April 9, 1937

LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

I am sorry that I did not understand the hon. member's question. I see no reason why, once the agreement with the province has been signed, it could not be made available to any member of the house who writes in to request the information. That would be my view of it, and I can see no reason why the other party to the agreement would have any objection.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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CON

William Kemble Esling

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ESLING:

It was from the minister himself I received the reply that these agreements with the province of British Columbia were confidential and could not be disclosed to hon. members until they were laid on the table of the house, this session.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

I doubt if I used just those words, but if I did I am glad to make the correction now.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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CON

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHURCH:

May I ask the minister what proportion of the $7,000,000 is a revote from last year? How large is the old revote, and how much is the new vote this year?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

The revote for the continuation of works is $514,269.04. The revote for

Supply-Lab our-R eliej

claims to be rendered by the provinces under previous agreements which will not be received by the dominion in time to be paid before the close of the present fiscal year is $1,316,117.75. Provision for new projects is $5,500,000.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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CON

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LOCKHART:

I am not clear as to the allocation of moneys given by the federal government to the provincial governments and passed on to the municipalities. In the event of a municipality contemplating a certain relief work, which of course will have to be dealt with through the channels of the provincial government, are any limitations placed on the actions of the province by the federal government? In other words, is any restriction imposed on the extent or the type of work which the provincial government may engage in, or is it left entirely in the hands of the province?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

We do exercise some discrimination when a works program is submitted to us by a provincial government. For example, I do not think there has ever been a case where a provincial government has not submitted to us plans which have gone considerably beyond the amount of money which could be allocated to that particular province for a joint works program. But in. general no restriction is imposed in advance by the dominion government upon projects which may be submitted by the provincial government. Where there is discrimination it is exercised in the course of the negotiations.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

May I remind the minister that one of the best projects for the relief of unemployment would be the rebuilding of the dam on Morin lake. Riviere du Loup is a progressive city with its own power plant, and it has set an example to the rest of the province of Quebec in the municipalization of power. The present dam is not in good condition and there is urgent necessity for rebuilding it. The work would cost no more than $300,000 and it could be carried out in sections costing about $100,000 per year, the federal government and the province cooperating. It would relieve unemployment to a large extent and serve a very useful purpose, and it would be much better than building sidewalks on lonely streets where there is no traffic or doing fancy works that do not serve any other purpose than to give temporary employment. Money could be spent usefully and in the public interest in connection with this dam. The minister is familiar with the situation and I trust that in due course, when he discusses the matter with the province, the provincial government will include that project in the program for this year and that this important work will be started at once.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

In connection with these various projects that are undertaken either by the municipality or by the province, with aid from the federal government, what consideration is given to the cost of the work? Is the minister given some idea as to the cost of the materials required and also as to the extent of the labour necessary for the project itself? There has been a certain amount of criticism of the cost of these works and of the wages paid in connection with them. I should like to know how far the minister goes in his investigations with the provinces or the municipalities, through the provinces, as to the wages to be paid, the total cost of the work and so on.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

The Department of Labour does not maintain an engineering department, but in our consultations with the provincial government in regard to all joint works programs we do try to place the emphasis on the type of work that will give the maximum employment and call for the minimum expenditure. I cannot say how far we have succeeded in doing that in every instance, but it will be understood that here, as in other cases, where we have to work with the provincial government, it is necessary that the two shall agree before the work can be carried forward.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

What check if any is made by the federal government as to the actual men to be employed on the work?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

We have in each province a dominion representative who is assisted by a number of inspectors, and it is their duty to see that the terms of the agreement are carried out with special regard to the clauses having to do with wages and hours.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

Is any effort made to employ the maximum number of men? What I mean is this. Do the men who start a project carry it to completion, or is the work spread around through the particular locality in which the project is going forward so that as many men as possible will get a share of it? Is it confined to a few?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

Both systems have been followed in the past. In general, during the past year, the practice has been to take heads of families or single men off relief and keep them off, paying them the prevailing wage, rather than take them on for a few weeks and then send them back on relief. In Ontario sixty-two per cent of those employed on these works were taken from the relief rolls.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

Does the inspector report directly to the minister anything he finds to be unsatisfactory?

Supply-Labour-Relief

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

Yes. The inspector reports directly to the commissioner of unemployment relief in Ottawa, and as a matter of fact many of the difficulties are settled by the inspector on the location.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

Would it be too intimate a question to ask in how many instances there have been difficulties that have had to be followed up?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

I have not an actual record of the number. The daily correspondence of the department does, however, often include complaints with respect to relief in one form or another. We try to follow them up as quickly as possible and remedy the situation. There is a daily report from the various inspectors.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

I ask the question because one hears in connection with all these matters that there is a certain amount of difficulty and dissatisfaction, and I was interested to know whether the trouble had been extensive and whether there were many hazards in the way of satisfactorily carrying out the work. Is the difficulty widespread or is there only an occasional complaint?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

I would not say the difficulties have been extensive during the past year. I understand that the number of complaints over a period of years has not varied greatly, in proportion to the work done and the money expended. Something of course depends on the staff of inspectors, their competence, tact and experience. I do not feel that during the past year we have had an abnormal number of complaints.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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April 9, 1937