A spa in New Brunswick is helping Ukrainians displaced by war find comfort and careers in esthetics.
Krystel MediSpa in Dieppe is owned and operated by a Ukrainian couple, Alex Zabara and Olga Krystel, who moved to Canada five years ago, before the war with Russia began.
“Thank God we were not there when it happened but we feel really bad about all the people Ukrainians who have to suffer,” said Zabara.
The couple has gone to great lengths to hire displaced Ukrainian estheticians now living in Canada since the war broke out in February 2022.
“The Canadian government was really generous when they introduced the quiet visa. So what that means is that when Ukrainians come with that visa they automatically get their work permit for up to three years,” said Zabara.
“I think it is great. I think it is a good opportunity for them,” said Rachel Landry, a client at the spa.
The couple is also helping new hires seek temporary licensing to work at the spa in a field that flourished back home before the invasion.
“The beauty industry is very advanced in Europe and in Ukraine specifically so we thought it would be a good idea to have Ukrainians work with us to bring this knowledge to this area,” said Zabara.
Zabara said his business was recently designated by the federal government to be able to support Ukrainians in eventually becoming Canadian citizens and praises Canada for extending support for those fleeing their homeland.
“They love Canada,” he said, “So they want to stay here.”
The couple’s drive to help is expanding along with their business, which will move to a larger space this spring making room for more displaced Ukrainians to build a new life in Canada.
Olga Shafran and her family lived in Ukraine when the war broke out and decided to settle in Moncton, N.B., in October.
She was convinced she would never be able to work in her trade as an esthetician until she found her way to the spa.
Speaking through an interpreter she said the spa and the ongoing federal support give more Ukrainians who are still in the war zone a chance to come to Canada to work and start a new life.