July 1, 1943

LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

May I first of all thank the hon. member for the tribute she has paid to Mrs. Eaton, the director of this particular phase of the activities of my department. I am not going to argue with my hon. friend as to where a woman should be-whether she should be in the home or in industry, at the conclusion of the war. I have fixed ideas on the point, but anything I would say would be only an expression of opinion, and would not be of interest to the committee.

But if I may be excused for making a personal reference, I was one of a family of nine children. My father died when I was ten years old, and I believe I know something of what a mother is up against when she has to work and, at the same time, maintain her children. In Canada this idea has to be sold to the women of this country. Our people are a little wary about giving their children to what some might consider institutional care. I came from an industrial city, and I believe I could say that was the feeling there. About twenty years ago I played some part in the establishment of widows' pensions in Ontario. I was quite active in the movement that brought that improvement about, one which I believe was adopted by the Ferguson government, if I remember well.

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NAT
LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

I think the hon. member will find that this idea has to be sold to the working women of Canada. I believe the great majority of mothers, particularly in Montreal, would rather have their children looked after either by friends or relations. Whether that is right or wrong is not for me or any other person to decide. It is a decision which must be made by each mother.

At least we can be given this credit, that while this is purely a provincial matter, the subject of child care was instituted by the federal government in cooperation with the provinces. This is the first time in the history of Canada that anything of this nature has been set up. There has been some criticism in connection with our using churches. I believe we obtained the best possible person for the establishment of this scheme in Toronto. I refer to Miss Millichamp, a member of the Institute of Child Welfare in Toronto. Not long ago she was invited by the British government to go to England and advise them on their problem over there. She came back with the definite opinion that in Great Britain they had to take the same steps as we have taken here. We must get the best we can, in the present circumstances.

I believe if my hon. friend went to Toronto and saw the places in question first-hand she

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would not be so ready to criticize. Before they were selected they were approved both by provincial and local committees. On each committee were representatives of the various organizations I mentioned this afternoon.

Something has been said about cost. It is not anticipated at the present time, on the basis of cost as at present calculated, that the mother will pay more than a third of the total cost of the undertaking. With respect to the suggestion that fifty per cent of the mothers were turned down, I would ask the hon. member to give me the details, so that I may make an investigation.

Mention was made of Montreal. In that city we have I believe one of the most eminent men in this work charged with the duty of supervising and assisting in the planning of these nurseries. I refer to Doctor Lalonde, who is not only a medical doctor but is also a specialist in this type of welfare work. I do not believe that in these initial stages we can be accused of not at least trying to lay a good foundation for this form of governmental activity.

In respect of education along, this line, may [DOT]I point out that I have visited other countries where this type of service has been in operation. I well remember being in Russia a few years ago. What I have to say is not said in any spirit of criticism. From some of the pictures I had seen before going there I thought only a few of the children of the working classes would be found outside of institutional care in the day time. There can be no doubt of the vast range of occupations in which Russian women engage. Their work is somewhat different and covers a greater range than that in which women on the north American continent engage. We may call the state of women on this continent one of emancipation, if we wish, but I am afraid that the vocations in which some Russian women are engaged would startle some of our Canadian women, and also those in the United States. It was clear over there that they were moving, perhaps in a small way at first, toward care of the children of women engaged in industry. I thought children in Russia would be dressed somewhat in the same fashion as those in North America are dressed in the summer months. I noticed however that many of the peasant women-and I do not say this disrespectfully-had their children clothed just the same as they had been clothed many years before.

I think the hon. member has not been altogether fair in her criticism in the steps we are taking to establish at least some degree of responsibility on the part of the state in connection with women employed

in industry, or women who find it necessary to get others to care for their children during hours of employment.

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NAT

Thomas Langton Church

National Government

Mr. CHURCH:

Mr. Chairman, I had not intended taking part in this discussion, but as chairman of a local board of health, and as one who brought Doctor Hastings into a modern health department in Toronto, I must say that this policy of handing money to the provinces is a bad one. That seems to be a very popular procedure in connection with many matters which have been brought before the house in war-time. There seems to be a general tendency to give everything to the provinces. You, Mr. Chairman, come from a district in which a famous physician in child welfare has practised. I refer to the late Doctor Dafoe, whose younger brother was only recently promoted to the head of the obstetrics and diseases of women branch of the university of Toronto. I should hope the Minister of Pensions and National Health, who is in his seat, might see that some national recognition is given to the late Doctor Dafoe for what he has done for the people of Canada and the medical world, and particularly the mothers and children.

This problem is rural, suburban and urban. Why should we adopt something like this and turn the money over to the provinces to administer? We are being asked to vote only

S120,000 as payments to the provinces in connection with organizing and operating day nurseries and like facilities. But that is only $120,000 out of $21,000,000, and the result will be that some places will get help and others will not-rural, suburban and urban. This money should be turned over to the municipalities instead of to the provinces.

I should like to refer to what has been done in Toronto and Hamilton. The minister will be more conversant with the latter district, but in both these centres the school boards and boards of health have done a considerable amount of work along these lines. At considerable cost to the city the boards of education and of health have established nurseries and have staffed them with the proper nurses and doctors. This has proved a blessing to the community.

If this were to be started over again, I would not go to the universities for assistance. I would investigate what has been done in the matter of day nurseries in Toronto since 1907. This work was started then and it has spread across the country. I brought this matter to the attention of the house in 1940 when I quoted the British Hansard. Reference was made there to the midland counties where they were transporting people from one

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industry to another, a distance of about thirty miles, about the same as that from Toronto to Hamilton. This is where the industrial revolution occurred nearly a hundred years ago. The money was given to the districts concerned in order that they might be able to organize and operate these nurseries near war plants.

The city of Toronto has provided buses because there has been such an overcrowding of the street cars that they cannot transport the civilian population. In addition, some of the cars ordered by the transportation commission have been sent to other cities. Toronto needs some help from the federal government, and instead of voting only 8120,000 we should be voting much more. This work has not been looked after as it should be. I do not wish to delay the minister any further with his estimates because I have taken up very little time except to fill in when some of the hon. members were out at the country club the other night.

What is going to be done after the war when these large industries are closed up? I asked the Minister of Munitions and Supply about that the other day. We are going to have a serious situation when the war is ended. These workers will have the same trouble as the workers had after the last war. Many of them have not got settled up with the government even though twenty years have passed. If we are going to adopt this policy we will have to enlarge the scope of the activities. There is bound to be duplication in this work. I had a return brought down in the house the other day which showed that the Department of National War Services had made grants to seven organizations during the last year of the war totalling $6,000,000.

In some cities the school boards are doing this work, and in others the boards of health attend to these matters. This work should be decentralized and handed over to the municipalities. Some industrial plants are carrying on this work now. I have seen a few of them, and I repeat that this grant should be much larger. While you have been doing good work as far as I see it, I think it would be far better if you worked through the boards of health or school boards of the municipalities.

I have been talking to some health officers about this. In 1940 and 1941 some of them wrote to me and I sent them copies of the debates in the British House of Commons on this nurseries question. Near the new general hospital on University avenue a number of trailers are used to house some soldier families. There are hundreds of mothers who are out working and in some cases their

children are roaming the streets. We all know what that means in delinquency. This is going to be a serious problem before this war is over, and it certainly will be serious after the war. It is one of the most important problems with which this parliament has to-deal.

I do hope the Minister of Pensions and National Health will hearken to what I said about the Dafoe family. You should consult doctors like that and the different health departments and the different nurseries; a conference should be held to coordinate, save duplication and waste, and discover what should be done about day nurseries. That would be better than just handing over the money to the provinces. I have seen something of the administration of some of these things by the provinces. Some places get help and some do not get any; instead of their being equality of treatment, there is no equality of treatment. There is bound to be duplication of the work. This is confirmed by some of the health department officials I have spoken to. I hope the minister will remedy this, if not immediately at least during the recess.

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CCF

Joseph William Noseworthy

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. NOSEWORTHY:

Mr. Chairman, I was surprised to leam, from a return which was brought down on May 20, of the comparatively few children who are in day nurseries across the country. Despite what the minister has said, this matter of day nurseries is not a new one. As the hon. member for Broadview (Mr. Church) has said, there have been day nurseries in Toronto for many years. The minister attempted to explain the small number of children in the day nurseries by saying that the mothers of Canada have not been educated to placing their children in such institutions. I want to say to the minister that if he and his department in this fourth year of war have not been able to sell the idea of sending children to day nurseries except to the mothers of one thousand children, then they are not very good salesmen. I suggest to the minister that instead of trying to defend his department, as he did this afternoon, he give serious consideration to the suggestions offered by the hon. member for North Battleford (Mrs. Nielsen). From what I know of suburban Toronto I am convinced that if an adequate system of day nurseries was set up you could find more than one thousand children of war workers in the riding of York South alone who would be placed in such nurseries. If the minister's survey shows that only a few mothers are willing to entrust their children to these schools, then I submit he should find out what is wrong with the system. From my knowledge of those who

War Appropriation-Labour

have been in charge of day nursery work in Toronto for many years I suggest that the fault could not possibly lie with the personnel or the staff employed. It is true that England requested the services of a group of workers or teachers who have been engaged in this work in Canada, in order to assist in the instruction in England of personnel for this work. We are not a particularly backward country as far as the personnel of day nursery schools go. I understand a comprehensive report was made to the minister or to his predecessor more than two years ago with regard to the establishment of day nursery schools. I am quite satisfied that if the direction of the personnel in charge of day nursery schools in Toronto were accepted in full there would be many more than 1,000 children in these schools across Canada.

I am interested in this item because it provides $120,000 for "day nurseries and like facilities". I should like to know what the "like facilities" are and what portion of that $120,000 is set aside for these "like facilities". I assume that at least one of these facilities [DOT]will be provision of recreation for war workers. A conference was held in Ottawa nearly three months ago and a very successful conference held in Toronto a few days later. Would the minister give us a statement as to just what progress has been made in the matter of this recreation for war workers? I feel that it is vitally important in view of the enormous amount of juvenile delinquency in this country. Only a few days ago I went into a city in western Ontario and found the newspaper editor there, the mayor of the city, much perturbed about the amount of child delinquency. A conference of those interested in the problem was being held on the evening of my visit. I should like the minister to inform us, while he is making that statement, what money will be available for this recreational work, particularly in Toronto, the city with which I am most associated; and second, what provision is being made to secure trained personnel for this work. I understand that in England and other parts of Great Britain this is deemed: so important in its contribution to the building of the morale of the civilian population that trained men have been recalled from the armed forces to take charge of this work. If they can do that in England, I think our government should be prepared to see that trained men and women are made available in Canada for this work, even though postponements have to be granted for that special purpose. I should like the minister to take those two points into consideration in reporting on recreation for war workers.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

In reply to the questions put forward by the hon. member, let me say first that I am not one of those who think the state should do everything. I wish that to be clearly understood, whatever may be the opinion of other hon. members. I believe that it is all to the good to have recreation organized on a voluntary basis, in some cases probably with some direction from the state. In many industries and some municipalities that is being done. In my own city of Hamilton we pride ourselves-I say this with some diffidence-on having probably the best playgrounds organization in Canada.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

You should see Windsor.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

My hon. friend says, "You should see Windsor". There passes through my mind the work which is being done in my hon. friend's own city, and in Vancouver, Winnipeg, and elsewhere. Some communities have expanded tremendously since the outbreak of war. I do not think it is the duty of the federal government to undertake the direction of all recreational activities in Canada; that would be going a pretty long way. But in my judgment some communities are in urgent need of some direction, and I have them in mind at the present time, though I shall not enumerate them at the present time because I might get into trouble.

My hon. friend spoke of the conference. That conference was held, I think, a few weeks ago. .

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SC
LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

I have a vivid recollection of the conference, although I did not attend it. There was a thorough discussion of the entire question, and conversations are now going on between Ontario and Quebec with respect to the matter and looking forward to the possible signing of an agreement between these two provinces. An initial sum amounting to $40,000 has been voted by order in council. I say that that is an initial sum. I do not know what the total cost will be before we are through with it.

I wish to be perfectly frank with my hon. friend, so, I must tell him that if he thinks we are going to employ an army of directors across this country in connection with this plan he is likely to be disappointed. We shall endeavour in the terms of this agreement to give some direction to recreation. I know many trade unions are deeply interested in the subject of recreation. My own trade union used to have its own recreational activities. But the hon. member can rest assured that when the agreements are consummated they

War Appropriation-Labour

will be tabled. If they are not, and my hon. friend will give me a reminder, I will send him a copy if the house should not be in session.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

May I tell the minister that I do not find myself in agreement with the hon. member for Broadview (Mr. Church) with respect to turning the money over to the provinces. I think that for the minister to turn the money over to the provinces to be administered by them is the right course. If the provinces cannot assume the responsibility for the dominion government with respect to the care of the children of the dominion, it is time they took a course of training; they will take that if they have the responsibility thrust upon them.

What I should like to know is, why this is a $120,000 estimate. What determines the amount which the minister is going to spend? Do the provinces apply for a certain amount? Do the municipalities apply? Do the mothers apply? Just how does the machinery work?

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

You get the recommendation, of course, from the committees. I pointed out to my hon. friend about the local committees, and then the provincial committees, the provincial governments, and the national selective service. Then it is funnelled into my office. That may appear on the surface to be rather a slow procedure. It is not so slow as it appears to be. But I am sure my hon. friend will appreciate that first of all we have to be sure that the accommodation is the best obtainable and the conditions surrounding the nurseries are of a kind and character that would be approved by the public in general. I would rather go slowly myself and see that we did a good job thoroughly than be rushed into it hurriedly and probably receive far more criticism, and properly so, for doing it without having given due consideration to those interested organizations that I have mentioned.

With regard to the amount, $120,000, that is merely an estimate; that is all. In war time, if the need shows itself, that amount can easily be increased and matched by the provinces.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

What constitutes the local committee? How is it organized, and who determines the personnel? Is it chosen by the people or selected by the minister?

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

We get nominations or

suggestions of names from organizations interested-labour organizations or it may be farm organizations; I do not know. It depends on the nature of the locality. The provincial government picks out the provincial committee. That is the way you choose people. I have endeavoured to get the best people I possibly could, people who understand and more particularly people who have some interest in whatever phase of policy it is on which I desire advice.

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PC

Joseph Henry Harris

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HARRIS (Danforth):

First, may I

pay a tribute to the nursery services in the eastern part of Toronto and to those public-spirited citizens who have assisted so much in the direction of the actual work and made it possible for the nursery services to have the premises in which the work can be carried on. This is not a new venture at all. To my own knowledge, for thirty years we have been giving this service to the people of Toronto. I speak for that part of the city with which I am best acquainted, and I can say that public-spirited citizens have headed the board of trustees and have seen to it that premises in which children are housed have been of a kind suitable for the purpose. I join with the hon. member for York South in paying a tribute to the personnel. My criticism is with reference to the women's voluntary services. Since the outbreak of the war they have been anxious to do something to assist in the work connected with these day nurseries; but, as the minister knows, the government in its wisdom saw fit more or less to disband this voluntary unit and to substitute a paid unit, thus dampening the enthusiasm and the ardour of these volunteers. More than that, the government has even suggested what work they might do.

I know the minister is of my own opinion, that the state should not do everything. I recognize the responsibility so far as the dominion and the provinces are concerned, and I think the provinces should be charged with the responsibility for this class of work. But for the extra day nursing facilities necessitated by the war, the responsibility is definitely on the shoulders of the dominion government. There has been no expansion to take care of that extra work occasioned by the extra number of mothers who find it necessary to participate in war industry. No direction of any consequence has been given, largely for the reason that the directors and trustees of the day nurseries were men who knew nothing of how to direct or guide war workers' children. They did not regard that as their particular job. They felt that their only job was to see to it that the assets were being used properly, that the premises were well taken care of and that the facilities were there. The personnel in the day nurseries did not feel that it was their responsibility to

War Appropriation-Labour

give advice or to instruct women workers. They just carried on in the day nursery such work as came to their door.

There is a gap in the direction of women working in war industry. There is not proper information with regard to facilities that are available, and there is also a lack of coordination among the trustees and municipalities and the war working women. Something constructive might even at this late date emerge from this discussion, and I suggest that the minister might confer with his colleague, the Minister of National War Services, and with the women's voluntary organization under his direction to see if they cannot coordinate their efforts so that the maximum use may be made of the facilities and the personnel available.

I am amazed at the statistics. There is room for far more of this work to be done, even with the present facilities, without more capital expenditure, if there could be some coordination among the many bodies affected- the municipality, the province, the dominion, the women war workers. The women war workers themselves lack information, and the personnel are perhaps too timid even to approach those charged with authority with regard to the conduct of these institutions. There does not seem to be coordination in that particular set of circumstances. In the last few years, even since the war, the trustees of these institutions and those who took an interest in them were men who were able to provide facilities, but they seem to have faded out and to have lost interest. It has not been emphasized that they are doing a real community service in looking after this capital asset.

I make these few observations in order to help the minister generally, because I am convinced that expansion is essential at this particular time and this is a move in the right direction. But what we have done so far really amounts to a failure. I am anxious that the department should give some direction to the set-up, so that women war workers will know that their children will be well taken care of. For this purpose I think some leadership should be put into the hands of those who are carrying on the day nurseries, so that they in turn can make their institutions something which is so necessary during this time of war.

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PC

Agar Rodney Adamson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. ADAMSON:

As one of those members of the house who have seen the nursery schools in England in operation, I would say that this is a step, a short and halting step, but nevertheless a step iin the right direction. I congratulate the hon. member for North Battleford, iwho has obviously made quite a study of this [DOT]problem. I agree with what she has said.

IMr. J. H. Harris.]

Under the English system new nursery schools were built not only where there was an absolute necessity for it, but in areas where there was no necessity. First of all, it was done for the bombed-out victims for whom new schools had to be found, and it was done for children of all ages. I see no reason why we could not have done the same thing instead of putting up with basements of churches and other improvised accommodation. Under the English system, just as under our proposed system, there is cooperation with the local authorities, which I think is essential.

It is essential that these services should not be considered on the basis of a free handi-out by the state. That is not so in England, except where the parents of the children have been either killed or crippled by enemy action.

The immediate effect of these nurseries in England has been a tremendous improvement in the whole standards of the children, and not only of the children but of the adult population as well. It seems extraordinary that even with the terrific bombing and the terrible devastation that was caused in 1941 and part of 1942, the health of the English people has actually improved over pre-war days. The number of cases of illness and sickness has gone down, and the nursery schools and the public nurseries have been one of the contributing factors to that improvement.

It is quite true that the nurseries in England charge sevenpence, threepence of which is paid by the state. We ask for thirty-five cents. While I do not quarrel with the sum of thirty-five cents, I think we could get a good deal more service for that sum, especially when one considers that the cost of feeding a soldier in Canada with the excellent food he now gets is thirty-eight cents a day.

It was impressed upon me in talking to a number of social workers in England that these nursery schools and supervised schools have had a great effect in improving family morale. One of the great problems with which we are faced in Canada is the demoralization of the family. It may sound paradoxical for me to advocate nursery schools and institutional care for practically all the children in the state. But I believe that it is one of the surest ways to restore the high morale of the Canadian family, which, according to most authorities, has suffered a serious decline in the past few years. It is infinitely better to have all children properly looked after and properly supervised during the working hours of the day than to allow them to play on the streets. They have discovered in England that taking the children off the streets has

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strengthened tremendously the family tie. That is a surprising and important discovery.

I see every reason in- favour of even the mothers of small children working in time of war. The civilization of any country is in direct ratio with the emancipation of its women, and* I just mention as an example of this what has happened in Turkey since Mustapha Kemal Ataturk took power. In every way he was an absolute dictator, just as much a dictator as the dictators of Germany and Italy. But he had a different idea from them about the emancipation of women. He insisted that women should take part in government and in the life of the state. He did not believe that woman's part was kirchen, kuchen, kindem, as Hitler did, and to-day we find as a consequence that Turkey is an advancing, go-ahead country that is capable of living at peace with its neighbours.

Before I conclude I would ask the minister one or two questions. There have been built up in Canada what are known as Well Baby clinics. I think they have been one of the greatest assets in the life of the community where they have been established. My first question is this: Is there any cooperation or coordination between these nurseries and Well Baby clinics? My second question is: What are the minimum and maximum age limits for children attending these nurseries? My third question is this: Has any provision been made, or is it likely to be made for the government assisting to get these children out of the city into the green spaces in the hot summer months?

Just one word in conclusion. This whole question of nurseries emphasizes strongly the absolute necessity for adequate town planning in the future of Canada.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

The answer to the last question is, no; to the second question, two to six years of age are the limits. The answer to the first question is, yes; there is cooperation. I used to be a member of the board of health in Hamilton, where we must have had about twenty baby clinics. I think they have them also in Toronto under the health department of the city. There are also clinics in the schools to which the mothers take their children.

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PC

Agar Rodney Adamson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. ADAMSON:

There is a very effective Well Baby clinic in the southern part of my riding.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

I was a member of the board of health in Hamilton for a number of years, and when these clinics were established we had to educate the mothers to bring their children to them. It took some time. I have

been through these things; I went through the campaign in Hamilton in connection with inoculation for diphtheria, and I know something about the resistance that was shown to that innovation by a good many people in our community. It was a question of education. I can remember the time when there were many deaths from diphtheria in Hamilton, but I lived to see the day when during a whole year there was not a single death from diphtheria in that community.

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PC

Agar Rodney Adamson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. ADAMSON:

I agree with the minister that a very great deal of missionary work has to be done.

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July 1, 1943