Canadian semi-postal to support Ukrainians issued today

Donations from sales to go to Canada-Ukraine Foundation

By Jesse Robitaille

Canada Post has issued its highly anticipated semi-postal stamp to support the people of Ukraine amid Russia’s renewed invasion of that country.

Unveiled on May 19 after more than two months of campaigning from the philatelic community, the issue includes a 10-stamp booklet plus an official first-day cover (OFDC), both featuring a colourful design originally issued in 2011 (Scott #2444) as part of that year’s four-stamp “Sunflowers” series. Canada Post will take $1 from each booklet sale and 10 cents from each OFDC sale for distribution through the Canada-Ukraine Foundation (CUF), a national charitable foundation based in Toronto. It marks the first time Canada Post has issued a stamp to support a country in need of humanitarian assistance.

Its with deep concern and compassion that Canadians have watched the devastating events unfolding in Ukraine, which have displaced millions of families,” Canada Post President and CEO Doug Ettinger said in May. With this special stamp, Canadians can stand with Ukraine and support the important efforts of the Canada-Ukraine Foundation and their Humanitarian Appeal.”

Postal officials chose to reissue the sunflower stamp with a new inscription, “Help for Ukraine/Aide à l’Ukraine,” as well as “+10” to denote the 10-cent surcharge for each stamp, to make the stamp “available sooner than would be the case with a new stamp.”

Under normal circumstances, creating, producing and distributing a new stamp is a lengthy process,” Canada Post media relations manager Valérie Chartrand told CSN in March after Vancouver stamp dealer Brian Grant Duff launched an online petition. “However, we are looking at ways to fast track our process given the urgency of the situation.”

Aside from the situation’s urgency, officials chose to recognize the sunflower “because it is the national flower of Ukraine and now a widely recognized symbol of peace and unity,” according to a statement Canada Post issued in May.

“The bright yellow flower can be seen throughout Ukraine; it also adorns the vinok, the traditional floral headdress.”

The semi-postal issue has been available for pre-order at since May 19 and will now be available at select post offices.

The need to support the people of Ukraine has never been greater as the unprovoked and indiscriminate attacks from Russia have led to catastrophic damage to infrastructure, killing of thousands of civilians including children, and millions of people displaced within and outside Ukraine,” said CUF President and CEO Orest Sklierenko, who met recently with Ettinger in the nation’s capital. The toll has been devastating and we are grateful to Canada Post and to every Canadian who offers support.”

Canada Post’s new semi-postal stamp (shown) features a reissued design originally produced by Montréal’s Isabelle Toussaint Design graphique in 2011.


The CUF launched its Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal in the weeks leading up to Russias renewed invasion of Ukraine this February.

While Russia first invaded Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, it escalated to full-scale attacks on other parts of the country via land, sea and air on Feb. 24. The funds regularly deliver aid both in Ukraine and to Ukrainians who have sought refuge in bordering countries, according to the CUF.

Within weeks, Canadians donated $30 million with more than 55,000 donations coming from large corporations, community fundraising events and individual donors.

With almost $10 million in aid delivered and committed, we know that the scale of Russias violent war on Ukraine will mean the need to support Ukraine for many months and years,” Sklierenko said in April. The Ukrainian Canadian community will be there to provide support and deliver much-needed aid to help with the largest humanitarian crisis in Europe since World War Two.”

The United Nations has estimated about 16 million Ukrainians need urgent humanitarian relief while nearly six million people have fled their homeland as of mid-May.

In Canada, nearly four per cent of the population – about 1.4 million people – can trace their roots to Ukraine. It’s the world’s second largest Ukrainian diaspora after Russia. Canada’s first wave of Ukrainian immigrants began arriving in the 1890s, and Canada was the first western nation to recognize Ukraines independence in 1991.

Duff, the owner of All Nations Stamp & Coin in Vancouver, launched a petition on March 6 to urge Canada Post to issue an emergency semi-postal to support refugees (“Petition asks Canada Post to issue emergency semi-postal,” CSN Vol. 46 #25). By the time of Canada Post’s announcement on May 19, the petition received more than 1,600 signatures.

Since the war’s outset, Canada Post has worked with MoneyGram to eliminate fees for people sending money to Ukraine. The Crown corporation also worked with its international partners to ensure mail from Canada continues to arrive in Ukraine.

Canada Post also lit its head office on Riverside Drive in Ottawa with the blue and yellow colours of Ukraines flag through the second half of May. It previously lit the building in March.


While the semi-postal for Ukraine features a reissued design – originally produced by Montréal’s Isabelle Toussaint Design graphique – there are several differences.

In addition to adding the Help for Ukraine” title and “+10” surcharge, the semi-postal’s “P” value (for Permanent) and country name have also been shifted from the top-right corner to the bottom.

The Ottawa-based security printer Lowe-Martin printed a new booklet and OFDC designed by artist Hélène L’Heureux, of Montreal. A total of 500,000 booklets (five million stamps) and 7,000 ODFCs were printed.

The OFDC is serviced with an Ottawa pictorial cancel featuring a stylized sunflower.

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