June 9, 1938

LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

It has been in existence twenty years. This is not a case of duplication but a grant in aid made by the dominion government to assist in establishing an employment service right across the dominion.

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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

Does the federal government pay the salaries?

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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

The federal government contributes on the basis of actual expenditures in each province in relation to the total expenditures across the dominion. In other words, the $150,000 we pay is allocated to the provinces on that basis, and in addition to that we maintain an office here for the purpose of collecting information from all the provincial employment offices in order that there may be this clearing house of information with respect to employment opportunities.

Supply-Labour-Employment Offices

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CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

The total amount of the vote is about $114,000, which, incidentally, is 11-4 per cent of the total amount which was voted last year for the vital item of youth training. This amount of $114,000 is a substantial sum of money, and it is reasonable to expect a substantial return for it. The success or failure of the employment offices, as suggested, rests with the service they can render to those who employ labour. After all, if they can convince employers of labour that the men whom they have registered with, them and whom they will send to employers are men such as are asked for, then the offices will be working in close cooperation with industry. Several employers whose word I must rely upon have told me that 'there have been times when the men whom they have asked for have not been the men they have received. Let me cite one instance of a man who applied to the employment office in one city with a request for a workman who was capable of operating an automatic lathe. He said the reason he wanted a man for a short period was that the regular operator was away ill, and he was in the midst of a rush job and wanted a highly skilled mechanic for the position. He was informed that such a man was available and would report the next morning. The man reported; but he turned out to be a drill hand, utterly unfamiliar with the operation of that lathe. One or two experiences of this sort have had such an effect on that particular employer that he no longer has any confidence in the employment office in his particular municipal centre, and the result is he is seeking men from some other source.

As the minister told us a short time ago, the inspectors occasionally visit these offices, unheralded, it is true; but that is really not good enough. It is highly desirable that the department should conduct a proper survey of all these offices, to see whether or not this money we are voting is applied to the fullest possible advantage; and by that I mean the advantage of the men, because after all the whole purpose of these offices is to obtain jobs for the men. We vote this money with that idea in mind. The most effective way in which these offices can carry out their purpose is by establishing contact with employers of labour-and such contact as has proved itself to be of value. When men have two or Ithreie experiences such as the one I have related, they tend to lose confidence in the employment offices. I asked whether any advertising was done, and the minister properly answered that that was in the hands of the local office, and that if the province was willing

the money should be spent for advertising, and skilled labour was available, it would be done; otherwise it would not be done. As the hon. member for Davenport has said, however, one cannot help feeling that in some ways this money is not used to the fullest possible advantage, unless it is used in such a way as I have suggested. Would the minister be willing to state that in the past this money has been applied to the best possible advantage; that the provinces are cooperating fully, and that the offices are discharging their functions as well as possible for the benefit of those who apply to them.

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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

I believe I have already answered or tried to answer that question on a number of occasions. I fully agree that in the administration of the employment service in some sections of the country-I am not prepared to say how extensive the weakness may be-such a weakness does exist. As a matter of common knowledge it does exi^t in some sections and ought to be corrected. I believe that we as a federal Department of Labour should do what we can to see that such abuses are corrected, but it is quite another matter to say when the abuses began. Possibly they began from the inception of the service itself. Certainly I would not say, nor would my hon. friend say, that these abuses have come into existence only in the last two or three years.

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CON
LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

We have had periodic inspections. I had a report a year ago from the director of the employment service after a journey across the country. There are certain improvements that ought to be made, but whether they should be made by increasing the dominion grant in aid is another question. I should doubt very much whether that would accomplish the desired result, but undoubtedly we have a power of suggestion and perhaps of persuasion which has been exercised before and will be exercised again. Our one desire is, if we contribute to a service, to see that it is -made as efficient as possible.

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CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

Has the minister any idea what proportion of the money is spent for administration, how much for rental of offices, advertising and so on? Is there any break-down?

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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

That detail would appear in the provincial accounts. We have a certain item for our central administration. There is, in addition, $150,000 a year which is paid to the different provinces in the pro-

3698 COMMONS

Supply-Labour*-Employment Offices

portion .which their expenditures in carrying on their employment services bear to the total expenditures of the employment services throughout the dominion.

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CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

Then the item of $63,925 is the federal expense? That does not go to the provinces at all?

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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

No; the $150,000 goes to the provinces.

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CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

How is that apportioned among the various provinces?

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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

That is what I just explained. It is divided on the basis of the expenses of a single province in maintaining its employment service, in relation to the total expense of maintaining employment services in all provinces.

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CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

That is, in accordance with the existing set-up?

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LIB
CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

In other words, the minister does not suggest, if province A provides perhaps a better service than province B, that there should be greater service extended in province B and the grant be increased proportionately?

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LIB
CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

Is that not a reasonable suggestion? Assume that province A has conducted its service in a highly beneficial manner and rendered much greater service than province B.

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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

The province which spends most, and which by inference is most interested in maintaining the service, will receive a larger grant from the dominion.

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CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

True, but though it may spend most, it may get fewer results; it may be because more have achieved success in getting a job not in industry but in the employment office itself. The amount of expenditure does not necessarily indicate the ratio of success. After all the measure of success is the number applying and the jobs obtained.

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June 9, 1938