Wage and Price Controls

Keeping an eye on prices

The ceiling price - the maximum price that could be charged for any good purchased - was a key element of Canada's wartime strategy to control inflation, and the government relied on shoppers to help enforce price ceilings.

To the women of Canada

Price controls constituted a major step for Canada's government of the Second World War, so Donald Gordon, the man in charge of implementing them, took every opportunity to explain the process to community groups.

"Guardians of our hearths"

Speaking to the women who controlled four out of every five dollars spent in Canada, Charlotte Whitton explained inflation, price controls, and the power that women could exercise to help with the war.

Keeping an eye on prices

To combat inflation during the Second World War, the federal government imposed controls on wages and prices. These booklets were distributed widely to women so they could keep track of prices while shopping; stores that appeared to be charging above the price ceiling were to be reported to one of thirteen Women's Regional Advisory Committees for investigation.

Controlling the Cost of Living

This speech by Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King in October 1941 addresses the increased cost of living during wartime, including potential causes and a plan for stabilization.

View PDF: PDF icon Cost of Living

Fighting inflation

This pamphlet, the second in a series, emphasizes price-consciousness through an overview of Canada's price control policy and its effectiveness on combating inflation.

View PDF: PDF icon Fighting Inflation

Everything is Expensive ... Why?

By 1917, Canadians were experiencing a steep rise in the cost of living. A number of Canadians called for the Borden government to implement a system of wartime price-fixing to alleviate the strain of inflation. While systems of food and fuel control would be adopted in mid-1917, formal price-fixing was never adopted. This booklet contemplates the issue and questions why Canadians should be subject to such inflation during wartime.

View PDF: PDF icon Tout est Cher

Buying alcohol in Quebec

Quebec regulations allowed adults over the age of twenty to purchase up to forty ounces of alcohol each fortnight; coupons became void once the date on them passed.

View PDF: PDF icon QC permit.pdf

The supply of toilets in wartime

Military needs took precedence during the Second World War, and this manufacturer of sinks, toilets, and bathroom fittings informed customers that they might not have their orders filled because of wartime demands.

Buying alcohol in Saskatchewan

William Hart was stationed in Winnipeg with the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1944; when one flight took him to Saskatchewan, he was required to secure a provincial permit book for a single purchase of alcohol.

Permit for purchasing alcohol

The sale of liquor had been subject to controls long before the Second World War - the need for servicemen and women to carry a purchase permit merely added another layer of complexity.

The cost of milk

Like every other commodity, milk was sold at prices that were carefully controlled by federal and provincial authorities.

Price Control in Canada

This pamphlet emphasises price-consciousness through an overview of Canada's price control policy and its effectiveness on combating inflation.

View PDF: PDF icon Price Controls.pdf

Speaking of Money and the War

J.L. Ilsley, Minister of Finance for Canada, was responsible for the nation's economic budget for the duration of the Second World War. These speech extracts outline Canada's pay-as-you-go policy to finance the war and its impact on wartime debts, taxes, and business.

View PDF: PDF icon Money and War.pdf

Post-war price controls

This pamphlet, written by the Economic Adviser to the Wartime Prices and Trade Board, offers thoughts on Canada's post-war price stabilization program in terms of inflation, wage control, supply of essentials, and cost of living.

Can We Return to Freedom?

In June 1942 J.M. MacDonnell, a decorated veteran of the First World War, addressed a business group on the implications of wartime economic controls.

"Paper is a Munition of War"

During the Second World War, the Wartime Prices and Trade Board printed and distributed labels that allowed envelopes to be reused, as a way to save paper.