Canada on The Home
• Because of how severe the Great Depression was, Canada was very
unconcerned with other countries during the 1930s
• Mackenzie-King went to visit Hitler in Germany in 1937. King could see signs
of Jewish persecution but felt it would be ill advised to get involved.
“We must seek to keep this part of the Continent free from unrest. Nothing can
be gained by creating an internal problem in an effort to meet an international
one” - King
Canada Declares War
• 1938 British PM at the start of WWII Neville
Chamberlain announced that he secured
“peace for our time” with Munich Agreement
– Munich Agreement (Policy of Appeasement)
allowed Hitler to take over Czechoslovakia, but
stop seizing any more land
• Hitler ignored agreement and continued on
his quest to conquer land.
• Canada was reluctant to join the war because
Neville Chamberlain in Munich to
sign the “Munich Agreement”
Mobilizing Canada’s Resources
• At the beginning of WWII
Canada’s Army was very small
and not well equipped
– 4500 troops
– few dozen anti-tank
– 16 tanks
– no modern artillery
• Canada’s Air force and navy were
• By September there were over 58
330 volunteers for the armed
"Wait for me daddy“ :British Columbia Regiment,
DCO, marching in New Westminster, 1940
Civilians and the War Effort
• -Wartime shortages led to Canada’s first organized
• Community groups collected aluminum, steel, and
copper items to be turned into aircrafts, tanks, and
• -Families dug up their lawns and planted victory
gardens to grow food for their tables.
• -Canadians lent the government money through Two boys gather
rubber for wartime
Victory Bonds, just like WWI. The war helped
• Unemployment vanished
• -people joined the armed forces and worked in
weapon and munitions factories.
Problems with Civilians on the Home
• -Canadians remembered the WWI shortages and therefore
rushed to the stores to stock up on items they feared might
soon vanish from the shelves
• -The result of this panic was inflation
• -Faced with shortages and rising prices, the Canadian
government began to take control of the country’s economy.
• The Wartime Prices and Trade Board under the authority of
the War Measures Act, becomes responsible for price
controls and inflation control.
• laws regulated wages and limited price increases on goods
and services. Things like rent, iron and steel, lumber, sugar,
and milk were all rationed.
1941 – laws froze most prices and wages, and rationing was
The War at Home:
The Conscription Crisis
• Prime Minister Mackenzie King had promised that there
would be no conscription, However, as the fighting grew
heavier, there were demands to send more soldiers overseas
• King’s government developed the National Resources
Mobilization Act (NRMA)
• This act gave the government special emergency powers to
mobilize all the resources in the nation to defeat the enemy.
• The hiring of men in many positions in civilian employment
was effectively banned through measures taken under the
National Resources Mobilization Act.
• The first Unemployment Insurance program
was introduced in Canada in 1940
William Mackenzie King voting in the plebiscite on
the introduction of conscription for overseas
Prime Minister King had promised that there would be no conscription, But as the
fighting grew heavier, there were demands to send more soldiers overseas.
In 1942 a national system of employment control under the National Selective
Service Act, passed regulations stating no-one could seek a new job without
possessing a permit to do so
No employer could advertise for workers without permission
No-one was allowed to be out of work for more than seven days, and anyone
could be required to apply for any available full-time suitable work of high or very
high labour priority and to accept any such work offered to him.
This did not lead to sufficient volunteers for the military so in addition to the
Selective Services Act
In 1942, King held a referendum on the issue of conscription.
Referendum or plebiscite - submitting an issue to the direct vote of the
80% of Québec said no, 80% of the rest of Canada voted yes.
King then decided not to send conscripts unless he was forced to.
The issue of conscription divided the country as it did in WWI, however, the
situation was not as severe as it had been in 1917.
Think/ Pair/Share: How might the introduction of conscription affect
The War at Home:
The Conscription Crisis (cont.)
• King made the government stance “Not
necessarily conscription but conscription if
• By 1944, losses were so high, King reluctantly
passed conscription and sent 12,000 soldiers
When Canada and Japan went to war (Dec/1941);
British Columbians feared a Japanese invasion.
They felt that Japanese Canadians (considered enemy
aliens) might assist in such an invasion.
Results: 1) 38 Japanese Canadians were arrested
2) 1200 fishing boats were seized by the
3) All Canadians of Japanese origin were
required to register with the government
4) All Japanese Canadians were refused when
they tried to join the Canadian army
5) All persons of Japanese ancestry were
moved to camps in the interior of B.C.
6) The government confiscated their property
and sold it
7) After the war, approx. 4000 Japanese
Canadians were deported to Japan.
A Royal Canadian
questions JapaneseCanadian fishermen
• Canadian government became more
involved in planning and economy control
• April 1940: established Department of
Munitions and Supplies
– C.D. Howe was minister
• Told industries what to produce and how
to produce it
• Vancouver built ships for the navy
• Montreal constructed planes and bombers
• C.D. Howe created crown corporations: State-owned
corporations established by law, owned by the sovereign and
overseen by parliament and cabinet.
• Examples of federal Crown corporations include the Canadian
Broadcasting Corporation, Canada Post, Canadian National,
and Via Rail.
• Ministers of the Crown often control the shares in such public
corporations, while parliament both sets out the laws that
create and bind Crown corporations.
• Farmers were told to produce more wheat, beef, dairy, and
• The Government ran telephone companies, refined fuel, stockpiled
silk for parachutes, mined uranium and controlled food production.
• Policy of total war – Anything to destroy the enemy and achieve
Royal Canadian Air Force
At the end of the1930s the RCAF was not considered a major military
Like all of Canada’s military at the onset of WWII, it was small and not
very well equipped.
With the implementation of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan
during the Second World War, the RCAF was significantly expanded to
become the fourth largest allied air force.
During the war the RCAF was involved in operations in Great Britain,
northwest Europe, the north Atlantic, Egypt, Italy, Sicily, Malta, Ceylon,
India, Burma, and with home defence.
British Commonwealth Air
Training Plan (BCATP)
• PM King hoped contribution would remain at
• December 1939: Canada agreed to host and
administer a training plan where British
instructors would train pilots and other flight
personnel from all over the Commonwealth in
Canada this was the British Commonwealth Air
Training Plan known as the BCATP.
• Air fields were built on the
Prairies and in other locations
near small towns and villages
• Old aircraft were refitted and
returned to service.
• The BCATP trained over 130
000 pilots, navigators, flight
engineers, and ground staff
• The total cost was over $2.2
Women in the War
-Before WWII started, few women in Canada worked outside
-In 1940, 876 000 women over 18 years of age were
employed outside the home.
-By 1943, 1 000 000 women were in the paid workforce and
another 800,000 doing farm work.
-Women built ships, airplanes, and weapons, knitted socks
-The government provided incentives for women such as tax
exemptions and childcare facilities.
These incentives would end after the war.
-Women were accepted into the armed services for the first
Eg. Radio operators, nurses, and ambulance drivers.
-At the end of the war, many women gave up their jobs to
CWAC, tightening up
the springs on the
front of her vehicle
Propaganda and other Government programs at Home
-Government sponsored radio announcements, magazine, newspaper
adds, and wall posters urged Canadians to spend wisely, participate in
salvage drives, grow victory gardens, or buy victory Bonds.
-The National Film Board (NFB) created documentaries and short
informational films showing the importance of Canadian civilians as part
of the war effort.
Introduced William Lyon Mackenzie King’s Liberals in 1944, family
allowances were to be paid by monthly cheque directly to mothers of
children under 16 beginning in 1945.
Unlike other national social security measures such as health and
unemployment insurance, they did not fall under provincial jurisdiction.
During the Second World War, many families suffered because their
wages had not matched wartime inflation.
By introducing family allowances, the government improved both the
purchasing power of families with children and their standard of living.
The family allowance program gave many Canadian families their first
experience of the benefits of government policies designed to generate
No Protection For Jews
aboard the SS
St. Louis look out
portholes of the
Despite our fond belief that we have always been
an accepting country this was simply not always true.
After Kristallnacht, some politicians called for the
immigration of some Jewish people. The immigration
minister refused saying “none is too many”.
When the ocean liner “St. Louis” arrived with 900
Jewish refugees on board we refused them access to
Think/Pair/Share: Do you think that Canada is
morally obligated to take in refugees if they face
death otherwise? What are the possible
ramifications of this policy?