The Great Depression In Canada

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Abstract This paper explores the impact that Great Depression of the 1930s had on Canada; with varying levels of impact on different sectors and groups. It also cites how unemployment rates were at an all-time high, how the role of women in the Canadian society changed from that of housewives to workers, where they provided for their family in the absence of men. The Great Depression left its mark on Canada, as it did on most countries around the world, but notably this North American country’s economy and infrastructure was dealt damaging blows, through erosion of farmlands and redundancy of workers. This paper also explores how the Canadian economy, in comparison and partly due to U.S’ policies relating to tariffs on imports, was affected.…show more content…
The depression originated in the United States, with the subsequent crashing of the stock market. The Great Depression affected both the rich and the poor, the developed and the underdeveloped countries and people from every walk of life; a worldwide catastrophe. At the time of depression, Canada was suffering from the Dust Bowl, also known as the Dirty Thirties, which was a period of dust storms which affected and damaged the agricultural sector of the country, with severe droughts lasting for 8 years (Hansen, 2003). To add insult to injury, the Great Depression hit the Canadian economy at the same time, and the hardest of the lot; which was further aggravated by the surge of immigrants from the States. The main reason for the Depression is still unknown, with some economists and historians pointing towards the Wall Street crash and some pointing in the drought’s direction. The Great Depression had its impact on different and varying sectors of the Canadian economy; namely labor force, housing, food items and individuals.…show more content…
The major sector that was hit was the employment sector. Before the depression the unemployment rate in Canada was 3.52% in 1920s (Fortin, 2001) but it rose to about 13.1% by 1930 and soaring to 19% by 1933. This 9.58% increase is the highest in Canada’s history between 1920 and 1990s. Although Spain was leading the charts with an unemployment rate of 19.9% in the 90s. 30% of Canada’s labor force was out of work due to the depression and large part of the Canadian population became dependent on unemployment benefits and other assistance schemes by the Canadian government. The unemployment rates amongst farmers rose due to the Dust Bowl that rendered them without a cultivatable land and thus they had to retire for the most part. The scale of the unemployment, at that time, exhausted the voluntary and social services organizations; which called for the federal government to intervene and increase spending. Many individuals wrote letters to the prime minister of Canada R.B. Bennett, describing the torment and hardships that they had to endure due to the depression. A particular letter

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