April 23, 1918 (13th Parliament, 1st Session)


George Brecken Nicholson



Section 3 authorizes the minister to aid and encourage the organization and co-ordination of employment offices, -and to promote unity of methods -among them. If the underlying principle is to establish a system of public employment agencies, the Bill is all right, but as a -means of -meeting the immediate needs of the situation, in my judgment, it is not all right. I have had so-me little to do with employment agencies of one kind and another in a business way, and some little to do in endeavouring to keep in touch -with Government-owned or Government-controlled employment -agencies, and with all due respect to those who are responsible for their organization, I must say that they have not got us anywhere. If there is one vital question in connection with the distribution of labour throughout this country, it is to find some channel through which the employer and the man looking for work can get in touch with each other; and, so far as I know, in no system of Government-controlled employment offices in this country has there been any near approach to that desideratum. If we wait until we develop a complete organization
for that -purpose we will wait until the vital period, in my judgment, is passed. I hold no brief for any private employment agency or private institution of any description, but if it is desired to provide adequate machinery, and provide it quickly and effectively, by which the employer in the first -instance may get in touch with the man looking for work, and the man looking for work may get in touch with the employer, the minister has that machinery right at hand if he will but take efficient control of the private employment agencies. Establish a central clearing house, if you like, for these private employment agencies, and pass regulations under which it will be necessary for them to report
daily to that clearing house the number of men they are looking for
to fill the needs of employers of labour, and, on the other hand, the list of men on their books who are searching for employment, to provide information as to where that employment may be found, how it may be reached, the rate of wages, and everything else in connection therewith, I say that you have ready made machinery right at hand that you can adopt for this purpose, without the establishment of anything new, without going into any comprehensive scheme of interprovincial employment, and agencies working in co-opera-ticn, or in co-ordination, with the Dominion. All that may be well enough in its way, but it will take too much time, and I suggest to the hon. minister that they will take control of the direction of the private employment agencies, and make use of the machinery that they now have at hand.

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