Between 1956 and 1980, around 900,000 immigrants from east-central Europe (mostly Poland, Hungary and Yugoslavia) were allowed to emigrate to Canada. Roughly 10,000 Ukrainians and Soviet Ukrainian Jews arrived from Poland and the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 80s. 

In 1980 protests by the Solidarność (Solidarity) Labour Movement, under Lech Wałęsa, resulted in martial law in Poland and another wave of people left the country. A new policy of forced emigration resulted in the most vocal and political Solidarity activists having to choose between arrest or leaving Poland. Between 1980 and 1981 immigration to Canada jumped from 1,185 to 3,850. In the next two years another 13,000 political refugees left Poland for Canada.

Like their predecessors, the Slavic people that have come to Alberta in the last few decades have made significant contributions to the communities where they settled. In St. Albert, Slavic connections to the church still continue to be strong and there remains a visible Polish presence. In 1994, Edmonton artist Bruno Stasiak carved sculptures of the Stations of the Cross for Holy Family Parish and in 2005, Father Mitch (Mieczysław) Fidyka became the pastor there. Following in the footsteps of the first Polish Oblates to serve the community, Father Andrzej Stendzina, OMI is now the pastor at the St. Albert Parish. Father Stendzina conducts many weddings and funerals for the Polish and Ukrainian descendants of the first immigrants. 


Solidarity demonstration in Warsaw, Poland, taken on August 31, 1984. Scanned from an 8×10, originally taken on 35 mm Ektachrome. Solidarność. Photograph by Thomas Hedden.