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Ukrainians find work in Collingwood through rural employment program

After leaving the destruction left by the war in Ukraine, four refugees have been able to find employment and shelter in Simcoe County.

Katya Lavrynenko and her husband Mykola Maslov came to Canada with her brother, Slava Lavrynenko and cousin Vasyl Medvid on May 10, settling with a family in Severn.

Through the Newcomer Centre of Peel, a non-profit in Mississauga, they secured jobs in property maintenance in Collingwood.

"There's been good people here, friendly. All of Canada have been very good people and friendly," said Katya Lavrynenko. "This is what we did back home, so it's been easy to adjust."

But the four haven't forgotten what life they left behind.

"It was a simple place where we could spend our time, maybe go to a bar," Lavrynenko added. "But all cities were, was destroyed."

They left family, friends and pets to escape to Canada and hope to send some money back home to help.

Through their employer, Property Valet, they've also been supplied housing in the Blue Mountains.

"We had a property available and felt it was the right thing to do," said Sean Landreth, president. "They were also doing this type of work back home, so to be able to transition them here and then be doing what they've known to do is great for them. They feel comfortable with it."

Their story is similar to over 100 Ukrainians that the Newcomer Centre of Peel has helped through its rural employment program.

The goal is to help refugees settle in rural communities with gainful employment while simultaneously filling workforce gaps in those same places.

"To be honest, work hasn't been a challenge for them to come across, but housing definitely is," said Neil Harris, Newcomer Centre of Peel. "Housing doesn't happen overnight, but there are a lot of great volunteers willing to take displaced Ukrainians in."

Meanwhile, while Lavrynenko and her family intend to stay here for their three-year work permit, they are already thinking about their long-term goal.

"We don't want to stay," Labrynenko added. "We want to earn money to be able to restore our country to what it once was." Top Stories

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