This item, of course, is to cover relief to pensioners of the department, small pensioners whose pension is supplemented by the government to bring it up to the scale set by the department; and it amounts to $2,350,000. The persons referred to by my hon. friend are those who are not being looked after by the department because they are not suffering from any war disability. If they were, they would be looked after through the Pension Act. They are not suffering from any civil disability or any disability which would impair their working capacity, because if they were suffering from any such disability they would be looked after under the War Veterans Allowance Act. So there remain the ex-soldiers who are fit but who unfortunately are not able to obtain employment at the present time; they are men who are not in any way incapacitated as a result of their service to the state during war or as a result of circumstances which have arisen since the war. The figures which we have been able to get through the national registration under the Department of Labour relate to cities of over 25,000 population, and show that there were in September, 1936, 14,336 veterans, that is men who saw service in the great war in the Canadian expeditionary force, the British expeditionary force and the allies, regardless of field of service, who were not in receipt of pension, not in receipt of war veterans' allowance, and were drawing the ordinary civilian relief from the municipalities. In September, 1937, the number in the same category was 8,773, a decrease of approximately 4,500; in September, 1938, there were 7,180. I believe I have somewhere here a break-down dividing the numbers among
those who served in the British forces and those who served in the Canadian force; also of those who served in a theatre of actual war, and those who served in Canada or England only. I have the numbers by cities, but I do not think it is absolutely necessary to give those details.
I have the comparison here between September, 1938, and September, 1937. This relates to men in cities of over 25,000. Of the 7,180 I mentioned as of September, 1938, the total number of those who served in the Canadian expeditionary force was 5,565; those who served in a theatre of actual war, 3,165; served in England and Canada, 1,001; served in Canada alone, 1,399. I might as well put also on record the figures for September, 1937. Those who served in the Canadian expeditionary force total 6,579; in a theatre of actual war, 3,771; in England, 1,216; in Canada 1,592.
I do not believe I have the figures for cities of less than 25,000. I was under the impression that somewhere I had the number on agricultural relief, but probably that would not give my hon. friend exactly the picture he wants.
I can give it month by month for a period of three years. In April, 1936, there were 9,642 being assisted; in April, 1937-38, 9,011; in April, 1938-39, 8,292; and in April, 1939-40, 7,394. There is a considerable and steady decrease.
In the last report of the department, page 33, there is a statement showing the number of men and the number of issues, the average number of issues per man and the expenditures on orders issued for the last four fiscal years ending on March 31, 1938. Can the minister give us the same figures for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1939?
What are the regulations in regard to unemployment assistance for those engaged in casual employment? A number of cases have been brought to my attention. Men have been getting a small pension and doing casual work. One single man was receiving $15 a month and-I commend him for his effort to keep his self-respect-he secured employment putting in fourteen hours a week during which he received his meals. It was employment limited to a few hours each week by which he earned $9 a month extra, and for that reason his unemployment assistance was discontinued. I brought the matter to the attention of the war veterans' allowance board, and I am pleased to say that my representations were courteously received. I am somewhat concerned about the regulations with regard to men who make an honest and legitimate effort to secure employment and who, in consequence, seem to be penalized.
I do not think anyone is deprived of his allowance or assistance because of ordinary, casual earnings. The broad line is something like $10 a month. If he earns less than $10 a month he does not lose any of the assistance given him, but each case is judged on its merits. I would not venture to discuss any individual case. Instructions have been given to the officers of the department to exercise the broadest possible discretion, and I do not know what they do in any particular instance.
But this man was not making $10 a month; he was earning only $9. During the course of his casual employment, however, he got a few meals because he happened to be working in a lunchroom, and it was contended that although he did not make $10 a month he was in permanent employment in that he worked a stated number of hours each week and received a stipulated remuneration each month. I understood the regulations excluded men who received a little additional employment if it could be regarded as permanent.