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The Canadian Labor Movement

Uploaded by Doraemon on Jan 03, 2005

The Canadian Labor Movement

In the early 20th Century, the Canadian economy experienced rapid growth. From electrical appliances to automobiles, technological advances and new inventions became a sign of the times. Economic prosperity was largely attributed to the development of industries such as secondary manufacturing, mining, lumbering, railway construction and of course agriculture, the cornerstone of the Canadian economy. It was a truly memorable time in Canadian history, but for the majority of the population this period was unforgettable for very different reasons. The ACanadian boom@ was fueled by the working class and prosperity came at their expense. They too, remember the flourishing markets and economic success, but only because it was happening all around them. They were subjected to excruciatingly hard labor for ridiculously low wages and were placed in inhumane working conditions for long hours. Laborers had no rights and since the Government provided very little legislation to protect the worker Ahe was keenly aware that he was going to be forcibly prevented from sharing in the fruits of the boom.@1

Canadian workers realized that in order for them to acquire better working conditions and more rights they would need a stronger voice, and strength definitely came in numbers. Thus unions were formed and the Canadian labor movement was born. However, the early unions were weak, poorly organized and often ignored. The fight for recognition would be a long, hard battle which outlasted two World Wars. It was, however, the time between the World Wars that would change the relationship between employer and employee. Many conditions, events, ideals and situations would change the nature of this battle and contribute to the successes and failures of the Canadian labor movement.

On November 11, 1918, the long and dreadful war, had finally come to an end. The end of the first World War brought both economic and social changes to Canada. Socially, Canada had developed an identity apart from Britain. Also, the impact of the war forced Canadians the accept votes for women, prohibition of liquor, and the income tax.2 The economic changes were not as straight forward. If the confrontation between labor and capital can be considered a war then the economy was their battlefield. Both sides were affected by changes in the economy and the problem with this was that the inter-war economy was...

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Uploaded by:   Doraemon

Date:   01/03/2005

Category:   History

Length:   2 pages (385 words)

Views:   5941

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