Canadian Life During the Great Depression Essay

Canadians were faced with many challenges during the Great Depression in the 1930s. The biggest challenges were the drought in the prairies, unemployment and being able to provide. It was a tough time to live in for Canadians and many other people around the world.

Firstly, one of the challenges Canadians faced during the Great Depression was the disastrous drought in Saskatchewan. Canadians had to face the bitter cold winters and hot dry summers. The land was so dry and had been worked on so many times that the land became very fine. With one gust of wind the soil would blow across the country creating a dust storm. Parts of Saskatchewan and Alberta became to be known as the “Dust Bowl”. (Mennill 14) In 1932, the most damaging grasshopper plague in 50 years hit Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The grasshoppers destroyed the crop fields across the prairies. People could no longer eat the chickens because they began to eat all the grasshoppers and was not safe to eat. (Mennill 15) The farmers would also have to work during the hot dry summers planting seeds. Commonly, the dust storms would blow away the newly planted seed and soil. Farmers were forced to abandon their fields. Roughly 14 000 farms were left behind during the Great Depression. (CBC News) Most of the farmers that left went to Ontario to find work and be able to provide for their families.

Secondly, unemployment was one of the biggest challenges that Canadians had to face during the Great Depression. Investments, productions and wages declined all around the world resulting in millions of people losing their jobs. The unemployment rate in Canada hit a record high of 30 percent. (Struthers) It began harder and harder for men to find permanent jobs. Municipal governments refused to aid homeless men, so the Canadian government set up unemployment relief camps. The men were able to work and get paid but the conditions of the camps led to the Regina riot. (Mennill 9) People were also taken advantage of during the Depression. People were underpaid and their jobs wouldn’t be consistent. Men could go days without having any work. They had to line up every day just so they can earn something to provide for their family. (Canadian Museum of Civilization) A steady job was not easy to find for the Canadians during the 1930s.

Thirdly, parents were not able to earn enough money to support their families or themselves. Unemployment around Canada made most families go into poverty. Families were not able to afford food, clothes, and shelter. Parents resorted to sending their children away because they could no longer afford electricity bills and have enough to feed them. (Canadian Encyclopedia) In order to keep their children at home, families were forced to go onto government welfare to provide which at the time was the most embarrassing thing you could do. In certain provinces, welfare was not in money but in food. One in five Canadian families depended on welfare for survival. (Mennill 10) Poverty was a big challenge for Canada during the 1930s. In conclusion, Canadians had to bear several challenges during the Dirty Thirties, including the terrible drought, unemployment, and not being able to provide for your family. Canadians suffered terribly during the Great Depression.