part of those for whom they were designed to make provision in a period of economic extremity.
The intention to abolish relief camps has been confirmed by the findings and recommendations of the committee appointed to report ito the Minister of Labour on existing conditions in these camps.
The government recognizes that in closing these camps every effort must be made to provide employment for those now on the strength of the camps who are employable. Preliminary arrangements have already been made for setting up machinery which will absorb, from time to time, those on the strength of the camps into gainful and useful employment. It is anticipated that these arrangements will permit the closing of relief camps, as such, not later than July 1 of the present year. No new projects will be undertaken. The present strength of the camps will not be increased. There will be no new admissions.
In seeking ways and means to provide employment the government has recognized the desirability of affording, so far as may be possible, alternative employment suitable to the training and experience of those now in camps. As a result of negotiations with the Canadian National Railways and the Canadian Pacific Railway through the Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Howe), arrangements have been made whereby 10,000 men will be employed on deferred maintenance work on the trackage of these companies during the coming summer. This work will be in addition to the usual maintenance work of the railways. It will be undertaken on a cooperative basis, provision for which will be proposed in the emergency supplementary estimates. Men taken from the relief camps by the railroads will be in private employment and on a basis of work and wages. Relief camps will be closed progressively to permit of the transfer of camp strength to employment on the railways et cetera, as soon as weather conditions permit.
While the relief camps remain open, projects will be continued under the Department of National Defence, working in closer cooperation with and carrying out the policy of the Department of Labour. The decision to carry on under the present organization is a natural outcome of the policy of abolishing the relief camps. It would be costly and undesirable to build up a large organization, under the Department of Labour, which will of necessity be shortlived.
It is proposed to encourage a greater measure of cooperation between the provinces and the dominion in the working out of a more intensive application of the farm placement
scheme, a scheme which has to date been followed quite extensively by some of the western provinces with very satisfactory results. Forest conservation, easier access to mining areas and other development projects would be other outlets for employment, and it is anticipated that these opportunities I have suggested for employment will absorb the bulk of men in the camps who are fitted for this class of work.
It is expected that through the instrumentality of the proposed national employment commission, working in cooperation with business and industrial undertakings, additional avenues of employment will be found. A greater degree of cooperation will foe sought in the national interest between the government and those agencies which have the power and understanding to meet the problem.
It has been decided by the government that the present allowance of twenty cents per day shall be increased to S15 a month, as from March 1st. All other allowances, such as food, clothing, medical care, tobacco, et cetera, will remain the same as at present. This monthly allowance of S15 will be paid out as follows: $7.50 in cash, the other $7.50 being set aside until such time as the man leaves the camp, when he will receive nonnegotiable vouchers payable at the rate of $4 a week at any post office, for the total balance standing to his credit. This ensures that if a man leaves a camp of his own free will, he will at least have some means of support while he is seeking industrial reestablishment.
Returns are now 'being received from all camps which will indicate the age and occupational classification of the camps' population and will be used as a guide in planning for reemployment of those who are employable. The government feels that it has a special responsibility at this time, in first seeking to find employment for those men who are in the camps, if the plan to close the camps is to be carried out successfully. Once this has been done, continuous efforts will be put forth to secure employment for all those who are employable. The unemployables will have to continue to be, as at present, charges of the provincial and municipal governments.