Hon. HUGH GUTHRIE (Minister of Justice, for Mr. Bennett) moved:
That it is expedient that parliament do approve of the convention concerning the creation of minimum wage fixing machinery adopted as a draft convention by the general conference of the international labour organization of the League of Nations at its eleventh session in Geneva on the 16th day of June, 1928, reading as follows:-
Draft Convention Concerning the Creation of Minimum Wage Fixing machinery
The general conference of the international labour organization of the League of Nations,
Having been convened at Geneva by the governing body of the international labour office, and having met in its eleventh session on 30th May, 1928, and
Having decided upon the adoption of certain proposals with regard to minimum wage fixing machinery, which is the first item on the agenda of the session, and
Having determined that these proposals shall take the form of a draft international convention,
adopts, this sixteenth day of June of the year one thousand nine hundred and twenty-eight, the following draft convention for ratification by the members of the international labour organization, in accordance with the provisions of part XIII of the treaty of Versailles and of the corresponding parts of the other treaties of peace:-
Each member of the international labour organization which ratifies this convention undertakes to create or maintain machinery whereby minimum rates of wages can be fixed for workers employed in certain of the trades or parts of trades (and in particular in home working trades) in which no arrangements exist for the effective regulation of wages by collective agreement or otherwise and wages are exceptionally low.
Each member which ratifies this convention shall be free to decide, after consultation with the organizations, if any, of workers and employers in the trade or part of trade concerned, in which trades or parts of trades, and in particular in which home working trades or parts of such trades, the minimum wage fixing machinery referred to in article 1 shall be applied.
Each member which ratifies this convention shall be free to decide the nature and form of the minimum wage fixing machinery, and the methods to be followed in its operation:-
(1) Before the machinery is applied in a trade or part of trade, representatives of the employers and workers concerned, including representatives of their respective organizations, if any, shall be consulted as well as any other persons, being specially qualified for the purpose by their trade or functions, whom the competent authority deems it expedient to consult;
(2) The employers and workers concerned shall be associated in the operation of the machinery, in such manner and to such extent, but in any case in equal numbers and on equal terms, as may be determined by national laws or regulations;
Minimum Wage Draft Convention
(3) Minimum rates of wages which have been fixed shall be binding on the employers and workers concerned so as not to be subject to abatement by them by individual agreement, nor, except with the general or particular authorization of the competent authority, by collective agreement.
Each member which ratifies this convention shall take the necessary measures, by way of a system of supervision and sanctions, to ensure that the employers and workers concerned are informed of the minimum rates of wages in force and that wages are not paid at less than these rates in cases where they are applicable.
A worker to whom the minimum rates are applicable and who has been paid wages at less than these rates shall be entitled to recover, by judicial or other legalized proceedings, the amount by which he has been underpaid, subject to such limitation of time as may be determined by national laws or regulations.
Each member which ratifies this convention shall communicate annually to the international labour office a general statement giving a list of the trades or parts of trades in which the minimum wage fixing machinery has been applied, indicating the methods as well as the results of the application of the machinery and in summary form, the approximate numbers of workers covered, the minimum rates of wages fixed, and the more important of the other conditions, if any, established relevant to the minimum rates.
The formal ratifications of this convention under the conditions set forth in part XIII of the treaty of Versailles and in the corresponding parts of the other treaties of peace shall be communicated to the secretary-general of the League of Nations for registration.
This convention shall be binding only upon those members whose ratifications have been registered with the secretariat.
It shall come into force twelve months after the date on which the ratifications of two members of the international labour organization have been registered with the secretary-general. .
Thereafter, this convention shall come into force for any member twelve months after the date on which its ratification has been registered.
As soon as the ratifications of two members of the international labour organization have been registered with the secretariat, the secretary-general of the League of Nations shall so notify all the members of the international labour organization. He shall likewise notify them of the registration of ratifications which may be communicated subsequently by other members of the organization.
A member which has ratified this convention may denounce it after the expiration of ten years from the date on which the convention first comes into force, by an act communicated to the secretary-general of the League of Nations for registration. Such denunciation shall not take effect until one year after the date on which it is registered with the secretariat.
Each member which has ratified this convention and which does not, within the year following the expiration of the period of ten years mentioned in the preceding paragraph, exercise the right of denunciation provided' for in this article, will be bound for another period of five years and, thereafter, may denounce this convention at the expiration of each period of five years under the terms provided for in this article.
At least once in ten years, the governing body of the international labour office shall present to the general conference a report on the working of this convention and shall consider the desirability of placing on the agenda of the conference the question of its revision or modification.
The French and English texts of this convention shall both be authentic, and that this house do approve of the same.
He said: Mr. Speaker, the resolution which has just been read is the result of a draft convention submitted by the labour department of the League of Nations and which was approved on June 16, 1928, by the eleventh session held at Geneva. It is called a draft convention concerning the creation of minimum waige fixing machinery, and the approval of this house is now sought of the provisions of this draft convention. While this draft convention was passed in 1928 and submitted in due course to the various nations which make up the League of Nations, it was not formerly introduced in this house nor has a request been made heretofore to parliament for its approval. I may state for the information of the house that the convention has already been approved by the following countries: Australia, Chile, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, the Irish Free State, Italy, Mexico, Nicaragua, Norway, South Africa, Spain and Uruguay.
I fancy it is unnecessary for me to give any historical resume in regard to this matter. This draft convention is in a similar position to the other conventions which have been hitherto submitted for approval at this session of parliament. The convention as now submitted follows, I think, exactly the language of the draft convention. H approved by parliament a bill will be introduced with the idea of carrying out the provisions of the convention. If the convention is approved there will be an interval of twelve months before it can be brought into operation under its terms. If approved and ratified by the act which I propose to introduce, then it is registered at Geneva and, after due ratification and notification, becomes binding throughout the Dominion of Canada.
Minimum 'Wage Draft Convention
As the house is no doubt aware, in many of the provinces of Canada at the present time there exist minimum wage laws. I think this applies to seven of the nine provinces; the only two in which such laws are not now in force are Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. New Brunswick has already passed a minimum wage act, but that act is not to be brought into force until it is proclaimed, and I understand that it has not yet been proclaimed. But in the seven other provinces there are different minimum wage laws in force. The effect of the approval of this present draft convention and its subsequent enactment into law will be to supersede the provincial laws in respect of minimum wages. The authority of this parliament with respect to such a matter is I think undoubted, having regard to the fact that Canada became a party to the treaty of Versailles and to the covenant of the League of Nations; and under section 132 of the British North America Act this parliament is empowered to carry into effect such a convention and to impose it upon the rest of the dominion.
There will be in the bill-.perhaps I should not mention it now, but I do-a saving clause in respect to the minimum laws in any of the provinces which provide rates in excess of any minimum wages which may be provided under the dominion act. If in any province higher wages are authorized than those provided in the dominion legislation, the higher wages will still prevail. I think that is the only explanation needed of me at the present time, and I move the approval of the house of this resolution.
Subtopic: APPROVAL OF DRAFT CONVENTION ADOPTED BY GENERAL CONFERENCE, INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANIZATION