20th Century Canadian Working Class History
Students are expected to write an essay of 10 to 12 pages, with a thesis that explores a theme in Canadian working class history analytically. The paper should be a good balance of fact and argument to prove your thesis. You should follow your outline once you have completed your research so that your paper is well organized, logically structured and well written. The paper will be evaluated for its content, organization, analysis and writing.
1. Why did unions in Canada decline in the 1920s?
2. Analyse the reasons for the fierce Cape Breton strikes of the 1920s.
3. Analyse the situation for single unemployed men in the government’s labour camps during the Great Depression.
4. How was the experience of unemployed women different from that of unemployed men in the 1930s?
5. Discuss the significance of the Oshawa strike 1937 in Canadian working class history.
6. Why was there a huge strike wave of 1946?
7. Why did Canadian workers fight for collective bargaining during World War II and how did they achieve collective bargaining legislation?
8. Examine the causes and consequences of conflicts between the CCF and the CPC within the labour movement and Canadian society between 1930 and 1950 (the Depression, the Second World War and the early Cold War).
9. Why was the Asbestos strike 1949 a major turning point for Quebec labour?
10. Analyse the problems with communists and gangsters in the seamens’ unions between1940 and 1960.
11. Analyse the problems unions had in organizing workers in the private service sector (retail, fast food, banks) after 1945 and discuss the plight of the unorganized employees in those sectors. You can write about all 3 industries or specialize in one sector.
12. Discuss the impact of post-1945 immigration on Canadian society and on the labour movement.
13. Discuss the impact of nationalism on the labour movement in Canada during the 1960s?
14. Why did a doctors’ strike occur in Saskatchewan in 1962 against Medicare and what was significant about it?
15. Discuss the changing role of women in the workforce and in the labour movement from the 1960s.
16. Analyse the rise of public sector unions in Canada.
17. What impact has globalization and neo-conservatism had on workers and unions in Canada since the 1980s? How has youth employment been affected?
18. Why did occupational health and safety issues become so important from the 1970s and with what results?
19. Why are agricultural workers treated differently than industrial or service employees in labour legislation and in policy and what have been the results?
20. Historically how have domestic employees been treated in Canada in the 20th Century? (You can define the dates of the period you wish to discuss.)
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