April 28, 1944

National selective service programme, $11,002,429.


Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)


Hon. HUMPHREY MITCHELL (Minister of Labour):

Mr. Chairman, the committee have been given the latest information on the expansion of our armed services and have been brought up to date on the production of the materials and facilities for war.

Man-power is basic to all accomplishments, and my colleagues, I believe, will be the first to agree that the work of the Department of Labour is an integral part of the story of achievement which they have been privileged to tell.

In my opinion the true yardstick of a successful man-power policy is the degree to which the armed forces are mobilized for the job of fighting and the material resources organized for maximum output of munitions, food and all the other things necessary.

At the end of 1943 we had more men and women in our forces than at any previous time in our history. Despite this, production for war was on an unprecedented scale.

It must be realized that as new types of war equipment are required, or as the emphasis of military requirements changes, we must revise our man-power allocation to meet the new needs.

I have before me a table which shows that

5.057.000 or 57 per cent out of a total population of 8,820,000 aged fourteen and over were in the armed forces or at work at December 1, 1943. From the beginning of the war to that date there was a total increase of 1,317,000 or 35 per cent in the number at work or in the armed forces; from January 30 to December 1, 1943, we added 177,000.

Growth in the number of women in employment and in the services has been phenomenal, increasing from 638,000 in August, 1939, to

1.075.000 as of October 1, 1943, a gain of

437.000 in the four years.

The strength of our armed forces has gone up by 759,000 since war began; 124,000 joining the forces in the ten months ended December 1, 1943. The number of workers of both sexes in war industry alone was 1,104,000 at the same date.

We have arrived at our present position by constant adjustment of the selective service machinery capable of putting the most workable plans into effect.

Every effort has been made to bring into our man-power pool the skill and services of all our people. We had, as we know, a breathing space in the early months of the war. We were able to study the problems of man-power control, in which we had little experience on this continent. After the fall of France in the summer of 1940 Canada was looked to as an arsenal of supply in the battle for world freedom. Compulsory calls for military training were introduced. We took stock of our human resources through national registration. We buckled down to the task of augmenting our skilled man-power, notably through the war emergency training programme. Many other measures were adopted to effect a general mobilization of our industrial and man-power assets.

Selective service was introduced through orders in council which became effective on March 23, 1942. Under P.C. 2250 permits to enter certain classes of industries and occupations were required. P.C. 2251 stabilized employment in agriculture. These two orders in council were the basis of operation for two months.

P.C. 5038, passed in June 1942, ordered every person, male or female, regardless of age, to obtain a permit for any employment. There were a few minor exceptions to this broad rule.

In August, 1942, P.C. 7595 replaced P.C. 5038. Under this order:

Permits to seek and enter employment were required;

Employment could be terminated only on service of notice of separation;

Employers had to report vacancies;

A basis for a labour priority schedule was established.

Advertising for help was controlled. Compulsory direction of unemployed persons to employment came into effect.

Provisions were made for reinstatement in employment and supplementary allowances.

These selective service regulations continued in force until January 19, 1943, when the present order in council P.C. 246 took effect. This order consolidated all the selective service regulations relating to civilians, includ-ings those dealing with technical personnel and labour exit permits. Major developments in the regulations since then have been in the way of compulsory transfers of civilians.

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Selective service also was given authority to direct to any suitable employment persons who had been found unfit for service in the armed forces.

In September last, it was decided that no person employed in a "designated establishment" could leave his employment without the permission in writing of a selective service officer. Correspondingly, the employer could riot discharge an employee in such an establishment without permission. "Designated establishment" means an establishment which has been given an "A" or "B" labour priority rating.

Our major problem on the civilian side is to maintain an adequate working force in the high priority industries. The system of separation notices has done much to maintain man-power in war production.

The rules are not inflexible, being administered in a practical sense as a control rather than a prohibition. Where good reason for termination of employment either by employee or employer is shown, the selective service officer gives approval and an attempt is then made to place the worker in other high priority employment. In order that the local office may do the job assigned to it, it must have a complete picture of both supply and demand. It must have available information regarding all existing vacancies and knowledge of the men and women available to fill those vacancies. It then is in a position to make use of the labour priority schedule and continue the movement upward of available employees into the higher labour priority brackets.

During 1943 some 1,944,026 placements were made by our employment service offices.

The national selective service advisory board was reconstituted in March, 1943. No significant regulations concerning man-power are issued, without approval of this board. It is one of the major instruments for consultation and collaboration between government, employers, workers and farmers.

Next is the national selective service administration board, over which the director of national selective service presides. This board is composed of the associate directors of national selective service and carries the burden of the day-to-day administrative problems. As members of the administration board are also members of the advisory board, coordination of advisory and administrative functions is as complete as possible.

Decentralization has been provided for by the appointment of regional directors and regional national selective service advisory boards in Quebec, Ontario, the prairies and the Pacific. An advisory board for the maritimes will be constituted in due course.

These regional boards are under the chairmanship of the respective regional directors and include the chairmen of the mobilization board and the regional employment committee, the regional employment superintendent, one or more representatives of labour, representatives of the wartime prices and trade board and the Department of Munitions and Supply.

These boards act in an advisory capacity to the regional director in the same wTay that the national board assists the director of national selective service. To these boards I am adding representatives of the Departments of National Defence and Agriculture.

It was extremely fortunate that unemployment insurance was inaugurated in 1940 as this led to the creation of a national employment service. Thus we laid a solid foundation for our war-time man-power machinery. Up to 1940 there was no wholly dominion employment service. Now there are 242 offices in five regions across Canada, staffed by some 5,200 persons.

It is in the nature of things that complaints are given publicity, whereas the praises of our employment service are seldom heard. An incident comes to my mind which suggests the other side of the picture. It concerns the work of the Edmonton office. The American authorities called the manager of the local office one Saturday morning requesting 250 men for a construction camp to leave for Waterways on the following Monday. When the manager inquired what they wanted in the way of men, the reply was to the effect, "You know what we want-superintendent, foremen, carpenters, labourers, cooks, handymen-everything that goes to make up a camp, and we want them on the train Monday morning." When asked whom the men would be working for the reply was, "We don't know yet-you will have to coin a name for the contractor because we haven't let the contract yet or formed any company to handle it." To cut a long story short, the local manager got busy with two radios, sending out calls at intervals on Saturday afternoon and evening. He opened the office at 6 a.m. on Sunday, kept it open all day, opened again at 6 a.m. on Monday, arranged for a special train and at 11 a.m. on that morning the train pulled out for Waterways with 250 men on board.

When I addressed the committee in June last only two compulsory labour transfer orders had been issued and our experience in the problem of compulsory direction was limited. We have now seven orders which are applicable to every male person who has attained the age of sixteen years and has not attained the age of forty-one years. The orders issued to March 15 have involved an examination of the employment of no fewer

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than 99,453 individuals who have been personally interviewed. There have been 15,359 transfers. It is worth noting that very few of the 15,000 raised any objection and in the extremely few cases which did arise, forty or so in number, there were adjustments without having to resort to prosecution.

I do not mean to imply, Mr. Chairman, that national selective service regulations in general would be of value if there was not some power of enforcement behind them, but it was recognized that time should be given to allow for public education.

As of August 1, 1943, only a small number of prosecutions had been commenced. It was then decided to take a more serious view of instances of non-compliance and contraventions. A vigorous policy of enforcement has since been carried on.

At the present time, the machinery of the department includes an extended enforcement organization operating in our five regional divisions. From July, 1943, to the end of February of this year, 14,765 cases of reported contraventions were investigated and studied. Apart entirely from the number of actual prosecutions much constructive work is being accomplished in the adjustment of complaints and settlement of disputes.

It will be noted that the number of reported contraventions indicates that a very important work is being done in adjusting and settling disputes in the field, in fact over ninety-five per cent of the cases are settled without prosecution. The general acceptance of these wartime rules and restrictions by employer and employee alike indicates a spirit of cooperation on the part of the great majority of those affected.

Steps have been taken to protect the personal liberty of the individual against what might be felt to be an arbitrary ruling of a national selective sendee official. Any man who is directed by a selective service officer to leave his employment for higher priority work, or who is directed to remain in his present employment, or any person who is affected by the ruling, order or direction of a selective sendee officer, has the right of appeal to a court of referees.

These courts were originally established for hearing appeals regarding unemployment insurance benefits. They have an equal number of employer and employee representatives on them, with an impartial chairman, are constituted on a district basis, and are not subject to administrative control. The result is that an appeal is heard by a court whose members are familiar with labour conditions in the district. Here is democracy in action. These courts have heard over 2,500 appeal cases up

[Mr. Mitch ell.l

to the 31st March, 1944. Considering the tremendous volume of work which has fallen upon selective service officers it is of considerable significance that such a small number of their decisions have been appealed. The fact that less than one-third of the total number of appeals heard were allowed, is also strongly indicative of the soundness with which selective service officers have made directions, rulings and orders.

I should like now to deal with the specific branches, particular problems and achievements of the Department of Labour's wartime activities.

Women's division. I am glad to record here the magnificent part played by the women of Canada in all phases of our war effort. They have come forward voluntarily to accept all kinds of work at a rate and with a spirit that is nothing short of spectacular.


Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government


They do not always get enough credit for it, though.


Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)



I would agree with my hon. friend, and would go further. I speak more particularly now of Great Britain, where I have seen how it has worked out, but I do not think we could win this war without the women. I believe the contribution being made by the women of Great Britain and Canada is perhaps a little better than that of the men. I may be criticized for making that statement; nevertheless, I believe it.


Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government


Excepting the contribution of the armed forces, you are on pretty safe ground there.


Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)



This has released much

man-power for the armed forces and for essential industry. As I stated earlier it is estimated that on October 1, 1943, 1,075,000 women were gainfully employed in Canada as compared to

638.000 in August, 1939. In addition, there are over 760,000 women-wives and daughters of farmers-who are supplementing the work of men to maintain the high record of farm production. Each year these women have taken on more and more of the farm work in addition to their work for the home and family, at a great sacrifice of time and energy. It is, of course, in war industry that we have seen the greatest expansion in the employment of women. In June, 1941, there were

40.000 women so employed. By September 30, 1943, that number had increased to 235,000 to keep pace with the heavy and varied demands of war production. This large employment of women in a thousand different industrial plants has created problems of its own in connection with work conditions. The provincial governments, as members know, have jurisdiction over conditions of work for

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women. Therefore we maintain close cooperation with provincial departments of labour with respect to such matters; and frequent discussions are held with employers concerning adequate welfare service for their employees. As a result many new services and improvements in accommodation have resulted.

Last year it became necessary to make an appeal to women who ordinarily would not be seeking employment. It was recognized that many such women might be able to accept only part-time employment, either part of each day or part of a week. So that employers had to be encouraged to make greater use of the part-time worker. As shortages developed in one area after another the Local Council of Women or the Women's Institute sponsored a campaign appealing to women to take full-time or part-time employment.

No such appeal was made in any area where it was not urgently required. Acute situations developed in Hamilton, Peterborough, Ottawa, Toronto, Halifax, Edmonton, St. Catharines, Welland, and in every instance the required objective was reached. These appeals not only secured many additional full-time workers; they also established the part-time worker as an integral and valuable part of our wartime man-power resources. As a result I am glad to be able to say that in all industrial centres the labour situation was very materially improved.

The entry, within two years, of nearly

200,000 women into war industry alone has had the effect, of course, of creating a shortage of help in other industries and services in which women workers have always predominated. One of these is hospital service. Our hospitals are crowded to their limit and more nurses are being employed than ever before. The non-professional personnel in hospitals has been augmented; and the number of student nurses in training is the largest in our history. Hotels and restaurants have absorbed thousands of new women workers; and we have been hard pressed to supply the labour requirements of laundries and dry cleaning establishments to enable them to take care of the needs of the armed forces as well as of their regular customers.

During the past year, the women's divisions of the employment offices have been augmented to deal more adequately with the great numbers of women passing through them. By means of intensive training, the quality of the work of our officials is steadily improving; and we are, I believe, now giving better service both to the woman applicant and the employer.

One of our problems has been the care of children during the days when their mothers

are at work. Under the terms of agreements with the provinces, day nurseries have been expanded and increased in number to twenty-six. In Ontario the day care of school children outside of school hours has been developed to a considerable degree and units now approved are capable of providing for 1,700 children.

Farm Labour. Last year I pointed out that with fewer people on the farms during each successive year of the war, farmers had pushed the production of vitally needed food to higher levels. This record of our farm people was repeated in 1943. This meant working longer and harder each day. Results have been clearly revealed this past winter in the huge deliveries of live stock and live stock products to markets and processing houses.

Doctor G. S. H. Barton, deputy minister of agriculture, recently stated:

In the course of the last four years Canada has increased the agricultural output by 50 per cent in spite of a reduction of 23 per cent in man-power.

He also gave the following figures with regard to quantities of agricultural products shipped to Great Britain during 1943.


588,000,000 lbs.Cheese

129,741,000 lbs.Eggs (.powdered)

34,743,510 lbs.

This exertion by the farm people themselves when under normal circumstances they work so hard, has been the major factor in overcoming the labour shortage. Because of a full recognition of this fact, we derive much satisfaction in that the plans which were put into effect in 1943 provided additional help for them. The results of our efforts to meet the farm man-power shortage were due to the co-operation of every provincial government in Canada working in partnership with the Department of Labour through dominion-provincial farm labour agreements.

The provincial departments of agriculture field staffs with the local farm committees organized by them have been indispensible to the successful execution of the plans of our employment service. These agreements provide for the sharing of expenses on a dollar for dollar basis for active programs in each province to recruit, transport and place help on the farms. Each of these programs is directed by an officer who is a joint employee of both governments.

Early in December last, we called these men and other senior officials to Ottawa for a conference on farm labour. Our purpose was to consider what progress had been made in 1943 and what improvements we could make in respect to the plans for 1944. It was

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clearly evident at this conference that the working arrangements with the Department of Labour were harmonious and satisfactory.

Hon. members from one province will be familiar with the term "emergency farm labour service," in other provinces it is "farm help service," or "farm service force", or "farm labour bureau." These organizations, Mr. Chairman, represent our farm labour agreements in action.

In British Columbia last year more than

11,000 people registered with the dominion-provincial emergency farm labour service to help on farms. On the prairies the dominion-provincial farm labour organizations transferred hundreds of workers from point to point within each province and organized and distributed harvest help.

In Ontario the farm service force, operating under the dominion-provincial agreement reports nearly 100,000 placements of workers on farms in 1943.

The farm labour bureau was formed in Quebec under the agreement for the purpose of tapping every possible source of help and placing this help on farms.

In the maritime provinces the dominion-provincial farm labour organization helped to recruit labour for dairy and live stock farms, organized local sources of help for haying, potato and fruit-picking and distributed this help to those farms where it was most needed.

One of the most valuable features of the farm labour programme has been the financial assistance in transporting workers to their places of employment on farms. The Department of Labour paid the costs of interprovincial movement of labour and shared equally with each province the cost of transporting labour within the province. This plan greatly increased the mobility of farm labour.

During the 1943 season three large-scale excursions of farm workers were organized. Women and girls were recruited in Alberta and transported at public expense for berry picking in the Fraser valley in British Columbia. Early in July over 700 Saskatchewan farmers were brought down to Ontario to help with haying and early harvest. These men remained on Ontario farms until late in August when they returned to Saskatchewan for their own grain harvest. This excursion should be noted by our historians. We have been accustomed to organizing harvest excursions to the prairies, but we have no knowledge of their ever before having been put in reverse. This project was an outstanding success and proved a most valuable source of outside help to the hard-pressed farmers

in Ontario. The Ontario farmers were grateful. They expressed their thanks to the people of the west by acting, not merely by words.

When harvest help was badly needed on the prairies in September, more than 5,000 farmers and farm workers from Ontario offered their services. Over 3,700 actually made the trip. More could have gone, but when our farm labour officials' on the prairies called "Halt, enough", no more applicants were sent out. We have been told that never before has such a good class of man been sent out on a harvest excursion.

We received splendid assistance during the past season from members of the three armed forces. In September and October more than

15,000 men from the army, the air force and the navy helped to take off the crops in all parts of the country. Men from the army, which made up about 11,000 of this number, were supplied in two ways. The majority were granted compassionate leave to return to their own farms or those of immediate relatives. The second source of help from the army was from men supplied through the farm duty plan. Under this plan, which to my knowledge was developed for the first time, men were detailed under military discipline for work on farms. About 2,500 men were made available and worked in all parts of Canada, the majority being employed by farmers in the prairie and maritime provinces.

Last session my colleague the Minister of National Defence for Air stated rather bluntly that he "was not training an air force to go farming". I am glad to say that the natural generosity of his disposition could not for long be suppressed, because he did authorize the issuing of an order providing up to six weeks harvest leave for certain personnel in the air force. A total of 4,326 men were granted leave under this order. All provinces benefited.

Through a special arrangement made by provincial agricultural officials and the federal departments concerned, more than 600 sailors from Deep Brook, Nova Scotia, assisted with apple-picking in the Annapolis valley. This proved a most useful source of help during a critical emergency and the work done by the sailors was greatly appreciated by the apple growers in the valley.

There has been a great deal of discussion about men called from farms to serve in the army. Later on I will table an analysis of postponements in effect at the end of January, 1944, by mobilization divisions and by industries.

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Out of a total of 246,133 for all industries, 142,400, or about 58 per cent, represent the number of farm workers on postponement. This large number of postponements given to farm workers, I am sure hon. members will agree, is tangible proof of the favourable treatment given to agriculture by the mobilization boards.

That our efforts respecting postponements of military service for essential farm workers are appreciated is illustrated in the following unanimous resolution which has recently come to hand:

The Ontario Concentrated Milk Producers' Association wish to state their appreciation of the efforts of the federal selective service in making it possible for experienced farm help to obtain deferment privileges and thus remain on the farms.

The farm people, even with their reduced members, have not remained satisfied with having achieved the greatest food production in our history. Last fall, and early winter, thousands of farmers, farmers' sons, and other farm workers, responded to our appeal for help and moved to the woods, mines, food processing plants, and other essential industries. We appealed only to those who could be spared from their farms during the winter and they were given other work on the understanding they would be released in the spring to return to their farms. This principle was emphasized in extensive publicity conducted as part of the recruiting campaign.

Assistance given by these farmers greatly eased the labour shortage in many industries. Cooperation of provincial field men and local committees made possible a more thorough checking to see that farmers needed on their farms during the winter remained there; also' through this assistance we have a much more complete record of those entering other industries. .

The return of these men to their farms is now practically completed. Because of a late spring season in certain areas some permits were extended, after consultation with provincial departments concerned, until May 1. The vast majority of farm workers have returned to the farms of their own accord. Only in a very few cases was it necessary to follow up on the cancellation of permits.

We shall avail ourselves of every possible source of help for farm work during the coming season. Extensive plans are under discussion with the Department of National Defence. Already special spring farm-leave orders, authorized by the Department of National Defence (army and air), are resulting in a large number of men being granted temporary leave to assist with seeding operations.

Selective service officers stationed at military reception centres now interview all men rejected or discharged from the armed services, with a view to referring suitable men to farms. In industrial plants where lay-offs are occurring, those experienced in agriculture are as a matter of policy laid off second only to those suitable for military service.

During the past few weeks officials of the Department of Labour have visited all the provinces to discuss the renewal of dominion-provincial farm labour agreements. Every province is anxious to continue agreements and confidence seems high in the provinces that this year's problems will be handled effectively. We feel that the successful experience of 1943 which was really our pioneer year in an all-Canada programme to meet the farm labour problem will enable us to do a better job in 1944.

Lumbering and Logging Employment. For some time, it will be recalled, there has been a pronounced labour shortage in the lumbering and logging industry. The situation has been met in various ways.

As usual, the industry, east of the Rockies, drew the major portion of its labour in the peak winter season from agricultural workers. But west of the Rockies, where a more highly skilled type of labour is called for, most of the woods labour had to be secured from other sources. Labour shortages were met by men transferred from agriculture and from other industries; by men granted special leave from the army; by postponement of military service; by the employment of enemy aliens, and prisoners of war and conscientious objectors.

Transfers from less essential industries have been effected both on a voluntary basis and as a result of compulsory employment transfer orders.

To March 15, 1944, 869 workers were transferred to lumbering and logging by such orders. .

Over a year ago the Department of National Defence arranged to grant three months' leave of absence to army personnel having previous logging and lumbering experience in British Columbia, to return to such employment in that province. The duration of the leave was subsequently extended to six months and leave is now granted for this period and is subject to renewal for further six months' periods at the discretion of military authorities.

Interned aliens have been used on reforestation and fire control work in Ontario and British Columbia; Japanese have been engaged on actual logging and lumbering operations in Ontario and in the interior of British Columbia; sendees of prisoners of war have been utilized in labour camps. They

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have been used extensively in Ontario, Quebec, and in the west, in logging and lumbering operations and also in fuel wood cutting.

Conscientious objectors have also been directed into logging and lumbering operations.

Through the steps mentioned and as the result of an extensive campaign undertaken by national selective service in conjunction with the provincial government officials and the industry a greater number of men were employed in woods operations since the end of November than a year ago.

Because of the many small operators and the fact that farm workers may enter employment in the woods for less than sixty days without a permit, it is difficult to obtain an exact record of the total number of men employed in the industry at any given time. However, we know from the records of the local employment and selective service offices that, during the period from October to December 1943, there were over 7,000 more placements than last year. During the first five weeks of this year, there have been some

6,000 more placements than in the corresponding period of 1943.

The reports we have received from the pulp-wood committee of the pulp and paper industry of Canada further substantiate the conclusion that there are more workers engaged in woods this year than last.. East of the Rockies there were nearly 9,000 more men employed on February 26 of this year than at the same time last year.

In the fall of 1943 the timber control estimated that lumber production for the year 1944 would be about 5 per cent less than in 1943. In view of war demands, this was a serious situation. It now appears that Canadian lumber production this year will equal the 4,630,000,000 feet produced in 1943. A similar improvement has taken place in respect to pulpwood production. Whereas a decrease in production as compared with the previous cutting season had been anticipated, this winter's production will record an increase of 3 per cent to 4 per cent.

In the fuel wood branch of woods operations, the situation has been satisfactory. Sufficient fuel- wood has been cut to satisfy the needs. The mild weather was an easing factor.

Shiploading Operations-Halifax. In the last year we have met the increasing demands made at Halifax on our shiploading facilities. It had become increasingly apparent that the turn-round period of ships would have to be shortened to keep pace with the rising tempo of ship movements. It was realized that a speed-up in loading would in effect amount to an increase in the actual number of ships

[Mr. Mitchell.!

available. Following an investigation made in 1942 a wartime reorganization plan was put into effect in May of that year, and has been adjusted and improved as occasion necessitated. A controller of loading operations was appointed vested with complete authority to coordinate the activities of all agencies directly or indirectly engaged in shiploading.

A new method of hiring longshoremen, through a central despatching agency, was put into effect regularizing the method of hiring and providing a permanent gang system.

But that could not of itself overcome a constant over-all shortage of men caused by enlistments and the drift to war industries. Therefore selective service regulations were amended to provide for the return to the docks of ex-longshoremen, for the "freezing" of the existing personnel, and for .making other men available by specific directed transfer to longshore work.

A longshoremen's reserve pool was then set up, each man required to report to any longshore work to which he was dispatched, or to any other type of work in Halifax to which he might be directed, or to longshore work in any other port in Nova Scotia or New Brunswick. Provision was made for all longshoremen registered at the dispatching agency and in the reserve pool to receive a guaranteed minimum weekly wage based on a forty-eight hour working week at daytime rates.

By arrangement with the Minister of Transport, bunkhouse accommodation was secured for five hundred men who were recruited by national selective service and a staff engaged under the direction of a pool superintendent.

Night work has hitherto been very unpopular ; but by setting up a system of regular gangs and their rotation as between day and night work, an increase in night work has been obtained. This will increase with the opening shortly of a Government operated canteen at the north-end terminals provided particularly for night workers.

The supply of labour has been stabilized; there is a considerable improvement in the system of hiring; and the previous wasteful turnover of labour has been reduced.

By a recent arrangement with the Department of National Defence, port companies are to be useed at peak-load periods when civilian labour supply is insufficient.

The situation is under constant review, of course, as conditions are not static.

Prisoners of war and Japanese.-A special problem handled by the department is that of utilizing the labour of prisoners of war, on

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essential work projects outside internment camps. This has been chiefly in fuel wood, pulpwood, and lumbering operations, and to a lesser extent, in agriculture. Other projects using prisoners of war labour include a tannery and a company cutting peat fuel.

There were approximately 4,117 prisoners of war working on such projects outside internment camps at March 9. The prisoners employed in woods operations are, for the most part, working in groups of forty to sixty men in camps of private operators. Guards on the projects have been chiefly provided by the veterans' guard.

A number of prisoners of the civilian type such as German merchant seamen have been individually placed with farmers. It is the intention to extend the use of prisoners in agricultural work during the course of the current year so far as reasonably possible, consistent with security requirements.

Employers have, in general, been well satisfied with the work of the prisoners, and in many instances have later asked for an increased number.

The major administrative problem involved in putting prisoners to work is that of security. Where the percentage of guards in relation to prisoners is high, there is nothing gained in the productive use of man-power. Some risks as to escapes have therefore to be accepted in putting prisoners to work. Escapes have, however, been few in number and in every instance, the prisoners have been picked up within a short time.

The policy followed by the department, in close cooperation with the Department of National Defence, is one of careful selection of prisoners coupled with the use of sufficient guards to ensure discipline and control and to maintain a guard patrol on the project.

The hon. member for York West (Mr. Adamson) inquired some time ago as to the base rates paid to prisoners of war and the regulations under the Geneva convention which cover this.

Prisoners of war are paid under "Convention relative to the treatment of prisoners of war," which was concluded at Geneva on July 27,1929.

After reference to the imperial prisoners of war committee the rates paid to prisoners of war in Canada were fixed by order in council in accordance with chapter 5, article 34, of this convention.

The Canadian rate is 50 cents per day; the United States rate is 80 cents per day; the British rate is one shilling per day.

The British Columbia security commission, which handled evacuation of 21,000 Japanese nationals and Japanese-Canadians in 1941, was

dissolved early in 1943, and the powers of the commission reverted to the Minister of Labour acting through a commissioner stationed on the ground.

The labour department's objective for 1943 was to place the employable men and women in useful work where they were most needed in Canada, to provide adequate welfare for the unemployables, and to provide at least a minimum Canadian education for the children.

Special emphasis has been placed on reallocation of Japanese, both singly and in family groups, to areas where essential industries have urgent labour shortages.

By the end of 1943, there w'ere 4,000 Japanese in self-supporting employment in British Columbia (including women and children), 4,700 on the prairies, and 3,000 in eastern Canada, these totals in each case including a few hundred who were there prior to Pearl Harbor. Thus approximately one-half of the Japanese in Canada were supporting themselves at useful labour in various parts of Canada at the end of 1943.

During 1943, there were approximately 4,700 Japanese working on sugar beets in Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario, an increase of 1,000 over the preceding year.

About 600 Japanese have been employed in lumber camps in' British Columbia and approximately the same number in woods operations in Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario. The latter were transferred from farms and will return to farming this spring.

Japanese in the settlements of British Columbia have produced 35,000 cords of fuel wood, of w'hich 20,000 cords have been shipped to Vancouver, also 1,700,000 board feet of lumber and a variety of other wood products.

There also are at least 2,000 more Japanese men and women scattered from British Columbia to Quebec-as railway section hands, fish and vegetable and fruit canners, domestics, and cooks, factory and office workers, dry cleaners, tanners, and so on.

With few exceptions, the Japanese in Can ada, especially the Japanese Canadians, who are seventy-five per cent of the total number, are working industriously and causing no trouble.


Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)



I do not know. I could only give an off-the-record-guess.


Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)



None at all. The Department of Labour plans in 1944 to apply selective service direction more fully to the

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employable Japanese not yet in essential industry, thereby also accelerating the reallocation programme.


Howard Charles Green

National Government


Could the minister give us the general policy of the department with regard to the Japanese?


Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)



If my hon. friend will

wait until I have finished this little digression, the sky is the limit and I will answer what he wants to ask me.

Coal mining. The situation of the coal mining industry was declared to be a national emergency in May, 1943, and last June the steps taken to that time to solve this situation were outlined to you. Since then our efforts have been continuous.

With the cooperation of the Department of National Defence, employment and national selective service officers have made every effort to locate soldiers in the army in Canada with coal mining experience, who could be spared from army duties. As a result, 2,144 were on leave from the army to work in the coal mines as of March 15, 1944.

Last May, order in council P.C. 4092 was passed, and directed that men with coal-mining experience then engaged in other industry, and who were physically fit, should be returned to the mines. They were exempted from military service until February 1, 1944, and, in fact, prohibited from enlisting voluntarily. P.C. 121 of January 10, 1944, has extended the effect of this order until August 1, 1944.

Up to March 15, 2,270 men were referred to the mines under these orders. A further 485 workers have been referred to coal mines under other orders. (P.C. 4861 and 6077).

There remains a demand for highly skilled miners to work at the face of the mines, particularly in the maritimes, but until such time as they are obtained the need for unskilled workers has been met.

After long negotiations training classes to provide skilled workers at the coal face will, it is anticipated, be started in the near future in the maritimes under the war emergency training programme. It is hoped this programme will develop and that it will provide a number of the required certificated miners.

Gold Mining. During 1943, an acute manpower situation developed in the gold mining industry. This was due to the fact that in 1942 it was necessary to curtail gold mining in order to ensure man-power for the mining and production of more essential metals and minerals, nickel particularly.

In 1941, the average number of employees in the gold mining industry was 33,348. In 1942 the average dropped to 26,501. In 1943

fMr. Mitchell.]

there was a further drop to 18,320. At the end of 1943 there were only about 16,000 men employed in the gold mining industry, a drop of 52 per cent from the 1941 average.

In September, 1943, the gold mining industry claimed that this labour loss had caused operations to fall considerably below the economic point, and that essential maintenance work was being neglected. It was represented to the Department of Labour that if the situation continued, some of the mines would be forced to close down entirely, and thus jeopardize future operations.

In October, 1943, a survey of the gold mines was made by selective service to determine the minimum number of men needed to keep each mine in operation. On the basis of the report, I approved a temporary change in the labour priority of gold mines to permit the hiring of 800 men not immediately required for high priority jobs.

In certain industries ' and occupations, notably flour mills, meat-packing and cold storage plants, replacement of trained and able-bodied male help by female workers and older men had proceeded to such an extent that it had the effect of creating a demand for more able-bodied male workers.

At August 28, 1943, there were 12,276 male and female workers on the payrolls of Canadian packing plants. There existed an almost immediate demand for another 4,000 male employees. At December 4, the payrolls had increased to 16,300. The employment service had found 4,024 more W'orkers for this industry.

The parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Finance on February 29, 1944, stated:

During the first 8 weeks of 1944 the inspected packing plants in Canada have slaughtered 780,000 more hogs, 50,000 more cattle, 10,000 more calves and 30,000 more sheep and lambs than in the corresponding *weeks of 1943. These figures represent an increase of 80 per cent in hogs, 50 per cent in cattle, 20 per cent in calves and 35 per cent in sheep and lambs.

We have supplied workers for flour and feed mills to enable increased shipments of flour overseas and to meet a shortage of feed for live stock in Canada.

During the past eighteen months the staffs of coal merchants, especially in large centres, became depleted to a point where drastic action became necessary' to assure coal deliveries to householders. An order was issued temporarily halting calls to military service, and a special effort made to provide more men. By the end of November the situation had cleared.

The primary textile industry has received special attention. An officer was loaned to the industry to survey the mills and to direct the

War Appropriation-Labour

recruiting campaign for labour. Enough workers were found to assure the output of supplies directly required for military needs, but the civilian supply has been necessarily curtailed. Production for civilian needs is now being stepped up and plans adopted to provide for the current year.

To meet the labour shortage in tanneries, special campaigns were conducted and a supply of men made available from prisoner-of-war camps.

Agricultural labour available for release from the farms following the harvest was also transferred to essential civilian industries, and this relieved a serious shortage. These men are being returned to agriculture this spring, thereby creating a demand for labour to fill the vacancies.

Many civilian industries not classed as essential, but nevertheless of primary importance, have maintained production in many instances by the use of female labour working part time.

War industries: construction and transportation, base metals-My colleague, the Minister of Munitions and Supply has given you figures on shipbuilding, aircraft building and products of munition plants.

Our war production is delivered not only to Canadian forces at home and abroad but is going to Britain, the United States, India, Africa, China, Russia, Australia, New Zealand and the south Pacific.

Canada ranks fourth amongst the united nations as a producer of munitions with a weekly output, of more than $55 million worth of munitions.

By the end of 1943 Canada had produced more than 10,000 planes; 600,000 motor vehicles; 750 escort, cargo and patrol ships; vast quantities of chemicals and explosives, and millions of dollars worth of signals equipment and instruments. All of this has meant supplying and using to the best possible advantage, man and woman power.

To attain this objective it was necessary to develop a close liaison between the Departments of Labour and Munitions and Supply. As changes in the production programme were made, shifts in man-power had to be made.

It is true that we never attained a position where every vacancy was filled. Nevertheless, it can be said that the various programmes were not seriously impeded by shortage of man-power. In fact the production figures prove this to be correct. Since September, 1943, the demands have lessened somewhat, although there are shortages for strong labourers who can do heavy manual work and also for skilled mechanics.

The requirements of the base metal mining industry have been very heavy and were particularly difficult to fill in view of the fact that the men required were necessarily of good physique and most of this type are in the armed forces. This necessitated the constant combing of other industries for the essential men required by the mines. Special campaigns of various kinds were inaugurated to keep the working forces of the mines at the necessary levels. Particular attention was given to the needs of the nickel mines.

At the close of the 1943 season large numbers of farm labourers were supplied to the International Nickel Company, Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company, the Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Company, and Sher-ritt Gordon Mines Limited, and to other base metal mines.

The development of the iron deposits at Steep Rock lake in Ontario was pushed forward during the year. This project necessitated draining lakes, driving large tunnels through rock for considerable distances, making new railway facilities and developing loading machinery. A river has been diverted that required at the peak of this project a labour force of one thousand men.

It should be appreciated that this undertaking involving the employment of thousands of workers has been carried on as a special task in the midst of war, and that all of this labour has been supplied through a system of labour controls and priorities. Generally production was maintained at high levels, this being due largely to the excellent cooperation between management and workers.

Shortages of men in the construction industry were partially met by transfer of thousands of workers to the more important construction projects. Demands were mainly for strong unskilled men.

Many large projects were completed on or near to their scheduled dates, as for example, the synthetic rubber plant at Sarnia.

The labour needs of rail, water and road transportation systems also were heavy during the peak months of summer and early fall. We did our best to meet them. The Department of National Defence cooperated and lent soldiers for urgent track maintenance. Some Italian prisoners of war were also used.

Special drives were made to obtain lake seamen during their off-season, and by arrangements made that these men returned for the reopening of navigation.

There is still a shortage of workers on combat aircraft, ship and aircraft repair, and for highly skilled workers in other lines. There are also insistent calls for both common labour and partially skilled labour.

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Lay-offs. The matter of lay-offs in war industries has come to the fore in recent months. As the war progresses, changes in production programmes and the curtailment in production of certain supplies necessarily involve cancellation of some contracts and changes in others.

Early in November last it was announced that such changes would make it necessary to lay off a considerable number of workers in various plants. The employment service studied the situation. Arrangements were rapidly made to have these lay-offs effected in an orderly manner with a minimum of time loss in transferring workers to other jobs.

As a general policy it was decided that all those men who were on military deferment should be called for the army unless they were considered to be indispensable to industry. '

Further it was decided that the order in Which workers were to be laid off should be:

(1) those with previous agricultural experience, particularly dairy farming and stockraising;

(2) workers who were needed in other high priority industries in the same vicinity;

(3) workers required by outside high priority industries, and who could be moved;

(4) young workers without family obligations and

(5) married women if their husbands were supporting them.

Up to the present, lay-offs have been considerably less than anticipated. This is largely due to new contracts being placed. I have in mind a certain lay-off which was being carried out at a steel plant. Before the layoff had been completed a new order came for overseas account which required the reemployment of more men so that overnight the "lay-off" problem changed to one of finding additional staff.


Mark Cecil Senn

Progressive Conservative


Has the minister the figures showing the number of agricultural workers laid off, or does he not care to give them at this time?


Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)



I will make a note of the question and endeavour to get the information.

Wartime bureau of technical personnel'. There has continued to be a short supply of technically trained personnel and the work of the wartime bureau of technical personnel, which was set up in February, 1941, has thus remained of primary importance.

A large proportion of the requirements of the armed services and war and essential industries have in fact been met. This has been accomplished very largely through the efforts of the bureau.

The bureau, acting in an advisory capacity, has succeeded in many instances in assisting those in need of the services of engineers and scientists and also in advising individual technical personnel how the national interest might best be served.

By the use of the employment permit system the bureau contributes largely in directing technical personnel to high priority industries and in securing a high degree of stability of employment.

Working in close cooperation with the universities, the bureau has through the administration of the university science students regulations assisted materially in ensuring that university students in science faculties make the best use of their training period.

Upon graduation, the bureau has dealt effectively with the question of their allocation as between the armed forces and industry and as between industries.

War emergency training (Canadian vocational training). The war emergency training programme has been in operation since April, 1940.

Up to the end of March, 1944, approximately

12,300,000 man-days training have been given at a cost of about $20,000,000.

The gross enrollment of full-time and parttime trainees was 333.458. Of these 134,534 were full-time preemployment industrial trainees, 102,357 of whom are known to have been placed in employment prior to March 31, 1944.

Of all full-time industrial trainees, thirty-one per cent have been women, but during the present fiscal year the percentage of women has been raised to forty-six per cent.

As the demand of war industry and the armed forces for tradesmen diminishes, steps are being taken to adapt the training centres to provide rehabilitation training along vocational lines for men and women discharged from the forces. The Department of Pensions and National Health has asked the Department of Labour to assume responsibility for training of this type.

It is anticipated that a large percentage of rehabilitation training will be given in industrial or commercial establishments in those occupations for which training cannot be given in any preemployment centre.

War Appropriation-Labour

An order in council was passed on January 21, 1944, making provision for the first time for dominion financial assistance to approved apprenticeship plans to be carried on by the provincial governments under apprenticeship acts. This is to provide for long term training in apprenticeships lasting at least two years and should prove of valuable assistance in helping to reestablish discharged members of the forces.

Special Placements. Many men and women are working today at jobs which at one time they might have thought themselves physically incapable of filling. A special placements division of the employment service was set up for the purpose of:

(1) Promoting efforts to place physically handicapped men and women in suitable employment, and

(2) Assisting in the placement of handicapped persons who have been trained by the vocational training branch of the department, or by other approved agencies.

A study is now being made of approved methods in use in other countries so as to provide our employment offices with practical information which will enable them to give the best possible advice to young people entering employment for the first time.

Wages policy. Wage rates in Canada to-day are at an all-time high level. They are considerably higher, in fact, than in 1920, when the cost of living was at the peak as a result of the first world war.

The wage rate index in 1920, the previous high in the pre-war history of the index, was 112-7. (Based on 100 for 1935-1939 average.) The index for 1942 was 127-5. While the index for 1943 has not yet been definitely determined, I do not hesitate to predict that it will show an advance over 1942.

It must also be remembered that the wage index does not give the complete picture. Overtime pay and bonuses have to be added.


Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)



That is quite true. I learned that to-day to my sorrow. If we have to pay taxes to win the war I do not care if they take everything off me.

The number earning has also greatly increased, as is shown by the fact that the employment index rose from 113-9 in 1939 to 184-1 in 1943. (At December 1943 the index stood at 190-6.)


John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative


What was the basis? What year was taken at 100?


Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)



I have not that with me. I shall take a note of it and look it up for my hon. friend.

In 1939 the total wages and salaries paid amounted to 2-55 billions of dollars. In the following years the totals rose steadily until in 1943 the figure of 4-7 billions of dollars was reached. (Source of figures-Dominion Bureau of Statistics.)

Since the outbreak of war, vacations with pay have been introduced, covering an aggregate of 600,000 employees.

Group insurance plans have been authorized in the ease of 1,717 employers and covering 443,854 employees, while wage incentive plans have been approved covering some 30.000 workers.

Permission has been given to pay war risks bonus to crew members of vessels operating in dangerous waters.

I wish to emphasize that these improvements in the w-age position of a large number of workers have taken place within the framework of the government's policy of controlling inflationary processes.

The flexibility in the government's wage stabilization policy is further illustrated by the records of the war labour boards, which since their inception to November, 1943, have dealt with 43,535 applications, covering more than three million employees under the wartime wages control orders. Of these applications, 36,829 were granted in full; 3,005 were granted in part and 3.701 were denied. Of these 43,535 applications, no less than 29,010, involving 906,182 employees, were requests to the boards for increases in wage rates. The wage applications granted involved an annual increase in employees' wages of nearly $100,000,000 a year. In addition, 3,395 applications for increases in cost of living bonus were dealt with. These applications involved 479,047 employees and resulted in an annual increase to employees concerned of approximately 350,000,000. The government's wage control policy has succeeded in my opinion, because of its flexibility; wage boards were given power to adjust inequalities, and I have given you the evidence that these adjustments were made.

The improved position of wage earners is best realized when the cost of living index is taken into account. Canada's record in this respect is outstanding among allied countries.

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I have a statement here which I would like to have taken as read but which I now table so that it may appear in Hansard at this point in my remarks.

Table 5


April 28, 1944