THE CANADIAN ECONOMY IN THE
1950S AND THE 1960S
Many new industries developed after WWII
Plastics and pesticides were developed out of
inventions made during the war.
Important new resources were discovered.
In 1947, oil was discovered at Leduc, Alberta.
Boom towns resulted from the new mines and wells
that were developed in the wilderness.
Manufacturing also grew, but it was focused almost
exclusively in Ontario and Quebec.
The government improved infrastructure
New roads, sewers, powerplants, schools, and
hospitals were built.
The government also used the increased money it was
making from taxes to undertake 3 megaprojects:
The Trans-Canada Highway
The Saint Laurence Seaway
The Trans-Canada Pipeline
Americans began to invest in Canada
The USA was running short of raw materials, so they
began to look north for natural resources.
By 1956, 68% of Canada’s oil industry and 50% of our
manufacturing were American owned.
By 1967, Americans owned 88% of Canada’s oil
industry!
This was both good and bad for Canada.
Advantages
Branch plants provided employment for Canadians.
Canadian industries benefitted from American
technology.
The earnings of these businesses and workers provided
more tax revenues for the Canadian government.
Disadvantages
Profits from branch plants and resource extraction went
to Americans.
Canada was losing control over its economy.
Canadians also benefitted from the new wealth
Canadian tycoons built huge commercial empires.
Trade Unions fought for a greater share of the
prosperity.
Wages rose from 65 cents to 93 cents an hour
between 1945 and 1948.
The five-day, forty-hour work week was established.
Result: Canadian workers had more money and leisure
time.
But not everyone benefitted from the new wealth
The unskilled working poor in cities still worked and lived
under miserable conditions.
Women were discouraged from working and were
discriminated against in the workforce.
Canada’s First Nations people suffered as environmental
damage from resource extraction reached their reserves.
Canada Expanded
After WWII, the people of Newfoundland were given a
chance to decide the future of their colony:
They voted to join Canada in a referendum in 1948.
The man credited with bringing Newfoundland into
confederation is J.R. “Joey” Smallwood.
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The Canadian Economy in the 1950s and the 1960s