Shevchenko Award Recipients

The Shevchenko Medal is the highest form of recognition that can be granted by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. It recognizes individuals of Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian descent for their outstanding national contribution towards the development of the Ukrainian Canadian community.

2022 Shevchenko Award Recipients

The Hon. Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, PC CC OM (Public Service)

Lloyd Axworthy serves as Chair of the World Refugee and Migration Council, Chair of the Canadian Task Force on an Anti-corruption Court  and as Co-Chair of the Americas Task Force on Migration.  His essay Reflections on 2020: Awakening to a World at Risk” is included in the June 2021 publication, “Political Turmoil in a Tumultuous World: Canada Among Nations 2020.”  In 2019 he served as Chair of the Canadian Election Observer team to Ukraine  

He was President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Winnipeg from 2004-2014 and served as Canadas Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1996-2000. He served as an elected member of the Manitoba legislature and Federal House of Commons for 27 years, retiring from elected politics in 2000.

In the Foreign Affairs portfolio, Minister Axworthy became internationally known for his advancement of the human security concept, in particular, the Ottawa Treaty — a landmark global treaty banning anti-personnel landmines. He has served on the boards of the MacArthur Foundation, Human Rights Watch, STARS, the Canadian Landmines Foundation and the University of the Arctic, the Conference Board of Canada among others. 

In 2004, Dr. Axworthy published Navigating a New World,” an examination of how Canada used human security as a guiding framework for its role in global matters.

He was Chair of the board of CUSO International from 2014-18 and Chancellor of St. Paul’s University College in Waterloo.

Dr. Axworthy is the recipient of multiple honourary doctorates. In 2010, he was made an honourary member of the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba and was given an Ojibwe name – Waapshki Pinaysee Inini, which means White Thunderbird Man. In 2012 he was given the title of Pipe Carrier by Indigenous Elders for his work through The University of Winnipeg.

Dr. Axworthy was awarded the Order of Manitoba in 2001, became Officer of the Order of Canada in 2003, and was promoted to Companion of the Order of Canada in 2015.

He is married to Denise Ommanney and lives in Winnipeg.  Their children, John and Louise, reside in Ontario; and son, Stephen, lives in Winnipeg.

Dave Babych (Athletics)

Dave was born in Edmonton, Alberta where with Ukrainian ancestry, the Babych family have had a homestead for 110 years.

Dave Babych is currently a partner in an investor services group who work with both public and private companies from Medical, Mining to Tech.

He is also a businessman who has been involved in Building Construction, Golf Course Construction, Coaching youth hockey in Canada, United States, China and very proudly in the Ukraine. He is also currently an Ambassador with the Vancouver Canucks of the NHL in the Vancouver, BC, Canada area.

Dave believes after being lucky enough to become a professional athlete which gave him a lot that their is always time to give back to the people, charities and communities that supported him through out his career.

Dave played 19 years in the NHL with the Winnipeg Jets, Hartford Whalers, Vancouver Canucks, Philadelphia Flyers and LA Kings. Won numerous team awards and also played in two Allstar games. Dave is still in the top 25 all time leading scoring defenseman in the NHL with 723 points as well as the top 125 of all time games played at 1195.

Dave is also involved in many charities across Canada and is on the Executive of the Vancouver Canucks Alumni Association and Foundation.

He is also on many Boards past and present from Government, non-profit to charity. Every business venture or event would have a charitable or community component attached to it.

Dave resides in North Vancouver, BC Canada where he been married 32 years and has 5 boys.

Wayne Babych (Athletics)

Wayne Babych grew up in Edmonton, and his athletic prowess first shone through in baseball, and he pitched a perfect game at the age of fifteen. When the scouts came to see him pitch, they saw him hit four homeruns in addition to throwing 100 mph fastballs. Despite offers from professional baseball clubs, hockey became the name of Wayne’s game; while still playing at the junior level, he came close to besting fellow Ukrainian Canadian Bill Mosienko’s record for lightning-quick goals, scoring three in twenty-five seconds. Wayne was drafted third overall by the St. Louis Blues, and became the first player in that franchise’s history to net more than fifty regular season goals. The sharpshooter went on to score goals for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Quebec Nordiques, and Hartford Whalers, where he played with his brother Dave towards the end of his professional career that was cut short by injury. Wayne twice represented Canada in international play.

After retiring, Wayne spent decades supporting youth hockey development in Canada, including in remote indigenous communities. He coached and managed the first all-aboriginal hockey team, the Southeast Thunderbirds, to play in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.

A grandson of Ukrainian immigrants, Wayne recalls his father Edward telling him “Remember where you came from” as a kid, and he has done just that. Wayne has twice visited Ukraine together with his brother Dave, to put on skills clinics for young players and mentor coaches. Even during the pandemic, Wayne was instrumental in organizing Canadian Friends of Hockey in Ukraine’s shipments of equipment to children’s teams in small-town Ukraine.

Plans were in the works for the Babych brothers’ return to Ukraine prior to the war breaking out. They still plan on returning to their ancestral homeland after victory is won to help rebuild hockey in Ukraine. 

Jaroslaw Balan (Academics)

Jaroslaw “Jars” Balan was born and raised in Toronto, where from an early age he took part in Ukrainian community organizations affiliated with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

After obtaining an Honours B.A. from the University of Toronto in 1975 he moved to Edmonton, where in 1981 he completed an M.A. in English (Creative Writing) at the University of Alberta. As a member of SUSK during his student days he was involved in dissident support work, promoting multiculturalism, and especially active in the publishing collective responsible for putting out Student.

For seven summers he was part of the leadership and a lecturer at the Selo Cultural Immersion Camp sponsored by the Canadian Ukrainian Youth Association (CYMK).

In the mid-1970s he was gradually drawn into the scholarly activities of the newly established Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (CIIUS), developing a special interest in the history of Ukrainians in Canada. In addition to editing books, translating literature, and organizing conferences on Ukrainian Canadian themes, he is the author of a best-selling illustrated history, Salt and Braided Bread: Ukrainian Life in Canada, published in 1984 by Oxford University Press. In 1988-1989 he taught several courses on Ukrainian history and civilization for the Ukrainian Studies Centre at Macquarie University, in Sydney, Australia.

In 1991-1992, on behalf of the CIUS he spearheaded the creation of the Kalyna Country Ecomuseum on the territory of Canada’s oldest and largest Ukrainian bloc settlement. In 2000 he was asked to become the coordinator the Ukrainian Canadian Program at CIUS, renamed the Kule Ukrainian Canadian Studies Centre in 2007. Over the years, he has written numerous articles on various aspects of the Ukrainian experience in Canada and overseen research initiatives on a wide range of topics. From 2018-2020 he also served as the Director of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies.

Victor Hetmanczuk (Community Development)

Over the last 50 years, Victor has taken on many leadership challenges in the Ukrainian Canadian Community.

He was elected to 20 years on the Consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada – 10 of them as Treasurer.

He was the Founding President of the UOCC Foundation (2002-2009).

Served as President of the St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cultural Centre in Oakville (1990-1995).

Elected as Treasurer of the Ukrainian World Foundation (2011-2016). Was a Board member of the Ukrainian Care Centre in Toronto.

During his term as President of the Canada-Ukraine Foundation (2013-2020), he organized and financed seven medical missions from Canada to Ukraine staffed by volunteer Canadian medical professionals to treat wounded soldiers injured from the 2014 Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Oversaw the management of the Holodomor Awareness Tour – a mobile classroom that travelled across Canada visited by over 54,000 students and adults.

He is serving as Chair of CUF at the present time.

None of this could have happened, without the understanding and support of his wife Alexandra, children Taras(Laryssa), Alexander(Emily), Natalie(Alexander) and their five grandchildren.

Andrew Hladyshevsky, Q.C. (Community Development)

Having practiced law for 42 years, Andrew (Andriy) is best known as President (up to 2021) and lead volunteer in the Taras Shevchenko Foundation from 1995 – to the present. In his early Hromada days served  as President of the SUSK (Calgary Branch); for years was President and Director of the Ukrainian Dinipro Ensemble; President of the Ukrainian Canadian Professional Business Association of Edmonton.

Andriy is an active member of the Ukr. Bandurist Chorus of North America (since 1989) and also sings with the Viter Choir; Ukrainian Male Chorus of Edmonton and with the Edmonton Opera Chorus.

Andriy was Chairman of many UCC committees, including being the Chairman of the UCC Internment Committee and negotiating the Redress Agreement with the Federal Government forming the 10 million dollar Canadian First World War Interment Fund.

Andriy was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1999 and was a founding Director and Vice-Chair (1996-2004) of the Canadian Race and Relations Foundation (CRRF). Edmonton Symphony Orchestra Director from 1994-2004 and served as Chairman of the Board for 3 years, was Chairman of the Board for 5 years of the Edmonton Concert Hall Foundation and the Centre for Race and Culture (2008-2014) as Chairman and Board member.

Andriy’s accomplishments were not possible without the immense support from wife, Daria, children, Gregory, Olesia, Zenon and Roman.

Honours and Awards

May, 2008 – Awarded the Award of Merit (3rd) — Ukraine — Presented by President Yuschenko for lifetime contribution to Ukrainian Canadian culture and international democratization.

2005 – Awarded the “Hetman Award” by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (Alberta).

September, 2007 – Awarded the University of Alberta Alumni Association Honour Award.

2010 – Awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Ukrainian Professional Business Association of Calgary.
2011 – Kevin Lowe — Outstanding Service Award, The Edmonton Christmas Bureau — Lifetime Achievement Award in anti-poverty initiatives (2011).
2014 – Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Pavlo Lopata (Culture and the Arts)

Pavlo Lopata was born in Kalinov [Presov region], Slovak Republic on March 20, 1945. He studied at the The Academy of Fine Arts and Design (Vysoká škola výtvarných umení) in Bratislava from 1966-1968.   In 1969 he emigrated to Canada and settled in Toronto. He obtained a Commercial Arts Diploma from George Brown College [1972] and a Fine Arts Diploma from the Ontario College of Art [1986].  From 1991 to 1998 he was curator and executive director of the Ukrainian Canadian Art Foundation [KUMF Gallery]. During this period he organized over 70 exhibits of many different artists from Canada, USA, Ukraine and many other countries.

In his artistic endeavours he has mastered the use of pencil, egg tempera, acrylics and oils. Many themes are visible in his works, such as, portraits, wooden churches, icons, linear expressionism and surrealistic symbolism.  
Pavlo is also a prolific author of over 450 articles related to the arts, culture and history, published in periodicals, journals and newspapers.

He is a member of CARFAC Ontario and the Ukrainian Association of Visual Artists of Canada (USOM) since 1985 and a member of the Arts Society of Kingsville and Leamington Arts Centre since 2018. 

To date, many of his artistic works can be found in private and museum collections in Canada, USA, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic and Ukraine. He has held 37 solo exhibits and participated in over 100 group shows. He presently lives and works in his private studio gallery in Kingsville, Ontario where he resides with his wife Mary. They have one son Petro, also an artist.

Taras Pidzamecky (Community Development)

Born St. Catharines, Ontario 1961. Initially living in neighbouring Thorold with siblings, and parents Wasyl and Olha, received first Ukrainian school lessons in the Sv. Pokrovy church kitchen, taught by sisters from nearby Queenston. Moving to St. Catharines in 1970, completed Kniahynia Olha Ridna Shkola and Ivan Kotliarevsky Kursy, took song and dance at the UNF and junior Dunai, reader lessons at Sts. Cyril and Methodius UCC, entering organized community life briefly through Plast, and then the Ukrainian National Youth Federation of Canada. Summers, ran UNF day camps, collected Ukrainian Niagara oral histories, and later worked on UCC Toronto and UNYF student projects.   

B.A. in Political Science and Ukrainian Language & Literature, University of Toronto; LL.B., and LL.M in Banking and Financial Services Law, York University. Active in the Ukrainian students’ clubs at both universities, Zarevo, and New Perspectives, the one-time English-language supplement of Novyi Shliakh, interest in media also earned him an intensive certificate in television studio production.  

CEO and General Counsel Ukrainian Credit Union Limited (Toronto) which he joined in 1987 as corporate solicitor, co-leading a many-year effort to consolidate Ontario’s rich Ukrainian cooperative legacy into a vibrant province-wide network of credit union branches serving our community. Through the CUCUC, helped champion the restoration of the cooperative credit movement in post-Soviet Ukraine, including co-authoring Ukraine’s first credit union act.   

Community service includes UNYF National President (1984-86); founding director, Canada Ukraine Foundation (1995); Chair, UCC Organizing Committee, 2006 Ukraine Parliamentary Election Observer Mission; Co-Founder, UNF’s Paul Yuzyk Institute for Youth Leadership (2007-2009); UNF National President (2007-12 & 2015-18); past director Canada Ukraine Chamber of Commerce, and Ukrainian World Foundation.  

Currently director Metropolitan Andre Sheptytsky Institute Foundation. Member UNF Toronto, UWVA, and St. Joseph Ukrainian Catholic Parish. Married to Ulana Plawuszczak for 31 years; they have three children.  

Leslie B. Salnick (Public Service)

Leslie B. Salnick (nee: Oleksa Borislaw Tsaleniuk) was born in the mining town of Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada, on June 8, 1941. His family immigrated from Ukraine, Ivano-Frankivsk region and landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, on June 5, 1894 (128 years ago) and boarded a train directly to Wakaw, Saskatchewan. When his father Peter Salnick arrived in Kirkland Lake, he became a member of the Ukrainian National Federation. 

In 1946, the family moved to Toronto, Ontario. Leslie became a member of Dorist, Ukrainian National Federation (UNF). Later he attended Ukrainian school at the UNF on College Street.  Like his father Peter, Leslie has always been a proud member and supporter of the Ukrainian community in Canada.

1958-1960 – President of Ukrainian National Youth Federation, Toronto-West Branch.

2000-2012 – Member and secretary of the Board of Directors of National Executive Ukrainian National Federation of Canada.

2004-2012 – President of Board of Directors of The New Pathway Ukrainian Weekly.

2004 – Participated and contributed to The Ukrainian Canadian Congress International Observer Mission Ukraine Presidential Election and received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.

Over the past 18 years alone, Leslie has contributed in excess of $200,000 towards:

2004 – Purchased 300 place settings of dishes to set up the UNF Toronto Branch Trident Banquet Hall, when the federation moved from College Street to Evans Avenue.

2010 – Funded member transportation at the UNF of Canada convention in Montreal.

2015 – Donated to the Ukrainian Canadian Art Foundation / KUMF Gallery to support the Art Programme for children.

2018 – Was a major donor of the Holodomor Memorial in Toronto, Exhibition Place.

2022 – Donated to support a Military Autel Robotic for the Ukrainian Army.

2022 – Donated at the Platinum level to support the 50th Anniversary of UCC Ontario and the Inaugural Trillium Awards.

Les has been on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce since the mid-1990s, He travelled three times as part of CUCC trade delegations to Ukraine and is a staunch donor and patron of CUCC’s annual golf tournament.  Les Salnick is the Executive Vice President of Metrospot Marketing, Toronto.

Irene Shust-Dankowycz (Community Development)

Irena (Eerka) Shust-Dankowycz is a long-standing member of the Ukrainian Youth Association of Canada (UYA), where she has held many roles on local, national and international levels over the last 40 years.  Eerka has organized, coordinated, lead and managed many programs and projects within the organization. Her focus has always been working directly with young people.

Eerka developed her passion for working in the Ukrainian community as a young girl by watching her immigrant parents build up the Ukrainian-Canadian community through their volunteerism. The Ukrainian church and cultural centre, were her and her brother’s second homes growing up in Toronto. Eerka was raised believing helping one’s community is an integral part of daily life.

Eerka holds a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto and has been working as mathematics teacher at the secondary level for almost three decades.  Drawing on her experience as an educator, she creates and supports exciting and engaging youth initiatives which include summer camps, leadership seminars, counselor-in-training camps, student exchanges and other educational experiences for UYA members across Canada. She has been successful in helping youth gain a better understanding of their Ukrainian heritage and identity and realize their potential as contributing members of Canadian society. Her easy-going and fun-loving nature, make her an inspiration and mentor to many young people.  Her peers appreciate and admire her steadfast commitment to youth and to the Ukrainian community.

When travelling with her husband and daughter in or outside of Canada, Eerka always makes participation in a UYA camp,  or a visit to the local Ukrainian church or community centre part of their itinerary. When not volunteering, Eerka enjoys reading, cooking, relaxing at the cottage and entertaining friends and family.


Ukrainian Shumka Dancers (Culture and the Arts)

Established in Edmonton in 1959, Canada’s Ukrainian Shumka Dancers present dance-theatre touring productions across the country and around the world. Seen by millions on international broadcasts, the company has presented command performances for Queens, Prime Ministers, and Presidents, and have performed alongside the likes of Andrea Bocelli, Christopher Plummer, and Julie Andrews. Along with Alberta Ballet and Edmonton Opera, Shumka is proud to be a Resident Company of the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium. 

Over 60 years of performance history has shaped Shumka’s signature artistic style. While maintaining deep respect for their heritage, Shumka continually challenges conventional boundaries to define the experience of Ukrainian dance in the context of today’s society.

Collaborating with Canadian and Ukrainian composers, musicians, choreographers, and designers, Shumka has established a network of creative relationships that have resulted in several unique works, performed live and on film. Shumka has an extensive repertoire of original pieces including Shumka’s Nutcracker, Kobzar, Ancestors & Elders, and its work-in-progress based on the life and imagination of Lesia Ukrainka.

Shumka is currently touring Canada to mark its 60th anniversary with four works including Shumka’s whimsical Mosquito’s Wedding, a true feast for the eyes and a love story with a message that all we need is love; Shumka’s most recent film project – Promised Land – recognizing the 130th Anniversary of Ukrainian immigration to Canada; Echoes of Hopak, a salute to the past through a celebration of Shumka’s signature work; and My Yeh/We Are, a moving dance tribute to the conflict in Ukraine dedicated to long-time Shumka composer, Yuri Shevchenko who passed away in Kyiv on March 23.

The syllabus-based Shumka School of Dance has over 200 students training in ballet, character, and contemporary dance annually. As part of its educational outreach programs, Shumka also presents Student Matinee performances, annual Summer Dance Camps, and year-round Seniors movement classes.

Photo Credit: Ukrainian Shumka Dancers CLASSIC HOPAK; Ryan Parker Photography

Ukrainian National Federation (Community Development)

The Ukrainian National Federation of Canada came to life at a special convention of likeminded Ukrainian Canadians in Edmonton in July 1932:  The Ukrainian War Veterans Association (UWVA), The Ukrainian Women’s Organization of Canada (UWOC), The Ukrainian National Youth Federation (UNYF), and the Ukrainian National Federation (UNF) proper, collectively formed the “Ukrainian National Federation of Canada (UNF).  


To preserve, support and enhance the strong, vibrant and rich Ukrainian culture, language, and traditions in Canada on a non- partisan and non- sectarian basis, through dynamic programs, while continuing to contribute to multiculturalism of Canada and to the sovereignty of Ukraine  

UNF branches all over Canada are important community hubs and are a source of culture, camaraderie and education for thousands. 

For nine decades the UNF has been contributing to Canadian society. The UNF has played major roles in helping shape important Canadian policies, and continues to bring awareness to Ukrainian culture and the Ukrainian cause.  


UNF demands Canadian action regarding the Holodomor Genocide and liquidation of intellectuals. New Pathway is among the first media to report about the Holodomor in North America. 

The Ukrainian Canadian Cultural and Educational Centre (Osederok) is established by the UNF in Winnipeg. Choirs and Dance Programs established under direction of V. Avramenko and O. Koshetz across Canada. 

UNF becomes one of the founding members of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.  


UNF pushes to bring Ukrainian Displaced Persons, Forced Labourers and Concentration Camp victims to Canada successfully initiating the third wave of Ukrainian Immigration to Canada.  

UNF becomes a founding member and lead policy developer of the World Congress of Free Ukrainians (Ukrainian World Congress).  

UNF becomes a founding member of the Ukrainian Canadian Foundation of Taras Shevchenko. 


UNYF founding president, Senator Paul Yuzyk, pioneers the proclamation of The Multiculturalism Act the official recognition in 1971 of Canada as a multicultural country. 

1990’s and 2000’s  

UNF members established the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Program fostering a new generation of Ukrainian leaders 

2010 and 2020’s 

Participated in organizing community activities under the UCC’s euromaidan Canada initiatives in support of Ukraine.  Established the Together We Are Strong program to support families displaced by russia’s war in Ukraine.

2019 XXVI Triennial Congress Award Winners

To see a list of previous Congress awards winners, visit our website here