June 24, 1948

LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. MacKINNON:

May I give this explanation. That item is to provide for increased wage rates for employees paid on an hourly basis. There is also the sum of $70,000 for maintenance of highways in the following parks: Banff national park, $35,000; Kootenay national park, $20,000; Yoho national park, $15,000. These additional amounts are required for maintenance and replacing culverts on highways within these parks as the result of flood conditions in these regions.

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Item agreed to. Indian affairs branch- 770. Indian agencies-further amount required, $231,128.


CCF

George Hugh Castleden

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

Mr. CASTLEDEN:

The amount in the original estimates for Indian agencies was an increase of some $545,000 over the previous year, and this is for an additional $231,000. In the details of service at page 175 of the estimates, a decrease is shown in the number of Indian agents, superintendents, inspectors, et cetera. Today the minister said that the Indian affairs branch was following closely the recommendations of the committee on Indian affairs. The committee was somewhat disturbed about the fact that we did not have enough Indian agents. Here the department is asking for an additional sum of almost three-quarters of a million dollars, while there is a decrease in the number of Indian agents. Can the minister give us information as to what the increase is for, and whether or not it is the intention of the department to increase considerably, if not to double, the number of agents so that they can give us a little bit more supervision work among the Indians of Canada?

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LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. MacKINNON:

The principal items

included in this increase are: supplies and materials, $10,000; telephones, telegrams and

postage, $7,000; printing, stationery and office equipment, $10,000; and then the large item, construction of buildings, works and structures, $137,500.

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Item agreed to.


DEPARTMENT OP LABOUR


137. Expenditures for vocational training under the Vocational Training Co-ordination Act, 1942, and agreements between the dominion and provinces approved by the governor in council, including projects for training of persons to fit them for gainful employment, youth training, apprenticeship training, vocational training at the secondary school level, foremanship and supervisory training, as well as to provide for undischarged commitments of previous years (including certain items formerly under demobilization and reconversion), $3,377,500.


PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MACDONNELL (Muskoka-Ontario):

I wish to ask for more information about that. May we be told something about it? There is a large increase, and I should like to know just what the point is.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Hon. HUMPHREY MITCHELL (Minister of Labour):

If my hon. friend will wait for a couple of minutes, I will give him a breakdown of the increase-

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LIB

William Henry Golding (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN:

Shall the

item stand?

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

-if the hon. member does not mind coming back to that.

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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MACDONNELL (Muskoka-Ontario):

No.

Item stands.

Unemployment Insurance Act, 1940-

138. Administration, including expenditures incurred in connection with the activities of the national employment service as delegated by the Minister of Labour in accordance with section 88 of the act, $18,465,000.

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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MACDONNELL (Muskoka-Ontario):

I realize that the administration has gone down in cost, but I want to get an idea about this. For example, I notice on page 144 of the estimates a considerable number of new posts set out. Might we have an explanation of the reason for these additions?

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

The reason is the tremendous expansion in the coverage of the Unemployment Insurance Act. It is almost a paradox, but it costs the government more when we have full employment than when employment is below normal. By the very nature of things the organization is increased, together with the contribution by the government to the unemployment insurance fund. At present more people are employed.

Supply-Labour

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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MACDONNELL (Muskoka-Ontario):

As the minister says, dt does seem a bit of a paradox. One would have thought that in a time of full employment, when you are [DOT]merely on the receiving end, there would not be nearly as much to do as when you are faced with the problem of unemployment. Is the answer that when you have unemployment all the fund does is automatically to make certain payments to those who are out of employment, or is any other duty carried on by the fund?

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

One must not forget the tremendous numbers who pass through the employment offices. We spoke of the displaced persons this evening. The placement of those people is undertaken through the agency of the employment service. In the last year about seven hundred thousand people have passed through those offices, going from one job to another. One must remember that there has been almost a complete disappearance of what might be called private employment agencies. Most of the people brought from Great Britain under the Ontario immigration scheme were placed at work through the instrumentality of the employment service.

Another activity that has been carried on is the placement of university students in employment during the summer months. In fact almost every activity that has for its purpose the placement of men and women in employment is undertaken by the employment service. Today we have reached the point where some of the Canadian trade unions have made it part of their agreements that the employment agency Shall do the actual employment, rather than the old office at the gate we used to see in days gone by. A big organization like General Motors of Canada, for instance, uses the employment service exclusively. Then we have had the transference of labour, during the summer months particularly, from the western provinces to the east and vice versa, which is handled by the employment service.

I mentioned university students, and in that connection I brought along with me a letter from the students' administrative council, Hart House, University of Toronto, addressed to one of my officials in that city. It reads:

It is particularly difficult, in fact it is almost impossible, to express adequately in a letter the great debt of gratitude that this department owes to you and your department for the magnificent work which your officers and your department have accomplished nothin the university in placing this great student body in summer work.

The statistics which I have received from you speak for themselves. They are most impressive and such a tremendous job would have been im-

possible without devoted application to duty on the part of your officers who were at the university. Your own interest and co-operation has left nothing to be desired and I can only say that I look forward with the greatest of pleasure to renewing this association next year.

I do wish, however, to place on record my appreciation of the very valuable work done by Mr. Halse who for the past two seasons has been with us at the university. I have been stopped in the corridors, on the street, and elsewhere by the students who are grateful for the time and energy he took in their particular cases. I know that Mr. Halse spared no efforts towards anyone who was interviewed by him in seeing that they were suitably placed. He has done a magnificent job and we owe him as well a very great debt of thanks.

I will include the statistics of placement in my report to the president of the university whieh is sent to t'he provincial and dominion governments. I will be glad to send you a copy of this report when it is completed.

Yours sincerely,

"E. A. Macdonald" General Secretary-Treasurer.

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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MACDONNELL (Muskoka-Ontario):

I should like a little further information, and I am speaking to the minister as a man who, I believe, largely shares my own feeling that we want people to do as much as possible for themselves.

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LIB
PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MACDONNELL (Muskoka-Ontario):

On pages 144 and 145 of the estimates I observe a whole list of new officials who have been appointed. Frankly I always have the feeling that, unless it is carefully watched, a department can grow, and that new jobs can grow also; and at the same time I feel that eighteen and a half million dollars is a lot of money. Would the minister turn to page 144 and look at these appointments? I take it that those shown for 1948-49 but not for 1947-48 are new appointments. About half way down the page I see these positions: assistant supervising inspector; chief contributions officer; chief planning officer; administrative officers, grade 1. I take it that this whole group are new appointments.

While I am on my feet, may I ask the minister also to explain the whole group at the top of page 145, who apparently also are new, since no item is shown for 1947-48. Can the minister explain just what new activities have been undertaken?

There is also this other question. Is the government taking over expenses which should be borne by the companies themselves? The minister said the companies were very glad to use this service. If it is relieving them of expense, that may well be so. If this is the only efficient way to do it, I am answered; but I should like to know.

Supply-Labour

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

These are people who were previously temporaries and who are now made permanent, rather than additions to the staff. As a matter of fact, the strength of the employment service has been reduced by some 1,500 in the last eighteen months. I agree with my hon. friend that sometimes we forget that every time a civil servant is employed he becomes a charge upon the living standards of the producers of this nation. It is said that we are doing things for the employers. I believe the employers did a great many things for us, as a government; and that goes for all governments. Perhaps it is not too bad if the wheel turns the other way sometimes. My mind goes back to the old days in my hon. friend's city, when you saw on Bay street outside the Telegram office, and on the street where the Star is located, lines of people waiting to get the papers in order to look for jobs, and then running off to look them up themselves. Even in those days the Ontario government had an employment service. It is much more satisfactory if you can channel these people through an agency under the jurisdiction of the government. I believe that is better than the old days of the private employment agencies, when the worker paid for the service rendered.

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June 24, 1948