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The Nature of class relations in 1880s Canada sample essay

In Canada, the response to industrial capitalism was evident between the year 1867 and 1892 by the Toronto workers. The exercise began in the late 1960s at the Toronto University. In North America Universities this period was very exciting whereby many of them accepted the dogmas and came under vigorous re-examination. However, the history of Canadian was one of the disciplines which did not address the question of the events which were prevailing by that time. The Canadian traditional histography had been very narrow until the times of leader Harold Innis who came up with considerable useful system of work on the political economy of Canadians.

Class was one among the factors which had been completely ignored by Canadian historical writing. Although there was a great value of historian sources, the work was somehow antiquarian and also indicated a conservative methodology. Involved in the list of the generalization’s list were political economists like Eugene Forsey and Logan both whom had restrictions towards the study of the working class in narrow sense of institution. The essence for account of the working class in Canadian which was a new approach in history and methodological innovations which was very apparent.

After several studies, it indicated that a community study seemed to be the place by then to start reconstruction of Canadian working class experience. The main reason of choosing the Toronto city was due to its economic importance and also its key role in development of the earliest labor movements. Toronto workers who used to live in Ontario’s leading city were among the first group to experience the industrial revolution to join Unions of Institutions so as to create the city labor centre and also to national labor organizations. More so, Toronto proved to the especially to the rich that it had achieved holdings pertinent to the studies which were proposed (Alexander 1962, p. 43).

In the nineteenth century the city’s press was very vibrant and also well preserved. It had very well maintained trade union records and the other materials of work. The city also had a very lively labor press where much of it was still extant. The essence of choosing the period of the nineteenth century was to capture the Toronto’s working class at its conception. The establishment of the class relations lay in the workers and industrialization’s response to that process. Such was a study of the interaction of economic transformation and the emerging working class that both of them shaped and was on the other hand shaped by the new class. The emergence of trade unionism, the struggle for shorter hours in the 1870s, the surge of oppositional cultures based on the knights of labor in the years of 1880s and the establishment of institutional framework for movements of trade unions lay during this period.

Important new organizations were created from the development of the working class. To achieve the full analysis, it required that the placement of the economic transformation context and cultural adaptations which were denied to them by the institutional labor history. In the decade of 1880s, the industrial conservative and industrial expansion ruled not on even a single important measure on behalf of industrial workers which was placed upon Dominion’s book of statute. In 1889, the government passed measures which had no division and in turn removed the afforded protection by the Act of 1872.

Also, the same regulation in the labor interest was declared but for this case, by the provinces. According to Armstrong report, it states that Armstrong was primarily an employee in the Toronto daily meal since 1872. He later became a leader in one of unions. He was later appointed to head an investigation committee whereby he analyzed the membership in terms of eligibility, reliability and other past records. He ensured promotion of the female organizations in terms of labor and rated their wages according to the work completed. In his report, he stressed that childhood labor should have very tough laws in its enforcement.

He recommended that, boards of arbitration should deal and handle cases and disputes of the workers who complain about long working hours. To this case, he recommended for shortening of the long and exploitative hours. He further suggested that all Canadian laborers or workmen should have proper compensation which should be fully supported by the union. Contrary to that, he was however opposed by all other private agencies that offered employment services.

According to the testimony of A W. Wright, he testified for the Son of Man who is against the offspring of prediction. It stresses on setting for the father and obedience to God’s elect, testified by the month of he lord, angles and men. With a true discovery of a bundle of equivocations, confusions and hypocrisy in those who term themselves as preachers and to the light with all men. Richard Dennis he argues that in Canada, exists a long history of suburban working class settlement. However, the conditions have improved. The workers in suburban once lived at the frontier line of the urban economy, after 1945, they occupied a more standardized and financial subdivisions, they became apart and parcel of its consumer apotheosis.

There has been a noted variation in working conditions across different trades. For instance, when compared to Canada, the trade union membership in Australian grew dramatically. Comparative analysis of to steel and iron plants in Australia and Canada there was a broad union growth in a five time. One firm was locate at New South Wales while the other at Sydney. The workers at both firms unionized and the union of the Sydney firm collapsed due to strike. The union of steel and iron did not revive at the Sydney Firm until the time of World War I. with the exception of a brief period, steel and iron unionism continued under examination at the lith grow plant.

The ideas of employers about the proper economic relations and their power in the workplace varied from a location to another according to different writers. Their suggestions included the problems which were encountered in the service employee international unions which needed to be addressed. They also suggests that many of the issues that would not be resolved without the unions establishment. There was a need to blow up the worse unions before fixing them incrementally as a result to dysfunctional unions. Improper distribution of the enough money in the economy was the main problem.

There was also a suggestion that the people should be independent and be able to provide for themselves. There was attacked to the major organizations through their way of exploiting their workers in cutting their benefits. To most of the workers, there was the idea of benefiting from the employees because this drastically raised their incomes in the workplace.

After industrialization in Canada, most of the employees were forked to join the trade union. As a result majority were affected by the laid down regulations like termination of child labor and standardization of wages and salaries as they were used to exploitation. Their powers in the work place was adversely reduce because they were forced to abide to the unions rules had limited powers in the workplace (Alexander 1962, p 66).

Before the industrialization in Canada, the employees had negative attitudes towards the labor organizations. Such included low organization in preventive measures while at work among other risky and exploitative measures. Immediately after the industrialization was put in place, there was mobilization in formal sector. There was also appeal to the government for provision of welfare benefits. According to study, neoliberal reform surprisingly had opened up new channels for the informal workers which contributed them as a class. The employers also put more emphasis to organization and improvement of the workers conditions of safety in the workplace.

Due to along period of exploitation and intimation in the work place before Canada’s industrialization, the employees reviewed themselves as devaluated in the workplace. Their rights were not considered, for instance through working for long hours and paid very little money, working under danger situations without protection among other work threats. After industrialization in 1880s, the employees were better placed because most of their problems were addressed in the international union guide. It protected their rights in payments according to the work done, ensured provision of protective measures while at work for instance when working in mines and mills among many.

Most of the employees in America joined trade unions just as their colleagues did elsewhere. This caused eruption of strikes. For instance, some worked out of the American Railway Union’s in protest of the Pullman Company’s treatment of its operatives because violent. Majority showed a little or no desire in reduction of employment hours. In the real sense, the unions formed served to boost their wages and also improved their working conditions. Their sporting events, dinner, lectures and others enhanced their quality of life. Also the well developed insurance plans enabled the vagaries of life to be very manageable. As a result of the social role being more in evidence in the membership’s daily experience than were the Union’s economic responsibilities, many employees were drawn to knight labor.

The knights of labor was a good representation of a significant experience in the phase of Canadian working class formation. This was the group of renegade intellectuals who brought the labor questions into federal and provincial politics. They aimed at articulating labor’s struggles. However, it faced many challenges for instance the employee resistance, the 1880’s economic crisis and trade unions which opposed an internal divisions. Most of the members of knights of labor were usually wave earners who could work for long hours in very hazardous conditions.

They lived in utter poverty whereby their dwellings were tenants and hovels, their wages however were too little even to cater for their necessities. On the other hand the knights were highly cooperatives which practiced state ownership of all the public utilities they believe in sincerity and honesty of all the members. They were neatly knit together and maintained secret of order. Consequently, they together created a movement culture of alternative, potential social and cultural difficulties. This was the main reason why some workers were drawn to the knights’ labor.

Various groups approach in the subject of women and children labor. Before 1880, the women labor force was endless and very diverse. Some of jobs include helping the men in the fields at planting and harvesting times among other household duties. According to Colonial theory, a woman was by no means a weak culture at the beginning of the 19th century, the industrialization in market place began and also the flowering of capitalism. The change established new hierarchies for work between unpaid and paid labor. This was because of absorption of large numbers of men where some women were involved in work or wages outside their homes. In 1880s, although most of women in working class worked outside their homes, there was still a notion by middle class society that the woman’s place was the home where the work had less value.

Although the number of women workers in paid labor force raised in percentage from 23.7 percent to 26.3 percent between 1880 and 1920 the total women working number tripled. Due to this, the society accepted the fact that women should work and should do so having their reputations ruined. Although their number increased, this was not nearly significantly as the shift in the occupations. This however left the laws status of women in the work force unchanged. For the case of children’s labor, according to many of the writers, many children were involved in work place. The opportunity of paid employment widened the minority of children not attending schools.

Due to Canada’s industrialization and urbanization new children jobs become available especially in Montréal textile mills, Cape Breton and BC mines, Hamilton and also in small manufacturing enterprises. As a result, several conditions combined to end child labor in Canada. This was due to most of the jobs being dead end and poorly paid mineral jobs which led no advancement opportunities. Consequently, by the end of 1980, a large number of children under the age of 14 had been excluded from mines and factory employment. There was a great depression when many adults sought some of the jobs formally done by children hence the children were forced back to school (Alexander 1962, p.98).

According to the Freed report, which basically gave 10 years, outlook of the Canadians labor market between the periods of 2004 to 2003, the Freed’s report articulated to the views of employers who attained the sustainable economic growth. This resulted from utilization of high skilled labor due to educational standards of Canada’s labor force which had kept pace with the skilled demand. Also the low skilled occupations had been created. For the medium term, employment growth was determined by demographic development and economy which reduced employment rate through creation of slow and sustained growth.

The difference between Armstrong’s report and Freed’s report was that with Armstrong, there was analyzation of membership reliability, eligibility and prevention of child labor. It also considered the unpaid working hours and advocated for rectification. It also ensured union’s support in workplace. For Freeds, it only stressed on better skills which can improve the outcome in occupations. Training for career was his most requirements to venture in to any workplace so as to growth in economy.


Alexander R, (1962). Labor Relations in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. New York.

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