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Economic gains

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The steady industrialization of the economy in the decade following Confederation changed the way Canadians lived and worked. By the 1960s, more workers had well-paying jobs, but wages had not risen equally for men and women.

Around the beginning of the 20th century, agriculture was the dominant industry. However, almost every other industry was growing, including lumber, paper and printing, tobacco products and vehicle manufacturing.

As industries grew, so did average wages, but women's wages were far from equal to men's during this period. Even in job categories that employed more women than men-musicians, music teachers, stenographers, writers and teachers—women consistently earned less than men.

During the First World War, new industries were created to meet wartime demand, while others became obsolete in the face of new technologies. Though wage gaps had narrowed since the late 19th century, men were earning an average of twice as much as women.

The Great Depression of the 1930s caused wages across the country to collapse. In an attempt to lessen the negative impact on Canadians, the government established minimum wages. Women were able to enter industries previously closed to them, but their wages remained drastically lower than men's.

The Canadian economy returned to prosperity during the Second World War. Women had more job opportunities than ever before, but often in occupations that were less well-paid. And so despite substantial wage increases during the war, women were still earning much less than men.

As mechanization and industrialization changed the economic landscape during and after the Second World War, Canadians began migrating to jobs in urban areas.

1907 Canada Year Book - Related tables

  1. Earnings at regular work, by class of occupation, 1901
  2. Employees and salaries, by principal occupation in the professional class, 1901
  3. Extra earnings by classes of occupations, 1901
  4. Statistics of industries, 1871
  5. Statistics of industries, 1881
  6. Statistics of industries, 1891
  7. Statistics of industries, 1901

1917 Canada Year Book - Related tables

  1. Average values per acre of occupied farm lands in Canada, by province, 1908 to 1910 and 1914 to 1916
  2. Average wages of farm help in Canada, by province, 1909, 1910 and 1914 to 1916
  3. General statement of chartered banks, by average returns, 1868 to 1916
  4. Index number of all commodities, by group, 1890 to 1916
  5. Ratio of exports to imports and value per capita of exports, imports and total trade, by year, 1868 to 1917
  6. Shipping in the United Kingdom and British possessions, exclusive of coastal trade, 1910 to 1914
  7. Statistics of manufactures by province, establishments employing five hands and over, 1900, 1905, 1910 and 1915
  8. Statistics of manufactures of Canada, all establishments, 1905 and 1915
  9. Statistics of manufactures of Canada, establishments employing five hands and over, 1910 and 1915
  10. Statistics of manufactures, by type of industry, 1915
  11. War trade in manufactures, by type of industry, 1915

1937 Canada Year Book - Related tables

  1. Index numbers of retail prices, rents and costs of services (on the 1926 base), 1913 to 1936
  2. Statistics of salaries and wages paid in the forty leading industries, 1934, together with comparative figures of average salaries and wages paid in 1933, and totals and averages paid in previous representative years

1947 Canada Year Book - Related tables

  1. Annual index numbers of wholesale price groups, selected years, 1913 to 1946, and monthly index numbers, 1946 and 1947
  2. Average hourly wage rates for specified occupations in manufacturing, by provinces, 1945
  3. Average wages of male farm help per day and per month, as at January 15, May 15 and August 15, 1943 to 1946
  4. Average wages per hour for specified occupations in certain cities, 1945
  5. Historical summary of statistics of manufactures in Canada, 1917 to 1945
  6. Index numbers of domestic service rates, 1940 to 1946
  7. Index numbers of employment, by industrial group and by month, 1945 and 1916, with yearly averages since 1929
  8. Index numbers of living costs in eight cities of Canada, alternate months, 1940, 1942, 1944, 1945, 1946 and 1947
  9. Index numbers of wage rates for certain main groups of industries, 1921 to 1945
  10. Index numbers of wage rates, by industries, 1941 to 1945
  11. Investors index numbers of common stocks, by month, 1946
  12. Standard or normal hours of labour per week in selected cities, 1945
  13. Wage-earners, 14 years of age or older, by sex, together with total and average earnings during the twelve months prior to the census date, June 2, 1941, by provinces.

1957 Canada Year Book - Related tables

  1. Estimates of the civilian labour force and its main components, June 1, 1931 to 1957
  2. Index numbers of average wage rates, by industry, 1953 to 1956
  3. Leading domestic exports, 1939, 1946 and 1953 to 1956
  4. Summary statistics of Canadian trade, 1952 to 1956

1967 Canada Year Book - Related tables

  1. Average wage and salary rates for selected occupations in certain cities across Canada, October 1, 1965
  2. Bankruptcies and insolvencies, by industry and economic area, 1965
  3. Consumer price index numbers, 1939 to 1966
  4. Estimated liabilities of bankruptcies and insolvencies, 1956 to 1965
  5. Index numbers of average wage rates for certain main industrial groups, 1956 to 1965
  6. Investors index numbers of common stock, by month, 1964 to mid-1966
  7. Minimum wage rates for experienced workers by selected cities and by sex, December 1, 1966
  8. Summary statistics of manufactures, by industry group, 1961 to 1964
  9. Value of total foreign trade of Canada (excluding gold), 1951 to 1965

Related charts

  1. Capital expenditures by economic sectors, 1951, 1954 and 1957
  2. Factory value of goods, leading industrial groups, 1949 and 1955
  3. Foreign capital invested in Canada classified by estimated distribution of ownership as at Dec. 31, 1955
  4. Shipments, exports and imports of manufactured good, 1946 to 1964