The Ukrainian Self-Reliance League (USRL) of Canada or Союз Українців Самостійників у Канаді (CYC) was established in 1927.
The organization is founded on 4 pillars: Ukrainian Orthodox faith, Ukrainian culture, leadership and community.
Historically, the organization consisted of three sub-organizations: Ukrainian Women's Association of Canada (U.W.A.C.) or Союз Українок Канади which began in 1926, the Canadian Ukrainian Youth Association or Союз Україньскої Молоді Канади (CYMK) which began in 1931 and Ukrainian Self-Reliance Association (USRA) оr Товариство Укаїнців Самостійників (TYC) в Канаді which began in 1937.
The Ukrainian Self-Reliance League was always closely linked with the Ukrainian Greek-Orthodox (UGO) Church of Canada which was founded in 1918 and most often, branches of the USRL were formed in the church parishes. The official name of the UGO Church became the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada (UOCC) by an Act of Parliament on May 10, 1990.
USRL has always worked in support of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Canada but, as an organization, operates independently of the church.
USRL has played a key role in Ukrainian Canadian and Ukrainian Orthodox community. At a local level, the organization was involved and organized events and activities to provide its members and also parishioners with educational, recreational, cultural and faith-based activities. Many branches also reached out to their local or provincial communities to provide events which shared Ukrainian culture and traditions.
USRL also played a strong role in forming, organizing and running the Institutes which were organized to support and encourage education, especially post-secondary education: St. Petro Mohyla in Saskatoon founded in 1916, St. John’s Institute (originally called the M. Hrushevsky Institute) in Edmonton founded in 1919 , and St. Vladimir Institute in Toronto founded in 1963.
In 1936, the U.W.A.C. organized the Ukrainian Museum of Canada in Saskatoon and, over time, regional museums were established in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Toronto (1944) along with a museum collection in Calgary.
At the 61st USRL biennial convention held in 2019, changes to the by-laws were approved which reflect the current reality and needs of the organization. The focus is now to work more collaboratively across the organization through opportunities such as events, projects and activities that engage the entire community. Two important USRL goals are to encourage growth in the organization both locally and nationally and also to strengthen the USRL voice and presence in the general Canadian and particularly Ukrainian community.
USRL members have always had a strong commitment to the organization and have worked diligently in support of the organization and their parish communities. By focusing on developing USRL strengths based on the four organizational pillars: faith, leadership, culture and community, USRL will be well-positioned for the future.