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Lecture 14

History 2201E Lecture Notes - Lecture 14: Imperial Munitions Board, Halifax Explosion

Course Code
HIS 2201E
Linda Sabathy- Judd

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Lecture 14 Part 1 - Wartime Economy in Canada During WWI
Demand from Europe stimulated Canadian economy
o Allies demanded food, grains, minerals, etc., Canada had to step up
and help out
o Canada leader in nickel exports
Nickel essential for armor piercing weapons as well as armour
o Factories that had been idle after railway was finished, opened for
Artillery shells made in Canada
Munitions produced increased from 4% to 40%
o Industry Canada’s major export
o Port activity increased (e.g. Halifax)
Lead to the Halifax Explosion
Government Controls the Economy
o Imperial Munitions Board (IBM)
Established government-owned factories to produce munitions
and materials
Produced by the private sectors including railroad workshops
and small factories to produce heavy artillery shells
o Munitions Resource Commission
Charged with researching how much Canada had in terms of
minerals, what can be turned into war materials, etc.
o War Trade Board
Import/export, etc.
o Bard of Grain Supervisors (Canadian Wheat Board)
Controls the entire wheat crop of Canada
o Canada Food Board
Distilling of grain prohibited
Public eating places under restrictions
o Government became the central bank
Interest rates, lender, kept close eye on gold reserve, etc.
o Up to 1914, Canada had always been a debtor country
o Reliant heavily on Britain for a long time
o Canada had no strong fiscal policy
80% of revenue was from import/export duties, not enough to
finance the war
1916: government brought in a business profits tax
1917: government introduced income tax, supposed to be a
temporary tax to last during the war
Sold war/victory bonds: tax exempt/could be deducted from
your income tax
Few people could really afford them
o Huge inflation during the war
o Financing the war was a huge problem for the Canadian government