuals in communities across Canada who have made an exceptional contribution to the multiculturalism that makes Canada strong. This year’s award was changed to allow for (3) recipients of $10,000 in each of their respective categories: Lifetime Achievement Award, Organizational Award and the Youth Award.

Guests present were there by special invitation from the Hon. Jason Kenney, Minister for Multiculturalism and Minister for National Defence. The National Anthem O, Canada was powerfully sung by Mr. Justin Welsh. Later on in the program, he sang two other highly emotional and popular songs.

Appropriately, the Master of Ceremonies was Mr. Leonard Lombardi. Lombardi introduced Ms. Catharine Piercey, Director General – Ontario Region, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, who spoke eloquently about Sen. Paul Yuzyk’s legacy and the Award.

All three recipients were called to the podium to receive their awards and to give their acceptance speeches. The recipients for 2015 were: Ms. Priya Saha, for her Newcomer Orientation Week Program ( NOW), who received the Youth Award; Dr. Jawahar Kalra, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award for being the “Culture and Diversity Ambassador” with many organizations in Saskatchewan and; finally, the Organizational Award went to the Canadian Ethnocultural Council, a non-profit organization supporting cultural integration of newcomers, accepted on behalf of the organization by Mr. Dominic Campione, President of the Canadian Ethnocultural Council.

Following, Ms. Victoria Karpiak, daughter of the late Sen. Paul Yuzyk was called to the podium to speak about her Father’s pioneering legacy and how he became known as the Father of Multiculturalism in Canada. She spoke additionally about the challenges that he had to overcome in life, particularly in his early career as a teacher.

Other attending guests of Ukrainian heritage included Paul Grod, President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC); Mrs. Olya Grod, Executive Director of the Ukrainian National Federation of Canada (UNF); Mr. Taras Pidzamecky, CEO and General Counsel of the Ukrainian Credit Union Ltd. (UCU); Mr. Wasyl Luczkiw, President of the Ukrainian National Youth Federation of Canada (UNYF), whose first National President was Paul Yuzyk in 1934) and; Mr. Taras Bahriy, President of UCC- Toronto Branch. Also in attendance was Ms. Larisa Duravetz, granddaughter to the late Sen. Yuzyk.