Canadian Regions: A Geography of Canada

By Donald F. Putnam | Go to book overview

of the village or small town, and the parish is also the unit of civil government. The church has served to crystallize a geographic pattern, which is followed by all the other services and to which commercial activities are obliged to adapt themselves, as well.

Persons in service occupations comprise 20% of the total active population; discounting those engaged in domestic service, about 17% of the gainfully employed are engaged in what we may call service industries. This is, numerically, the third largest group in the country, being exceeded only by agriculture and manufacturing. Although given no credit, whatsoever, in the actual production of material wealth, the services which are rendered to the producers and to the population in general make this the most important group. In keeping with this importance is the magnitude of the ensemble of structures in which their activities are housed and the centralizing influence which they exercise on the geographic patterns of the country.


Summary of Employment

During and since World War II, employment has been at a high level in Canada. Whereas, in 1939, almost 1,000,000 persons were listed as unemployed, less than 200,000 were so listed, at the peak of seasonal lay-offs, in any year since the war. This is shown graphically in Figure 343. The census of 1941 and the system of labour surveys, inaugurated in 1945, give us a very good picture of employment during the war and post-war years. It must be remembered that, in 1941, there were

Figure 343. The Canadian Labour Force. More than 5,000,000 Canadians were gainfully employed in 1948.

several hundred thousand on active service and that, by 1947, the most of them were back in civilian occupations. In the annual peak of summer employment, from 1947 on, Canada had over 5,000,000 persons gainfully employed, almost exactly 40% of her total population.

Canadian workers may be classified into three main groups: (a) those engaged in primary industries or the production of raw materials, (b) those engaged in secondary industries, and (c) those engaged in trading goods produced by the primary and secondary groups, or in providing all sorts of services for the whole population. It is noticeable that, while the numbers engaged in primary industries have in some cases suffered considerable reduction, and the whole group has lost in importance, the other groups have consistently gained in numbers and, nearly always, in relative importance as well.


Selected References

Bladen V. W. An Introduction to Political Economy. (Chapters V and VI). The University of Toronto Press. Toronto. 1946.

Britnell G. E. The Wheat Economy. University of Chicago Press. Chicago. 1939.

Canada Year Book. Annual.

Coats R. H. (ed.) Features of Present Day Canada. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. Vol. 253, pp. 1-266. 1947.

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