Mr. C. R. McINTOSH (North Battleford) presented the second and final report of the select standing committee on Industrial and International Relations, as follows:
Wednesday, June 16, 1926.
The select standing committee on Industrial and International Relations ibeg leave to present the following as their second and final report.
In the House of Commons on March 17th, the resolution, "That in the opinion of this House a wage sufficient to provide for a reasonable standard of living should constitute a legal minimum wage" was referred to the select standing committee on Industrial and International Relations for examination and report.
Your committee has held several meetings and made a careful examination of the said resolution, having regard to the labour provisions of the Treaties of Peace and the jurisdiction of the Dominion parliament, and the provincial legislatures. Six witnesses in all were examined. The witnesses who appeared before your committee and the subjects respectively dealt with were:-Assistant Deputy Minister of Labour, Gerald H. Brown, who traced the history of minimum wage legislation in Canada and the contribution the federal Department of Labour was trying to make to the effective solution of the many problems arising in the realm of labour in (the Dominion; W. Stuart Edwards, Deputy Minister of Justice, who gave a legal opinion on the question of jurisdiction involved in the resolution under examination; C. W. Bolton, statistician, Labour department, who took up the question of family budgets considered from the point of view of living wages; Margaret S. Gould, Research department of the Canadian Brotherhood of Railway Employees, who further continued the discussion in a specific and detailed manner on family budgets; Albert Hewitson, departmental superintendent, Canadian Colored Cottons Limited, Cornwall, Ontario, who made a statement of the wages and conditions existing in a typical Ontario factory town; and Dr. J. W. MacMillan, Chairman of the Minimum Wage board, who exp.ained minimum wage administration.
The labour principles embodied in the Treaty of Versailles and the other Treaties of Peace recognized the well-being physically, morally and intellectually of industrial wage earners. They are nine in number, the third of which is "The payment to the employees of a wage adequate to maintain a reasonable standard of living as this is understood in their time and country". The latter clause of the Peace Treaty was explained by Gerald H. Brown, Assistant Deputy Minis-
ter of Labour, when he gave evidence to the effect that "The labour part of the Peace Treaties opens with the declaration that if we are going to have peace in the world it must be based on social justice, and there must be a world-wide acceptance of reasonable living and working conditions, and that the principle which is enunciated in the Peace Treaties, and the principle which has already been endorsed by Canada through its acceptance of the Peace Treaties and its approval by Parliament and ratification by proper diplomatic authorities on our behalf constitute ac, ceptance of the idea of minimum wages".
The evidence presented by Dr. MacMillan showed that the principle of the minimum wage as applied to women was working out most satisfactorily. His words, "The very convincing appeal which the Minimum Wage principle makes to the world, is of this nature; it is an assertion of the preciousness, or if you prefer sacredness; the supreme sacredness of human life- the right of the worker to live from his work". Dr. MacMillan further states that if the principle has been applied to women workers and found satisfactory there is no reason why its scope should not be extended to men. He says, "There seems to be no reason why if this principle is good for women's wages, it should not be applied at least to some classes of men's wages, as a provision that the proper type of law should first be passed and then that the proper type of administration of this law should be applied. It is to be noted in this connection that the British Columbia Legislature at its last session passed a minimum wage act for men applicable to most phases of industrial activities, and that the board appointed to carry out the act is now engaged obtaining data and evidence to enable it to fix (the minimum wage for the lumbering industry, the first industry to be dealt with.
The evidence of family budgets given by Mr. Bolton and Miiss Gould showed the items of family expenditures and the cost in Canada of such budgets. The evidence also showed that some workers in Canada are receiving less than will enable them to adequately maintain this standard. Such an injustice is manifestly unfair and unbusinesslike inasmuch as it costs the country much, involving, as it does, an excess of unrest, ill-health and crime.
It was stated by the Deputy Minister of Justice that according to the British North America Act legislative jurisdiction in regard to minimum wages is vested primarily in the provincial legislatures. He also quoted section 132 as follows: "The Parliament of Canada shall have all powers necessary or proper for performing the obligations of Canada or any provinces thereof as part of the British Empire, towards foreign countries, arising out of any treaty between the empire and such foreign countries". Commenting on this he said "There can be no doubt that where Canada has entered into an obligation by treaty-and in that connection I mean an association with the empire of course-r-within the meaning of section 132, which I have just read-I do not think there is any doubt but that parliament has power to legislate for the purpose of carrying into effect the provision of the treaty". This opinion goes to show that the British North America Act by no means conlt'erniplated industrial problems of t(he kind and scope to which Canadians to-day must adjust themselves.
Your committee accordingly recommend (a) That a conference of provincial and Dominion representatives intimately an touch with labour conditions throughout Canada be held in the near future to consult as to the
Peace River Election
best means to be employed of giving effect to the labour provisions of the Treaties of Peace; (b) That 10,000 copies of the present report and the evidence upon which it is based be printed, these to be distributed by the Department of Labour, and that Rule 74 be suspended in connection therewith.
All of which is respectfully submitted,
Cameron R. McIntosh,