Test your Canadian labour history

To celebrate Labour Day test your Canadian labour history with the questions below

1. The “workingman’s holiday” was first celebrated by trade unions in 1882. When did the Canadian government make Labour Day a national holiday:

1884? 1894? 1924?

2. In 1872, the prime minister passed the Trade Unions Act making it legal to form unions. In part, his motivation was to undermine liberals such as George Brown, who had opposed strikes calling for a nine-hour workday. Who was this prime minister?

3. In 1881, children as young as nine worked a 12-hour day for 20 cents in Toronto. How much of the city’s workforce did children comprise:

3%? 11%? 17%?

4. Between 1800 and 1882, 17,000 labourers were brought from China to build the Canadian Pacific Railway’s passage through the Rockies. How many workers died during the building of this section:

500? 2,000? 4,000?

5. In 1898, Canada’s Trades and Labour Congress called for radical social change with a platform that included which of the following:

– Free compulsory education for all?

– A minimum wage?

– Public ownership of railways, telegraphs, waterworks and hydro?

– Abolition of the Senate?

6. What was the daily pay of Canadian soldiers in the First World War battlefields:

$1.10? $2.30? $3.20?

7. In 1919, prices were rising much faster than wages. Workers in one of Canada’s largest cities went on strike demanding higher wages, fewer working hours and union recognition. The city was shut down for six weeks and two strikers were killed during demonstrations. What was the strike’s name?

8. The Old Age Pensions Act introduced by the federal government offered a maximum yearly pension of $240. It was restricted to seniors whose income, including pension benefits, was less than $365 per year. When were the first old age pensions introduced:

1927? 1937? 1944?

9. During the Great Depression, 28% of Canadians were unemployed. While US president Franklin D. Roosevelt established massive job-creating publicworks programs, Canada set up work camps, primarily in British Columbia. Faced with deteriorating conditions and scandalous misuse of funds by administrators, camp workers organized an “On to Ottawa Trek.” They were met in Regina by the prime minister but when talks broke down, organizers were arrested during demonstrations. Who was the prime minister?


Find the answers below…

1) 1894,   2) John A. Macdonald,   3) 11%,   4) 4,000,   5) All of them,   6) $1.10,

7)Winnipeg General Strike,   8) 1927,   9) R.B. Bennett