May 8, 1931

CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

My understanding is that the rates are determined by the prevailing rate of wages in the locality where the work is done. This is an interprovincial bridge, and possibly there is some difference between the rate in the Province of Ontario and the rate in the province of Quebec. Such differences are adjusted through the Department of Labour. I can assure my hon. friend that the Public Works department sees to it, wherever complaints are made, that the provisions of the contract in respect to the payment of labour are carried out. The Minister of Labour is really the referee in the matter. He is the one to whom we refer and with whom we consult when conditions of this kind arise. I shall draw this matter to his attention and have it further investigated.

Topic:   REPRESENTATION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   MTISED EDITION
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LIB

Elie-Oscar Bertrand

Liberal

Mr. BERTRAND:

Before the tenders were called for, the Department of Labour sent a representative to Hawkesbury, and I believe he made an investigation and a report to the Department of Public Works. The report states the different salaries to be paid to the different trades or classes of labour employed. In the report attached to the tenders it is stated very plainly that labourers are to be paid 45 cents per hour.

Topic:   REPRESENTATION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   MTISED EDITION
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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

I do not know

whether they have been or not. If there is a complaint I suggest it be made to the Department of Labour; that department will take up the matter with the Department of Public Works and if possible have it adjusted.

Topic:   REPRESENTATION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   MTISED EDITION
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LIB

Elie-Oscar Bertrand

Liberal

Mr. BERTRAND:

I would not like to retard the progress of the item, but would the minister allow me to produce correspondence to show that they were not paid 45 cents?

Topic:   REPRESENTATION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   MTISED EDITION
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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

I should be glad if my hon. friend would furnish me with evidence that the contractor had not fulfilled his contract with respect to the payment of labour. We are in a position to investigate the matter, ascertain through the Department of Labour what has been done, and adjust grievances where it is possible to do so.

Topic:   REPRESENTATION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   MTISED EDITION
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LIB

Elie-Oscar Bertrand

Liberal

Mr. BERTRAND:

I think the minister ought to be satisfied that the price stated in the schedule to be paid to this class of

labour was 45 cents per hour. May I read a letter written by the contractor on February 20, 193.1 to one of the interested parties: Re: Hawkesbury-Grenville Bridge

The matter of wage rates for labourers on the above work has been determined by the Department of Labour to be forty cents (0.40c.) per hour.

It was fixed at 45 cents, and as I said a minute ago it was revised by the Department of Labour some time in February and placed at 40 cents.

You worked in 1930 a total of 5104 houra for which you were paid at the rate of 0.35 cents per hour. There is therefore coming to you an amount of 5104 hours at 0.05 cents per hour or a total of $25.52 for which you will find our cheque No. 5227 dated April 15, 1931.

Then there is a section of the letter which I shall not read. It is more or less of a personal character. Then, to continue:

Enclosed you will find duplicate receipt forms which we would ask you to sign and return to this office immediately upon receipt of enclosed cheque dated April 15, 1931.

The situation is that when the 5 cents was refunded each and every man was compelled to sign a receipt in duplicate so that he would not have any come-back on the contractors for the original rate. Before the signing of the receipt this contractor was sure that the Department of Labour would refix the salary at 40 cents per hour, instead of adhering to the first schedule on which they had based their price when they bid at the rate of 45 cents per hour. If these contractors bid having in mind the fact that they were to pay the labourers 45 cents per hour and if the labourers did not get the last 5 cents, where did that 5 cents go? I would ask the Department of Public Works if in that instance they are not especially protecting the contractors.

Topic:   REPRESENTATION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   MTISED EDITION
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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

The rates for

labour are not based upon the estimates of what contractors propose to pay. They are based upon what the Department of Labour considers a fair and reasonable wage, and if the contractor makes his estimates too low, he is the loser.

Topic:   REPRESENTATION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   MTISED EDITION
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LIB

Elie-Oscar Bertrand

Liberal

Mr. BERTRAND:

I am not quite satisfied with the answer made by the minister. Supposing the schedule had been fixed at $1 per hour for labourers, would the minister suggest that the contractor would have fixed the same unit price to do that work?

Topic:   REPRESENTATION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   MTISED EDITION
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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

Again I would say to my hon. friend that we are not controlled by the action of the contractors. We are controlled by what is considered a reasonable, fair and decent wage in the locality,

Supply-Public Works-Bridges

and that figure we secure for labourers regardless of what the estimate of the contractors may be. I am sure if the contractor estimated his wages so much above the current rate he would not be the lowest tenderer. We have no way of learning what the contractor's estimate was, and we decline to be bound by it.

Topic:   REPRESENTATION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   MTISED EDITION
Permalink
LIB

Elie-Oscar Bertrand

Liberal

Mr. BERTRAND:

Does the minister say that in spite of the schedule providing for 45 cents per hour these labourers will have to be satisfied with 40 cents per hour because they were paid 35 cents in the first place and the Department of Labour requested a payment of 5 cents more? When the cheques were handed over for the payment of the last 5 cents these men were compelled to sign a duplicate receipt in order to show that they would have no further claim.

Topic:   REPRESENTATION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   MTISED EDITION
Permalink
CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

I can only repeat that the Department of Labour is organized for the protection of labour.

Topic:   REPRESENTATION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   MTISED EDITION
Permalink
LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

It is not protecting in this case.

Topic:   REPRESENTATION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   MTISED EDITION
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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

In this case

whatever rate the Department of Labour has determined is reasonable and proper under the circumstances must be the schedule prevailing. On that basis payment must be made.

Topic:   REPRESENTATION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   MTISED EDITION
Permalink
LIB

Elie-Oscar Bertrand

Liberal

Mr. BERTRAND:

I want to repeat that

the schedule in the original contract provided for 45 cents.

Topic:   REPRESENTATION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   MTISED EDITION
Permalink
CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

No. The

schedule of the contractor was apparently at the rate of 45 cents. They were paid at 35 cents, and then as I understand it the Department of Labour raised the rate to 40 cents and they were paid on that basis.

Topic:   REPRESENTATION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   MTISED EDITION
Permalink
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Was there not a schedule prepared and inserted as part of the plans and1 specifications when tenders were called for? If so, what was the rate therein set out?

Topic:   REPRESENTATION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   MTISED EDITION
Permalink
CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

There would

be a schedule prepared at that time.

Topic:   REPRESENTATION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   MTISED EDITION
Permalink
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

What would

the rate be according to the schedule?

Topic:   REPRESENTATION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   MTISED EDITION
Permalink
LIB

Elie-Oscar Bertrand

Liberal

Mr. BERTRAND:

I hold the schedule

n my hand; it was 45 cents per hour.

Topic:   REPRESENTATION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   MTISED EDITION
Permalink
LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

Read it; put it on the record.

Topic:   REPRESENTATION ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   MTISED EDITION
Permalink

May 8, 1931