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Ukranians fleeing war
March 15, 2023

Ukrainians fleeing war help ease Manitoba’s labour shortage

As a long-time musician on cruise ships, Konstantin Rolyk was more used to holding a saxophone in his hands than a cement drill. But on this day, as the temperature hovers around -25 C in Winnipeg, Rolyk is working hard to get ready for the cement trucks scheduled to arrive and pour the foundation for the new residential apartments he is helping to build. 

“The job here is a chance to start your life again,” said Rolyk, 36, who arrived in Canada from Ukraine in November last year with his wife and two children. “It’s a new step. I’ve never worked this kind of position before.”

As the only breadwinner in his household, Rolyk said his job with S&J Construction means he and his family can survive in a new country. 

But what’s surprising is how high the stakes are for his foreman, Fillipo Rizutto, as well. 

“With the pandemic and everything, in the last few years we’ve had a labour shortage here in Winnipeg — especially with trades,” he said. 

    Rizutto explained that a regular crew should have 20 workers, but in recent years he’s typically been working with half that number. 

    That is until now. 

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