December 1, 1945 (20th Parliament, 1st Session)


Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)


Hon. HUMPHREY MITCHELL (Minister of Labour):

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the hon. member for Vancouver-Burrard (Mr. Merritt),
gave notice of a question. I said at that time that while I could make a reply, perhaps it would be better to make a statement to-day.
I shall now do so. .
In answer to the first part of the question of the hon. member for Vancouver-Burrard, namely, as to what steps are being taken by the Department of Labour to overcome the shortage of skilled men in certain industries,
I would advise that under the Canadian vocational training plan extensive vocational training has been undertaken both in classes as well as "on the job," and in addition the provinces, including the province of British Columbia, a're assisted in extending apprenticeship plans.
Until quite recently it has been very difficult to interest men in training plans because work at good rates, without any particular training, was easy to obtain. The situation, however, has since changed and candidates are now coming forward and vocational training classes, are being organized as rapidly as possible. Already there are 12,641 in training in Canada and 1.081 in British Columbia.
In regard tb the second part of the question, which relates specifically to the employment situation in Vancouver, I should point out that the employment situation throughout Canada naturally has changed since V-J day, and now for the first time for several years there is a deficiency in the number of jobs available as compared with the number of unplaced applicants. The total is approximately 40,000.
Since V-J day, of course, there has been a very large cut-back in war manufacturing. On V-J day there were approximately 450,000 men and women engaged in war work, the majority of whom have since been laid off.
In addition, since V-J day approximately 240,000 men and women have been released from the armed forces. When these figures of lay-offs and discharges are considered, it is clear that the absorption of man-power in * civilian production and services has been very satisfactory.
Vancouver is one of the points in Canada where there are grounds for concern. The number of unplaced applicants as at November 29 was 14.680. The explanation is that Vancouver had a great deal of war work, principally shipbuilding, aircraft work and

Unemployment in Vancouver
work along the coast on defence projects by the governments of Canada and the United States, and consequently there has been a correspondingly heavy reduction in employment. Up to a few days ago there has been a big demand for men in the lumber camps, but the heavy snowfall has slowed up this activity. It was noticeable that when men were being sought, for lumber camps there were few willing to take this work, or indeed any work outside Vancouver.
There are still jobs available in mines and in other occupations outside Vancouver. The job opportunities are being advertised and men are assisted to move if they are without means to pay for their own transportation. Employers are being advised of particulars of the occupations of the men and women who are applying for jobs.
It is true that in Vancouver the shock of the change-over from war activity to production for civilian use has been somewhat greater than in some other parts of Canada. However, the view is held that the peak has probably been reached, that an improvement can be expected very soon, and that work will be
available for all, if not in Vancouver city
certainly at other points.
I would like to place on the record a set of figures which has just been issued by the Dominion Bureau of Statistics showing that the reduction in employment on October 1, 1945, as compared with September 1, 1945, despite the very great reduction in war work, was in nine leading industries only 2-2 per cent. This gives some idea, Mr. Speaker, of the resiliency and the powers of absorption of the Canadian industrial, commercial and agricultural structure.
In conclusion let me say that the government is concerned in regard to the situation in Vancouver and in several other cities in Canada, especially those which have had considerable war work. The present season is of course not favourable to commencement of new projects. The shortage of materials in many lines is creating difficulties, but no effort will be spared and I am satisfied that , early spring will see a great improvement in. the employment situation.
The table is as follows:
November 27, 1945.
Dominion Bureau of Statistics Employment and Payroll Statistics Ottawa
Summary of the October 1, 1945, Tabulation on Employment
Change from Sept. 1, 1945 Employees Percentage Index No. of employees (Decrease indicated by numbers reported at the minus sign)
Industry (1926-100) Oct. 1, 1945 No. P.C.Manufacturing .... 188-4 989.739 -53,281 - 5- *1Durable goods .... 197-3 461,018 -59,992 -11- [DOT]5Non-durable goods .... 182-3 508,291 .7,056 1- *4Electric light and power .... 160-2 20,421 - 345 - 1 [DOT]7Logging .... 205-2 61,968 77,201 13- 1Mining .... 143-6 67,631 - 117
. [DOT]2Coal mining .... 90-4 24,933 297 * 1- *2Communications .... 123-8 33,179 107 *3Transportation .... 127-3 164,463 - 1,346 [DOT]8Construction 159,798 975 [DOT]6Services 52,467 - 797 - 1- -5Trade 195,313 4,821 2- *5Eight leading industries .... 168-7 1,724,549 -42,437 - 2 [DOT]4Finance .... 134-0 69.372 2,054 3 [DOT]1Nine leading industries ,... 167-0 1,793,921 -40,383 - 2- *2

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