April 6, 1954

SECOND READINGS

SENATE BILLS

LIB

John William Gordon Hunter

Liberal

Mr. John Hunter (Parkdale) moved

that the following bills be read the second time:

Bill No. 395, for the relief of Elsie Elizabeth Belford Grant.-Mr. Hunter.

Bill No. 396, for the relief of Jean Monette.-Mr. Hunter.

Bill No. 397, for the relief of Pearl Mary Brown Pratt.-Mr. Hunter.

Bill No. 398, for the relief of Annie Holman James.-Mr. Hunter.

Bill No. 399, for the relief of Marie Paule Lemay Mondello.-Mr. Hunter.

Bill No. 400, for the relief of Marilyn Lesley Simpson Lavallee.-Mr. Hunter.

Bill No. 401, for the relief of Edith Lorraine McBurney Robinson.-Mr. Hunter.

Bill No. 402, for the relief of Aline Gosselin du Berger.-Mr. Hunter.

Bill No. 403, for the relief of Eileen Lucy Tollett Power-Williams.-Mr. Hunter.

Bill No. 404, for the relief of William Pappas.-Mr. Hunter.

Bill No. 405, for the relief of Claire Labelle Cousineau.-Mr. Hunter.

Bill No. 406, for the relief of Denise Marie Helene Laporte Woodhouse.-Mr. Hunter.

Bill No. 407, for the relief of Lois Helena Kearns Higham.-Mr. Hunter.

Bill No. 408, for the relief of Dorothy Rita Wade Moulden.-Mr. Hunter.

Bill No. 409, for the relief of Albert Thornton.

Mr. Hunter.

Bill No. 410, for the relief of Koidula Laigma Hagel.-Mr. Hunter.

Bill No. 411, for the relief of Yvette Lafon-taine Tatos.-Mr. Hunter.

Bill No. 412, for the relief of Freda Becker Blumenthal.-Mr. Hunter.

Bill No. 413, for the relief of Monica Elizabeth Benoit Mullin.-Mr. Hunter.

Bill No. 414, for the relief of Felix Andre Landry.-Mr. Hunter.

Bill No. 415, for the relief of Marie-Claire Parisien Barbeau.-Mr. Hunter.

Bill No. 416, for the relief of Marie Muriel Gladys Lena Soubre Dubour.-Mr. Hunter.

Bill No. 417, for the relief of Joan Millicent Kemp Tessier.-Mr. Hunter.

Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North

Centre): Before you put the motion, Mr. Speaker, on these twenty-three divorce bills, may I make one suggestion, and I do so confident that it will be carried out. As the hon. member for Parkdale (Mr. Hunter), who is the chairman of the committee to which these bills will be referred, knows, there was some difficulty the other day because when a certain bill was reported back to the committee of the whole it was ascertained that the bill had been dealt with in the committee on miscellaneous private bills before the printed evidence had been received and was in the hands of the members of that committee. I merely rise to suggest-

Topic:   SECOND READINGS
Subtopic:   SENATE BILLS
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LIB

John William Gordon Hunter

Liberal

Mr. Hunter:

I would point out, Mr. Speaker, that none of these bills came before the private bills committee before the evidence was available although there was one bill upon which the evidence was available only a matter of an hour and a half before the committee met.

Topic:   SECOND READINGS
Subtopic:   SENATE BILLS
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowles:

I think the statement made by the hon. member for Parkdale serves only to underline the point I am making. My suggestion to him is that we should have the assurance that none of these bills will be considered by his committee until he is satisfied that the printed evidence is in the hands of all the members of that committee. Surely that is the least for which we might ask.

Industrial Status of Women

Topic:   SECOND READINGS
Subtopic:   SENATE BILLS
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LIB

John William Gordon Hunter

Liberal

Mr. Hunter:

I shall be very glad to do that. In fact, I have already given instructions to that effect.

Motion agreed to and bills read the second time.

Topic:   SECOND READINGS
Subtopic:   SENATE BILLS
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BALOISE FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY OF CANADA

LIB

Charles-Arthur Dumoulin Cannon

Liberal

Mr. Charles Cannon (Iles-de-la-Madeleine) moved

the second reading of Bill No. 418, to incorporate Baloise Fire Insurance Company of Canada.

Topic:   BALOISE FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY OF CANADA
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowles:

Could we have an explanation?

Topic:   BALOISE FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY OF CANADA
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LIB

Charles-Arthur Dumoulin Cannon

Liberal

Mr. Cannon:

The purpose of this bill is to incorporate a Canadian company to take over the assets and liabilities of a Swiss company which has been operating in Canada since 1923 in the field of fire and automobile insurance. The bill has the approval of the superintendent of insurance. The capital will be $1 million. Before starting business the paid-up capital will be a half million dollars, which is double the usual requirement. The company intends to do business in the whole of Canada in all kinds of insurance except life.

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Motion agreed to, bill read the second time and referred to the standing committee on banking and commerce.


INDUSTRIAL STATUS OF WOMEN

MEASURE TO REQUIRE EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK


The house resumed, from Tuesday, March 30, consideration of the motion of Mrs. Fairclough for the second reading of Bill No. 2, to provide equal pay for equal work for women.


?

Miss Margaret Aiiken@York-Humber

I

want to speak on this Bill No. 2, not because it is one applicable to women but because it concerns a simple matter of justice. Since the turn of the century women in Canada and in the other free countries have been fighting for this type of justice. We are not quite as militant about it today as we were fifty years ago, but 1 believe we are just as determined. Equal pay for equal work is a principle that I believe a young country like Canada should establish forthwith. Only three provinces in Canada have been enlightened enough so far to introduce equal pay laws. They are Saskatchewan in 1952; Ontario in 1951 and British Columbia earlier this year. Even those provinces are not exactly practising what they have enacted.

In Canada we pride ourselves on being a young country and yet we lag far behind on this enlightened legislation. Older countries

Industrial Status of Women such as France and Italy already have equal pay laws, and so has Burma. I believe Mexico was the first country to enact such a law in 1917. Many years ago Britain approved the principle of equal pay but has never actually enacted it into law. I should like to see Canada approve the principle, enact it and enforce it. In the creative field there is no discrimination at all. An artist is judged and paid according to his or her talents. An author signs the same contract with a publisher irrespective of the author's sex. In fact, such words as "authoress" or "poetess" are obsolete today. In the professions a lawyer or a doctor is worthy of his or her hire. I am proud to say that in my own profession there is no such word as "reporteress" or "editoress".

Yet in one of the most important of all the professions, that of teaching, not only are school boards notably reluctant to recognize this basic principle of equal pay but so are a good many of the male teachers. One reason for this, and I have heard it many times, is that men teachers do extracurricular duties that women teachers are not called upon to do or are not able to do. If a job calls for the same qualifications, then it seems to me there should be one salary schedule. If a little extra brawn is needed along with the brain, then a little extra pay should be given for that brawn. But whether it is in the teaching profession, in industry, or in the civil service, the brawn should be paid for and if the brain qualifications are the same and men and women do an equal job then they should receive equal pay.

Even in industry there is a strange reluctance to recognize this principle. It is true that for some time now the steel workers union has been working on the full application of the equal pay principle, and a good many other labour unions have incorporated it into their contracts. Generally speaking, however, the principle has not received more than lip service. On this question of justice the trade unions have not been overly vocal, nor has management. Unfortunately, and perhaps most important of all, women have not been particularly vocal or have not fought for it. Each group has a different reason for this, but I believe we are all the victims of prejudice and tradition.

Our thinking has not caught up with the actual conditions because from kindergarten on through university we give Canadian boys and girls exactly the same education. They start out with an equal opportunity. We turn out equal products, and then when it comes time to pay these products for what they can

contribute we discriminate in the pay. One of the arguments against equal pay for equal work is that men have greater responsibilities towards the establishment of homes and the maintenance of dependents. Like the words "poetess" and "authoress", those are obsolete arguments today. There are more than a million women working in Canada and out of every hundred working women who are gainfully employed, eighty-four work to support themselves and dependents; eight work for special reasons such as buying a house or educating their children or paying off bills; another eight work because they want to work or for the pleasure of paying taxes.

So that 84 out of every 100 gainfully employed women are working because they have to work. While these women may receive one salary for a job, the men receive another salary for the same job. And yet the men meet equally on so many other footings. When it comes to price tags, for instance, there is no discrimination. There is no discrimination when it comes to taxes. When it comes to groceries, fuel or rent there is no discrimination. Yet we do find insistence upon this discrimination in the matter of payment received for jobs.

Some misapprehension has developed among the unions upon the mistaken idea that women will take jobs from men. However, it has been proved again and again that equal pay actually protects men as well as it protects women, and in fact that it protects employees as well as employers. Equal pay discourages employers from hiring women at lower rates of pay, and thus replacing men when they can get cheaper labour. Also, if the principle is adopted universally it protects employers from another industry operating at a cut-rate hiring a majority of women at lower pay, and thus competing unfairly.

I find myself slightly befuddled by the minister's reaction to Bill No. 2. As reported at page 2593 of Hansard he asks this question:

Who is to say what is comparable work, even as between two men employees?

It seems to me the point there is that when it is two men employees who are doing comparable work, or what is considered comparable work, they are paid equally.

Then, as reported at page 2594, the minister pointed out that the four great national labour organizations, and the National Council of Women, have not pushed this matter in their presentation of briefs this year. But I suggest that the government should not sit back waiting to be pushed, but should give leadership in this direction.

It seems to me the minister has been trying to tell us that the people are not particularly

concerned with this problem, and therefore asks why the government should intervene. But I would point out that last year a Gallup poll was taken asking the question from those interviewed, whether they believed in equal pay for equal work, and two-thirds of Canadians answered that they did believe in equal pay for equal work.

Finally, the minister says that he is not against equal pay for women, but that he is going to vote against the bill. This leaves me more befuddled than ever because I cannot see how one can be for something, and vote against it.

In conclusion I would ask the house to remember the preamble in the United Nations charter which establishes the basic principles of human rights in the dignity and worth of the human person, and in the equal rights of men and women.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL STATUS OF WOMEN
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO REQUIRE EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK
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LIB

Milton Fowler Gregg (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. Gregg:

May I ask the hon. member a question? In the Gallup poll to which she refers was the question, "Are you in favour of equal pay for equal work?" or was it, "Are you in favour of equal pay for equal work, to be instituted by an act of the legislature or parliament?"

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL STATUS OF WOMEN
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO REQUIRE EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK
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SC

Robert Fair

Social Credit

Mrs. Fair dough:

That is splitting hairs.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL STATUS OF WOMEN
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO REQUIRE EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK
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PC

Margaret Aitken

Progressive Conservative

Miss Aitken:

I shall read the question. The question was: Generally speaking, do you think women who work should receive equal pay with men for the same kind of work, or do you think men should receive more?

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL STATUS OF WOMEN
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO REQUIRE EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK
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LIB

Milton Fowler Gregg (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. Gregg:

I agree with the first question. I am on the side of the angels, there.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL STATUS OF WOMEN
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO REQUIRE EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK
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LIB

Elmore Philpott

Liberal

Mr. Elmore Philpoit (Vancouver South):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to say a few words in support of this bill on equal pay for women, although I am aware that the minister looks with, shall I say, only a lukewarm eye on this particular bill. Let me say at the outset that in my opinion it is not a very good bill, and my reason for giving it a certain amount of moral support-and I certainly intend to vote for it -is that I believe it will encourage the government to bring in a really good bill to do the job which the hon. member for Hamilton West (Mrs. Fairclough) is trying to do.

May I say at the outset that it seems to me a great many of the arguments used for so many years in favour of unequal pay- that is, that the man had to get more pay than the woman-have passed away. That is especially true in this country. Because, under the really wonderful welfare state this government has set up, a state in which there is social welfare without socialism, social welfare without regimentation-things like family allowances, grants, old age pensions and old age security-the need for

Industrial Status of Women the husband and father to get more money than a woman has largely passed away. Therefore, from the standpoint of equity there is no reason now why there should be discrimination between the sexes.

I say, however, that in my opinion this is not a very good bill. There are weak spots in it. I believe there are great weak spots in all the legislation in Canada which deals with equal pay between the sexes. The last time I talked to my very good friend, the late Agnes Macphail, she remarked what a great sham the bill in Ontario was. I know the bill passed in British Columbia, to which my hon. friend referred, has had some very unpremeditated effects; and one effect it had in British Columbia was that instead of benefiting women it actually handicapped them in certain of the industries. Because in some corporations, whose names I shall not mention, there was an immediate reclassification of the jobs, with the result that, in the end, women found themselves worse off than they were before.

I say there are real weaknesses in the bill sponsored by the hon. member for Hamilton West. I notice, for instance, that she has entitled the bill the "Women's Equal Pay Act." I, for one, would like to know from the hon. member why she did not entitle it the "Equal Pay Act"? Is it that all people are equal, but that women are more equal than men?

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL STATUS OF WOMEN
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO REQUIRE EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK
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April 6, 1954