April 23, 1918

L LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Laurier Liberal

Mr. CAHILL:

I do not quite understand how the minister expects to encourage the organization and co-ordination of employment offices. Is there any demand from the different provinces for this Bill? What would be the result if all this money were expended in one province? It would not in that case be of any assistance in the way of encouraging an interprovincial exchange of labour. On what basis is it expected that the money is to be distributed? Is there any encouragement to the provinces tc bring about such an organization or is it the intention that there shall be any encouragement offered to them? What is the purpose of it?

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UNION

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Unionist

Mr. CROTHERS:

I am afraid I will not be able to throw any light on this subject beyond what is contained in two or three sections of the Bill itself. They seem to me to make it perfectly plain.

Mr. CAiHILL: I am very sorry to say they do not make it plain to me and if it is plain to the minister perhaps he will throw some light on it.

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L LIB

William Daum Euler

Laurier Liberal

Mr. EULER:

I quite agree with the hon. member (Mr. Cahill). We have discussed this Bill for an hour and a half, or two hours, and I feel that the minister has not told us just what he expects to accomplish by its enactment. I do not understand what he is driving at. If it is the intention simply to relieve the provincial governments of the expense of maintaining labour bureaus we would like to know that. If, as clause 3 suggests, it is intended to aid and encourage the organization and

fMr. Butts.]

cc-ordination of employment offices in the various provinces, I think the minister should tell us a little more in detail as to what he has worked out in the way of co-ordination, and possibly co-operation, between the various provinces. I would like to see my way clear in a matter of this kind and I agree with him that a great deal can be done with proper co-operation and co-ordination of the different prbvinces. I would like to ask him whether he has himself, or with his officials, or with the officials of the provinces, worked out any definite scheme in detail by which he is going to proceed. If he could tell a little more about that I believe the Bill might carry quite readily and perhaps without such diffuse discussion as we have had here. Take, for example, the situation in our own city of Kitchener. We have there a labour bureau under the provincial government. We know very little about it in so far as the actual work is concerned of supplying employers with labour. That is done almost entirely by a private organization and the provincial body is very seldom heard of. If that state of affairs could be remedied so that we really received something for the money expended then I think this Bill would be useful. I would like to suggest that probably a good deal might be accomplished that would be in the interest of both employers and employees if the employees themselves, the workmen, whether through their organizations or otherwise, and the employers, were consulted as to the best means of working out the scheme which the minister has in mind.

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L LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Laurier Liberal

Mr. OAHILL:

We should have some light on this question from the Minister of Labour. At least, I am willing to sit here for some time until I do hear from him.

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L LIB

William Daum Euler

Laurier Liberal

Mr. EULER:

Would the minister describe the nature of the agreement which he is expecting to draw up with the various provinces, stating what points would be covered? Perhaps, however, these matters [DOT]would more properly come up in connection with clause 7.

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UNION

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Unionist

Mr. CROTHERS:

I should be glad if I could throw any light on this matter that would help any hon. gentleman present to understand it, but it seems to me absolutely clear, so far as the disposition of the money is concerned. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Euler) asks about the details of the agreement which we are to make with the various provinces. I do not think this is the time to enter into details. We had better get authority to do something first by way

of this Bill. Perhaps my hon. friend will remember the Act granting assistance to the various provinces with respect to agriculture. No details were .set forth in the Bill as to the agreements that might be made thereafter, but agreements are made year after year between the Federal Minister of Agriculture and the Government of a province as to how the sum of money to be paid by the Federal Government shall be expended during that year. In the same way, the details will be gone into, between the 'Minister of Labour and the provincial government when this Bill is passed, and w.e know that we are authorized to make a contribution.

iMr. EULER: I would ask the minister

whether it is the intention of the department to make a grant of this money to the provincial organizations, and to leave the initiative of the work almost entirely as it is, or whether the Labour Department, or its officers, intend to take some action towards initiating new ideas and schemes in connection with the getting together of employers and employee, and, if so, whether some definite scheme has been worked out, no matter whether or not all the details are already arranged, or whether the Department knows exactly what it is going to do in connection with the legislation asked for?

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UNION

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Unionist

Mr. GROTBERS:

If my hon. friend will take the trouble to read section 7, he will *get some idea of it. There have been several references to private agencies and to the use that might be made of private labour exchanges. These have not proved themselves satisfactory, generally speaking. One hon. gentleman mentioned some frauds perpetrated upon poor people by some of these agencies which charged them large sums o'f money. That matter came to our attention four or five years ago when I happened, for the time being, to be in the Department of the Interior. We made regulations then governing all these private agencies so far as their treatment of immigrants, went. We had no authority to deal with them in any other respect. We cannot abolish them. So little satisfaction have private agencies given in some places, and so much dissatisfaction have they given, that the, legislature of the province of Quebec has abolished them.

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L LIB
UNION

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Unionist

Mr. OROTHERS:

These private agencies have been substantially abolished in Quebec by the imposition of such very large license fees as would practically put them out of business.

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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

If my right hon. friend will allow me: The law in Quebec was

amended last session. Now, a fee of $200 is exacted from any one opening a labour agency. Besides that, there is a fee also imposed by the city of Montreal of $300 or $400 a year. There is a regular inspection also by the civic and provincial authorities. The effect is that only well-to-do people can open agencies.

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UNION

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Unionist

Mr. CROTHERS:

Yes, I had the advantage of speaking to Sir Lomer Gouin a few months ago about that matter, and he told me that, in substance, these labour agencies had been legislated out of existence because they had proved unsatisfactory. However, so far as that is concerned, we had no jurisdiction over them, except where they were dealing with immigrants, and we provided that all of them should take out licenses from the central Government to .authorize them to deal with immigrants at all, and we fixed by regulation the limit of fee that they should be allowed to charge. It is not thought that private agencies are the best means of getting the employer and the employee together, and of securing for the workingman steady work. It is in the interest of the private agent to get the man out of work as often as possible so that he will come back to him and pay him another fee to get another job. Whether they are considered desirable or not, we have no jurisdiction over them, and we are not proposing to deal with them at all m this Bill. Neither are we proposing to deal with municipal labour exchanges, but only with exchanges operated by a province. My hon. friend from South Oxford (Mr. Sutherland) spoke in favour of a national system. As I said earlier iri , the discussion, I know of no large country where any such system exists. In Australia there is no co-ordination whatever, each of the States establishes its own labour bureaus, and there is no linking up between the governments of the various states and the central government. There is a Bill before the Congress of the United States now, substantially like this Bill. Heretofore, the various States of the Union have established labour bureaus, but there has been no connection between the Federal Government at Washington and the State governments concerning these bureaus. The Bill now before Congress provides for such co-ordination as we are providing in this Bill. Apparently some insignificant. points have caused the United States' Bill to be held up for some little

time, and the Secretary of Labour has undertaken-(there is a vote of $250,000 appropriated for that purpose)-to establish these bureaus at different points in the eountiv because of. the war emergency. One has been established in Seattle, and a few others are in operation. In neither Germany, nor Holland, nor other countries, do they undertake to manage a national system, but the central governments assist local states and municipalities in defraying the expenses of these bureaus. It is not intended by these bureaus to create employment; it never was so intended in England or anywhere else. The intention is to facilitate the means of getting the employer and the (employee together. We think that can best be worked out by the various provinces, and that we ought to assist them in that respect. My hon. friend (Mr. Lemieux) said that I had been converted to this Bill. Nothing similar to this Bill has been brought up in this House during my time here. The suggestion was* made that a national system should be established, but I thought that such a system w'ould be too cumbersome. I was not in favour of it when the proposal was made, and I am not in favour of it now. I think that the hon. gentleman who has been converted is the member for Maisonneuve (Mr. Lemieux). It is astonishing how enthusiastically he now favours [DOT]labour bureaus and technical education, although during the years that he was a member of the Federal Government and at the head of the Labour Department we heard nothing from him about labour bureaus or technical education. As soon as the hon. gentleman got on the other side of the House, however, he became very enthusiastic over these* suggested reforms and denounced us for net introducing measures to carry them out right -away.

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L LIB

Isaac Ellis Pedlow

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PEDLOW:

Does this Bill not provide for a national system? I understood that the system was to be a national one, with headquarters in the office of the Minister of Labour.

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UNION

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Unionist

Mr. CROTHERS:

My idea of a national system is the establishing of bureaus in all the large and medium-sized centres throughout Canada, to be operated and maintained entirely by the Federal Government. We are not proposing anything of that kind.

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Section agreed to. On. section 4-money grants:


UNION

Donald Sutherland

Unionist

Mr. SUTHERLAND:

I am under the impression that in Western Canada the De-

partment of the Interior has control of the placing of labour, while in the older provinces this work is carried on by the Provincial Government. Is* there any danger of overlapping as between the new Department of Immigration and the Department of Labour. The Department of Labour would naturally be expected to furnish information in all matters* pertaining to labour and to see that quick action is taken by the authorities to* ensure such placing of labour as is imperative under present conditions. The need for coordination was never more apparent than it is at present. We should have a uniform system. In Ontario the work carried on by the Federal and Provincial Governments has been overlapping to some extent. Sometimes you have, under the party system of government, a conflict between the two parties in connection with this work, and some jealousies may arise. But no effective system of co-operation with regard to labour conditions in Canada has been so far established, and I think that something should be done to accomplish this end as .quickly as possible.

Mr. 'CALDER: There is* no likelihood of conflict between the work done by the Department of Immigration and the activities of provincial bureaus which will be established under this law. Some time ago a conference of premiers of the various provinces was held at Ottawa, and this matter vas discussed. No intimation was made by any of the premiers-all the provinces were represented-that this work should he undertaken by the Federal authorities. They all felt that the provincial authorities could handle the distribution of labour much better than any central body established at Ottawa, or than any bodies over which the central authority here would have control. In the past the Immigration Department has exercised only a certain amount of control over all labour bureaus established in Canada so far as* the immigrant is concerned. That applies particularly to Western Canada. Immigration officers throughout the country have not interested themselves generally in the distribution of labour. The position taken by the member for South Oxford (Mr. Sutherland) is, I think ,the prpper one; that this work should be centralized in offices established by provincial or Federal authority-and it seems to me that the work should be controlled entirely by the provinces. A conference was also held at Ottawa at which all the labour organizations of Canada were represented.

Meetings were held on two occasions; this subject was thoroughly and exhaustively discussed, and the conclusion was reached that the provincial authorities could handle the work better than the Federal authorities. As I understand this Bill, it simply lays down the principle that means should be provided, by the giving of money grants to the provinces, for the establishing of these labour bureaus on a common basis. That is the main idea that runs through the Bill. Section 7 provides for an agreement between the Federal and the provincial authorities whereby that desired end may be brought about. Of course, the details of an agreement of that kind can be worked out only through the course of time. It took some two or three years to arrive -at the basis on which our agricultural grants should be made, and to come to a determination satisfactory to all the provinces. We may expect the same thing here. Representatives of the Federal Government or the Department of Labour must go to the various provinces, study the conditions, -and enter into agreements with them. As conditions vary in the different provinces, the details of the agreements may differ, tout if tooth provincial and Federal authorities enter into the matter in the proper -spirit, no difficulty will toe experienced in making arrangements under which this work will toe handled much more satisfactorily in the future. The member for South Oxford can rest assured that the Department -of Immigration will make every possible arrangement to prevent overlapping of work or duplication of expenditure. As the provincial authorities have agreed that this work should be undertaken by them, we should make an arrangement whereby they shall be left -in entire possession of the field, so that duplication or unnecessary expenditure may, as far as possible, be avoided.

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L LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

The appropriations to be made under this Bill are to be a matter of agreement between the Federal Government and the Provincial Governments. As I understood the hon. member for South Oxford (Mr. Sutherland), he alluded to the necessity of having some uniform rule. I wish we could have some further enlightenment upon that point. Why could not the rule as to the amount of the appropriation to be expended be uniform and be put into the Bill? Let me call attention to section 6:

6. The payments -herein-baf-ore -authorized shall, as to each province, be conditional upon agreement between the Minister and the g-overnment of the province as to the terms, conditions and purposes within the meaning of this Act upon and for which the payments are to be m-ade and applied, and upon such agreement being approved by the Governor in Council.

The governing words of the section are those "conditions and purposes within the meaning of thi-s Act." The conditions are very vague in the Bill itself. I wish my hon. friend would explain what he means by those agreements which are to be made between the Federal Government and the Provincial Government. He said that after a few years a basis was found. If a basis has been found, surely we ought also to have a basis for the application of those appropriations.

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UNION

James Alexander Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

I am personally not in a position to give the information desired by the right hon. member, because I have not paid any attention to the details of any agreement which may be carried out, but I can quite realize that if it can be found practicable to do so, information along those lines should be given to the House. The House'should understand what the basis of this agreement is to ^e. I have no doubt that there will be no difficulty at all in working out an agreement with all the provinces. The main purpose of the Bill is simply to provide a means whereby the provincial authorities will take over the control of existing labour bureaus or establish labour bureaus where they do not now exist. That will have to be done under certain conditions. If those conditions are complied with, then the money grants provided by this Bill will be forthcoming, but I am not in a position to state what those conditions should be, because I have not given any consideration to that phase of the subject.

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UNION

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Unionist

Mr. CROTHERS:

Section 6 provides that, an agreement may be m-ade subject to the approval of the Governor in Council. The general conditions of the agreement are set forth in section 7:

(a) That the offices shall endeavour to fill situations in all trades and for both male and female employees;

That is the whole object of the Bill, namely, to'fill vacant situations.

(b) That the offices shall make such returns and submit to such inspection as the minister may require.

Those are the two le-ading things to be contained in the agreement, the details cf which will probably be arranged under the regulations, for which section 10 provides by stating that the minister may

make regulations for carrying into effect the objects of the Bill. [DOT]

(Mr. DuTREMBLAY: Will the minister

tell us why he proposes to expend $50,000 this year, $100,000 next year, and $150,000 the following year? Why not reverse the amounts?

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UNION

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Unionist

Mr. CROTHERS:

We expect that the various provinces will be stimulated to establish larger numbers of those bureaus year after year, more next year than this year and more the year after next than next year.

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L LIB

Isaac Ellis Pedlow

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PEDLOW:

Has the minister any idea as to how much the various provinces are at present expending on this department?

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April 23, 1918