Openings for Women in Canada - 1920

Newly Arriving Immigrants Nearing the Land of Opportunity in the Dominion of Canada.

Newly Arriving Immigrants Nearing the Land of Opportunity in the Dominion of Canada. Canada Today, 1921-22. GGA Image ID # 14a7501bc4

The following passages are taken from the report by Miss F. M. Girdler and Miss Gladys S. Pott, the Commissioners who recently visited Canada on behalf of the Oversea Settlement Committee to ascertain what openings there might be for the employment and settlement of women upon the land, and what demand, if any, existed for women in industrial, commercial, and other classes of occupations.

Summary of Openings

  • AGRICULTURE: —Farmers: Opportunities in Nova Scotia, Ontario, and B.C. Wage earners, whole time: Possible openings to be developed in Ontario and B.C. Part domestic: Possible openings to be developed.
  • BOARDING-HOUSE KEEPERS: —Occupation not advised.
  • CHEESEMAKERS: —No demand.
  • CHEMISTS: —No special demand.
  • CLERKS: —No demand other than for highly skilled.
  • DOMESTIC SERVICE: —Chambermaids: Some demand. Cooks: Considerable demand. Housekeepers: Demand, for farms only. Lady helps: Some opportunities. Ladies' maids: No opening. Nurses for children: Some opportunities. Nursemaids: No demand. Single-handed help: Great demand, provided applicants conform to customary methods. Waitresses: Some demand.
  • DRESSMAKERS: —Considerable demand for first-class workers.
  • FACTORY WORKERS: —No information.
  • GARDENERS: —Slight opportunities.
  • INSTITUTIONAL DIETITIANS AND ASSISTANTS: —Some openings anticipated, provided Canadian training be taken.
  • LAUNDRY HANDS: —Some demand, not specially recommended.
  • LINGUISTS: —Possible openings for small numbers.
  • MASSEUSES: —No demand.
  • MILLINERS: —No opening.
  • NURSES: —Considerable demand. Mental: Demand in some Provinces, provided normal course be taken in Canada.
  • TEACHERS: —Demand in certain Provinces and cities.
  • PHYSICAL TRAINING INSTRUCTORS: —Slight opportunities.
  • SOCIAL SERVICE WORKERS: —Some opportunities anticipated, provided Canadian training is taken.
  • SHOP ASSISTANTS: —No information.
  • STENOGRAPHERS: —Demand for highly-skilled only.

Domestic Servants

That an urgent demand for domestic servants exists in every part of Canada is unquestionable, and that women from the United Kingdom capable of filling the situations satisfactorily would be welcomed everywhere is equally certain. But women experienced only in English ways must adapt themselves to Canadian methods and customs, and not expect to introduce the former into Dominion homes.

It is essential, further, that settlers intending to enter domestic service should be experienced not only in one particular branch of work, but have knowledge of all the various duties connected with house service, and be prepared to undertake every kind of domestic labor, including cooking, laundry and mending. Inability or refusal to do this has been responsible for many past failures. Canadian homes, both in town and country, are organized on lines different from those in the United Kingdom.

The vast majority of mistresses keep one maid and supervise all the work themselves, the maid working under direction and assisting in all processes, including the cooking and care of the children. But a competent domestic help would be expected to be able to take sole charge of the work occasionally, during the employer's absence.

Considerable variety of custom prevails in different districts as regards the relative position of employer and maid in the household life. In large cities and towns (especially in the East) the status of a domestic servant in the house of a wealthy employer differs little from that customary in England.

More freedom as regards hours of labor is given in Canadian homes, and more definite leisure time allotted to the maid. But she does not share the life of her employers or take meals at the same table. It is most important that this be understood by intending settlers, as a good deal of incorrect information has been spread.

On the other hand, in many rural districts and small towns a different condition is found, and the maid is often regarded as one of the household, sharing in all the family life. In houses where the work of cooking for a family entails constant work, it is found more convenient to save an extra meal by arranging that the maid shall share that of the employer's family.

More especially is this the case in farming districts, where the burden of preparation for all farm workers is added to the labors of the overworked mother of children. In farmhouses where paid labor is employed the hired man is given his meals with the family, his laundry and mending being also undertaken by the women of the house. Thus a domestic servant or help must expect to include these services for the laborers amongst her other duties.

The life of women in farmhouses is very strenuous, particularly during the summer months, when cultivating and harvest operations have to be carried on at high pressure owing to the sudden change of climate from a long severe winter to a temperature approaching summer heat. On most farms, especially in the grain and fruit districts, extra assistance has to be hired in harvest time, additional hands being boarded, lodged, and looked after. All such work falls on the farmer's wife, who, if she also has young children, labors under a very heavy burden.

Of late years Canadian employers in all districts, urban and rural alike, have found it difficult, often impossible, to obtain domestic servants, and the strain borne by the housewife has become almost intolerable.

The Commissioners consider that newly arrived women from the United Kingdom should regard the first three months of their employment in domestic service in the Dominion as apprenticeship, and be prepared to accept the minimum legal wages until their skill in Canadian methods qualifies them to ask a wage equal to that earned by experienced local workers.

With the exception of the following types of work, specialized forms of domestic employment are seldom in demand. Women whose experience is confined to other kinds of service, such as ladies' maids or nursemaids, arc not advised to consider settlement in Canada), except after the fullest enquiry through the Ministry of Labor in the United Kingdom and until they have received a definite offer of employment.

As will be seen from the general remarks, the single- handed help is that most usually in demand in the Dominion. Wages offered vary, but a minimum of $20 to $25 a month can fairly be expected by competent women in most parts of Canada. Board and lodging is invariably included, but no extra laundry money is given, most of the washing being done at home.

Cooks and Waitresses

In cities and towns skilled cooks are in constant demand for private households, hotels, restaurants, and public institutions. Owing to the system of seasonal hired labor referred to in the agricultural section of this report, temporary cooks are also required in connection with summer camps both for men and women.

The following figures represent a fair average of wages to be earned, in addition to board and lodging :—Private households, $25 to $50 per month; hotel and restaurant, $40 to $80 per month; summer camps, seasonal, $50 to $75 per month. Chinese cooks are largely employed in the Western Provinces, their labor entering into formidable competition with that of British women.

Hotel and restaurant waitresses are much in demand, especially during the summer tourist season. In most cases board and lodging is provided by the proprietor of a hotel, but occasionally non-residence is ai condition of engagement.

The Commissioners do not recommend new arrivals from the United Kingdom to look to temporary summer work in hotels, even though the pay offered may be good.

The inexperience of a waitress accustomed only to British methods would prove detrimental to her interests, and it would be most undesirable for her to be out of employment at the end of the summer when the more close season for wage earners is just beginning.

Wages naturally vary according to district and class of hotel. But from $25 to $35 per month, in addition to board and lodging, might reasonably be expected.

Limitation of working hours to eight or ten is customary, meals not being served in hotels between stated times. Late evening dinners are seldom obtainable. the dining room generally closing at 8 p.m., after which visitors must find refreshment in restaurants outside the hotel.

Chambermaids are usually in demand at hotels in cities and the larger towns, though in Western centers Oriental labor is largely employed in this as in other forms of hotel service. A wage of from $25 to $35 per month is usually offered, in addition to board and lodging.

Housekeepers to Farmers

A certain demand for elderly women or widows as housekeepers to bachelor farmers was reported from the Prairie Provinces. For women desiring to find employment which permits a young child to live with them this class of work would have attractions, but the loneliness of prairie life and labor involved should be borne in mind, and only those prepared to do all the necessary work of the house should apply for such situations.

The salary offered would probably amount to $40 per month, in addition to board and lodging. No demand for housekeepers accustomed only to the kind of work attached to the position in English homes exists in Canada.

The Commissioners are of opinion that a certain number of young women of the educated classes, willing to undertake the care of infants and young children, would be welcomed in Canada. Employment would be found in the homes of well-to-do people in the larger cities, particularly in the Eastern Provinces.

Nurses should have received some training in infant care and management in the United Kingdom, such as that offered by the Norland School or similar training centers.

But it would be even better if a course of training could be arranged in which household work were taught in conjunction with the instruction relating to the care and upbringing of children.

Posts such as are referred to are unlikely to exist in large numbers, but .the Commissioners consider that an increasing demand might develop if a few young women were successfully trained and placed in situations of this kind.

As such work would be of a pioneer nature, no data as to salaries paid could be obtained ; but it would be reasonable to demand a minimum wage of $30 per month in addition to board and lodging.

The Lady Help

A remarkable difference of opinion as to the demand for workers of this type was met with in the various parts of Canada. Even in the same town or district exactly contrary statements were made regarding the popularity of the lady help.

It appears probable that a few carefully chosen women of the well-educated class could find employment in the more closely settled residential areal especially if they were able to live in a community house.

Women desiring posts should be prepared to undertake household work of every kind, bearing in mind that the majority of Canadian housewives are accustomed to cook and perform their own general work. Lady helps ignorant of household duties, or unwilling to assist in the same, would meet with little encouragement.

As Canadian lady requires experienced assistance and expects to be able occasionally to place an employee in sole charge of the house. It is, therefore, obvious that a help unable to carry out the necessary duties would be looked upon as incompetent.

The cost of living to women workers whose occupations oblige them to live in hired rooms, and possibly take one or more meals in a restaurant, is so high in Canada that careful consideration should be given to the question of ways and means by persons from the United Kingdom when taking up employment which does not include residence.

The difficulty of obtaining suitable accommodation for women workers is likely to prove serious, owing to the shortage of houses and the difficulty of obtaining domestic workers. Boarding houses in connection with the Y.W.C.A. and other philanthropic institutions are to be found in the larger cities, but these are quite inadequate to meet the need.

From $6 to $9 per week is charged at such homes, this amount being usually at least one-third below that charged by private boarding houses in the same town.

When cost for laundry, travelling expenses, and the purchase and upkeep of clothing is considered, it will be seen that a very small margin of profit is likely to be left from salaries that may at first seem high compared with those paid for similar work in , the United Kingdom.

There can be no doubt that a supply of inexpensive but comfortable boarding houses for women workers is an urgent need in all Canadian cities and towns.

Increasing Demand for Trained Nurses

Enquiries into the situation in Canada regarding the nursing profession showed the likelihood of an increased demand for trained nurses. The difficulty of obtaining help in the average home in time of sickness is due, first, to the shortage of nurses obtainable in homes that are far from hospitals or nursing centers, and, secondly, to the high scale of fees charged for professional services.

Authorities consulted on this subject stated that although the return of nurses from military service will relieve the situation to some extent, there will not be sufficient trained nurses to meet the needs of the growing population.

The Public Health Services

There would appear to be some opportunity for British nurses in connection with the Public Health Services. Considerable expansion of small municipal hospitals, provision of district nurses, establishment of school clinics and child welfare centers are in course of organization in several Provinces, all of which activities will tend to widen the field for the highly qualified British nurse who is willing to adapt her knowledge to the conditions of a new country and conform to the customs there prevailing.

Another movement which will create a demand for nurses in larger institutions, is the proposed introduction of the eight-hour day. It is felt that this innovation is inevitable, and that it will be gradually introduced into all hospitals, with the result that the staffs will have to be increased by one-third of their present number.

The fees charged by fully trained nurses range from $20 to $30 per week, but it must be remembered that the cost of living in Canada is high, and that a nurse cannot earn a salary at this rate all the year round.

It was ascertained from the medical officer to the Ontario Provincial Government that a number of young women are needed as nurses in mental institutions, chiefly those for the feeble-minded.

The training lasts for two years, the first three months being regarded as a period of probation. During the whole course of training a nurse is boarded and lodged, provided with uniform and paid a salary of $15 per month, rising to $35. The type of woman required is one possessing secondary school education or especially sound elementary education.


Enquiries made showed no openings for masseuses in the Dominion in the near future.

Women Teachers

Close enquiry was made regarding possible openings for women teachers, considerable difference of local conditions being found to exist. Whereas the Maritime Provinces offered few opportunities, distinct demand for more British women teachers was shown in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Recent development in connection with rural schools amongst foreign settlements, whereby teachers of foreign birth have been withdrawn, has necessitated the provision of a large number of substitutes, while the continual extension of settlement in the northern parts of both the latter Provinces involves a corresponding demand for the establishment of additional schools.

British women would do well to realize the opportunity offered them in the work of rural schoolteachers, especially at such a time as the present, when the importance of bringing to the children of foreign settlements a better and more civilizing influence must be appreciated by all who have the good of the Empire at heart.

The life presents hardships and difficulties which should be fully realized by any woman who contemplates undertaking the work. A teacher sent to a newly founded school or one established on the borders of a freshly developed district must necessarily live in a somewhat isolated spot far away from a town and generally with only a few scattered neighbors within reach.

Accommodation is often a difficulty, for though the Government educational authorities may in some instances provide the teacher, the residents of the district are responsible for provision of lodging; and this, in a district possessing perhaps ten or twelve houses within a radius of as many miles is no easy matter. In some cases board and lodging will be arranged in a farmhouse, in others the teacher may have to look after herself in a wooden shack.

 But she will invariably meet with friendliness and kindness on the part of all the inhabitants of the district and find everyone anxious to do all in their power to show their welcome to the school mistress.

A teacher undertaking work amongst the foreign settlers must also realize the greater isolation due to her position as a speaker and teacher of English in the midst of those using another tongue.

A woman proceeding to one of the Western Provinces mentioned, with the intention of taking up educational work, should be prepared to accept a post in any school offered, and not refuse to go to outlying areas or small centers.

Willingness to take whatever is first offered is the only sure method of proving intention to render useful service to the community, and those who have accepted less desirable appointments in the first- instance are likely to receive promotion.

While, therefore, the Commissioners have no wish to minimize the difficulties and drawbacks involved in a teacher's file in such districts, they would give equal prominence to the important opportunity of public service thereby opened to British women capable of undertaking the duties.

To those in whom the spirit of adventure is joined to a desire to assist the extension of British Imperial civilization, the fife of a teacher in these more remote parts of Canada should offer considerable attraction.

No discrimination is made between women of Canadian and British birth in any Province, but inasmuch as, according to regulations, a teacher must qualify by taking a course in the normal school, women from the United Kingdom must be prepared to do the same unless they already possess university degrees, which in some cases are accepted as sufficient qualification.

Salaries vary greatly in different parts of Canada. Generally speaking, those offered in the Maritime Provinces are low compared with those offered farther west.

British governesses are usually in request in private schools in Eastern Canada. While university degrees are in some instances required, they are not always essential, good sound education and a capacity for teaching being more necessary. Women desiring to take up such posts should obtain private introductions to principals of schools in the Dominion before proceeding to Canada.

Particular enquiries were made by the Commissioners as to opportunities for teachers of special subjects, such as sewing and music, but it was ascertained that at present teachers of this kind are seldom employed in public schools.

Women prepared to offer themselves for school teaching in foreign settlement areas, who are also qualified linguists, would probably be regarded as especially valuable applicants.

Chemists' Assistants

Pharmacy is open to women on the same terms as to men, and enquiries showed no prejudice to exist against the employment of women as dispensers or assistants in chemists' shops. It should, however, be understood that a druggist in Canada does not confine his business to the sale of drugs, but also includes all kinds of general articles, such as tobacco and stationery ; an ice-cream and refreshment department being also a frequent addition.

Fully qualified pharmaceutical chemists' diplomas are accepted for registration in Canada, but holders of minor qualifications are registered as "certified clerks" until they pass the examination entitling them to practice as dispensing chemists.

Social and Specialized Domestic Service

The Commissioners are satisfied that there are likely to be openings for a certain number of well-educated women, who after a short training would be fitted by their experience as war service workers to undertake what is now known as social service.

Applications have recently been received at training centers for women capable of being placed in charge of various branches of child welfare work, public health relief agencies, social, pension, medical services, industrial welfare organization, publicity educational work (both Federal and Provincial), and Y.W.C.A. administration. Salaries vary from $600 to $1,000 per annum, according to the degree of responsibility attaching to the post filled.

Scientific housekeeping is a recognized profession in Canada to-day, and women who have taken a course of training in domestic service in the Dominion are generally in demand. Such women are needed as dietitians at military and civil hospitals, public health and educational institutions, college residences and Y.W.C.A. homes.

The type of applicant required for this work is the well- educated woman of over 25 years of age, with good social knowledge and executive ability. The younger woman is not so well suited to undertake duties which demand ability to command others and to hold a position as head of a Department.

Opinion was expressed that women who have acted as administrative officers in the war services in the United Kingdom would be desirable applicants.

The Commissioners were informed by educational authorities that as physical drill was a part of the ordinary curriculum necessary in the training of the Government school teacher, specialists in this subject were seldom required in public schools.

There would appear, however, to be some possibility of trained women being in request in connection with teachers' summer training schools at university centers, and also at recreation centers organized by the Y.W.C.A. in a few of the larger cities.

The Y.W.C.A. Dominion Secretary, Jarvis Street, Toronto, will be glad to hear of qualified women who wish to obtain appointments as games leaders and gymnasium instructors in the Dominion.

Clerks and Stenographers

No extensive demand was found for women clerks or stenographers, but women of sound education capable of undertaking responsible work and well skilled in stenography would be likely to obtain employment in towns, provided they were willing to accept temporary work of other kinds while awaiting their opportunity of being offered the exact employment desired.

A certain demand was reported for stenographers possessing experience in the handling of legal papers, also for women accustomed to professional and commercial accounting and auditing.

More than one employer expressed the opinion that a good stenographer with some experience in one or the other of the latter classes of work,, or possessing business experience, would almost certainly obtain a good situation, as the larger number of applicants from whom the normal supply is drawn are not sufficiently well educated to enable employers to place responsible work in their hands. It should be noted that in the Province of Quebec a knowledge of French is essential.

Women stenographers would be well advised to consult the Oversea Settlement Committee before proceeding to Canada. Private introductions would be useful, but in almost every case a woman, however capable, would have to prove her worth by showing herself willing to undertake any work offered on arrival before she could hope to obtain the higher class of employment.

For this reason she should be provided with sufficient money to support herself for at least a few months after arrival, as though temporary work might be obtained, it is unlikely to be highly remunerative.

First-rate stenographers and clerks of the kind described might expect to obtain $70 to $80 per month from an employer desiring high-class work. But the cost of living in centers where such employment is likely to be found is relatively high for women dependent upon. lodging accommodation and obliged by the nature of their work to take most of their meals at restaurants.

A cost of $50 per month should probably be reckoned for board and lodging in the case of a stenographer earning the above-mentioned salary.

The Minimum Wage Board of British Columbia has recently passed an Order requiring the minimum wages of $15 per week of 48 hours to be paid to stenographers of 18 years of age and over.

Milliners and Dressmakers

Milliners are not advised to settle in Canada except to take up posts arranged before leaving the United Kingdom. The class of millinery usually in vogue in the older country does not correspond to Canadian requirements. Any woman wishing to take up such employment in the Dominion should gain her experience and training in Canada, not in Europe.

Considerable demand was apparent in most parts of Canada for skilled dressmakers, both for those willing to work by the day in private houses and those prepared to take orders for work in their own homes.

It should be realized that the vast majority of Canadian women are accustomed to make their own dresses and are extremely competent in this respect. It would, therefore, be essential that women going from the United Kingdom to Canada with the intention of earning their livelihood in this class of employment should be competent skilled workers.

Those with little training or experience would not be likely to earn a living. Most towns and the more closely settled districts of the Dominion would provide continuous employment for one or two first-class needlewomen of the kind mentioned.

Canadian ladies would be quick to recognize good taste combined with originality in a dressmaker, and to appreciate one clever in alterations or renovations of costumes and blouses. Good plain needlewomen capable of undertaking household mending would also be likely to find employment. But second-rate workers of either kind would not be acceptable.

Any woman intending to seek employment in either of the above-mentioned types of work should obtain private introductions to one or two residents in the locality in which she proposes to settle. It would further be necessary for her to be supplied with sufficient means to pay for board and lodging during the first few months of her residence in Canada.

Business connections require working up after arrival, and no newcomer could expect to obtain continuous employment until she had had an opportunity of proving her skill by accepting occasional engagements from a variety of employers.

The rate of wages quoted for dressmakers varied from $2 to $3 per day of eight hours, with one, sometimes two meals, included. Plain sewers and menders would probably be engaged by the hour and might expect to earn a minimum of 25 cents (say 1s.).

For employees whose hours of work extend over the middle of the day dinner is almost invariably included. It is difficult to estimate the cost of living for such women. Present prices, added to the shortage of housing accommodation, have naturally raised the price of hired rooms to an almost exorbitant figure.

The Commissioners do not advise any British woman, however competent, to invest capital by starting a dressmaking establishment on business lines until she has acquired considerable experience of Canadian life.

Owing to the extremely unsettled conditions of labor it was impossible for the Commissioners to draw any reasoned deductions from enquiries made with regard to factory and shop employment in this class of work for women. They would regard as most unwise any encouragement of women from the United Kingdom, seeking this class of employment to travel to Canada under existing circumstances.

Laundry Work

Canadian housewives habitually arrange for the performance of much of the necessary laundry work within their own homes. In sparsely populated districts this is not only customary, but essential, as no outside laundry exists.

In towns and more closely settled districts the laundry trade is very largely in the hands of the Chinese, though many people have expressed a wish to have laundries established where the work could be done by white women.

There is little doubt that experienced laundry hands would obtain work, but it remembered that the extremes of climate make this form of work much more trying than in the United Kingdom, and competition with the Orientals renders the establishment of white-labor laundries difficult.

Wages paid .to women laundry employees are not high compared with those earned in other forms of labor. During the Commissioners' visit to British Columbia they were informed that the Provincial Minimum Wage Board had recently passed a regulation under which a minimum wage of $12 per week must be paid to laundry women; but, owing to representations made on behalf of the employers, doubt was expressed as to the finality of this regulation.

Telephone Service

There are practically no openings in the telephone service for women from overseas. In the Prairie Provinces the use of the automatic telephone is becoming- common, resulting in abolition of central exchanges and a corresponding decrease in demand for operators.

Women Gardeners

Very little demand exists for gardeners. It is possible that one or two well-qualified women might find employment on the staff of one or other of the agricultural colleges, but no woman should expect to find such a post unless definite arrangements have been made for her employment before leaving the United Kingdom.

The manager of a large horticultural industry in the East of Canada stated that in his opinion a few highly qualified women, with a thorough knowledge of the chemistry of soils, would be valuable in the Dominion, that a small number of assistant gardeners would find employment in the glass houses, and that women who showed special aptitude for the work would have every opportunity for advancement.

Those desiring to take up this class of employment must be prepared to accept subordinate wage-earning posts upon arrival in the Dominion, as only proved ability is likely to induce their appointment to more responsible work.

The Commissioners consider that one or two highly qualified scientific, persevering young women might do valuable pioneer work by establishing a precedent and showing the value and stability of women's work in this connection. As wage-earners engaged in glass houses or garden work women would probably be offered from $1.50 to $2 per day. Advancement to responsible posts would, of course, carry with it a more substantial salary.

Enquiries showed the manufacture of cheese to be carried on almost entirely by a limited number of large firms, whose agents collect the milk from the farmers. In the East the industry is practically exclusively in the hands of the French, and no demand for women cheese makers could be found. Soft cheese making is occasionally carried on in farmhouses, but not to an extent likely to create a demand for wage-earning assistants.

In spite of the demand for inexpensive boarding-houses already alluded to, the Commissioners do not advise settlers from overseas to expend capital in starting these establishments.

Women Farmers and Farm Workers

Women Picking Cherries on the KLO Ranch in Kelowna.

Women Picking Cherries on the KLO Ranch in Kelowna. Canada Today, 1920. GGA Image ID # 14a7a58be8

The climatic differences between the United Kingdom and Canada largely neutralize the value of the experience acquired by women whose knowledge of agriculture is based only on that practiced in the Mother Country.

The rigorous winter, during which little or no cultivation can be carried on in most parts of Canada, results in the engagement of as few permanent laborers as possible, and in all necessary agricultural processes being performed at very high pressure during the open summer months, though this does not apply to every district (the chief exceptions being found in the southern part of British Columbia), it is probably no exaggeration to say that four-fifths of the hired labor on Canadian farms is seasonal.

This fact, carrying with it the necessity of agricultural workers finding an alternative employment during the coldest months of the year, presents difficulties with regard to men which are increased a hundredfold in respect to women.

Almost the only trade to which men turn in winter is that of lumbering, a class of work quite unsuitable for women. In selecting the few permanent wage-earners they employ, farmers are naturally driven to the choice of those whose physique enables them to undertake the hardest work and carry on such duties as are essential upon a farm when the temperature is liable to fall to 20 or 30 degrees below zero.

In such circumstances there can obviously be no question as to the comparative values of men and women. Even in the milder climate of British Columbia, in some districts of which women are in demand as seasonal fruit-pickers, permanent labor is rare, and alternative employment for women, with the exception of domestic service, extremely difficult to obtain.

Again, during the busy months of summer, hired men, though they take their meals at their employers' table, are usually lodged in rough wooden shacks, several men often sharing a two- roomed building.

Such accommodation cannot be adapted to the requirements of women working in combination with men, yet, owing to the customary limited number of rooms in a Canadian farmhouse and absence of laborer's cottages, no alternative mode of lodging exists.

The sparse population of the vast Dominion, compared with the numbers in the United Kingdom, creates special difficulties in connection with the placing of women workers on farms. The isolation of farms in some parts of the Provinces, especially in the Middle West, renders the life of women very lonely.

Principles to be Observed

The Commissioners draw attention to the importance of the following principles to be observed in connection with women who intend to become farmers in Canada: —

  • That they should work as joint owners, in groups of two or three.
  • That holdings taken up should be of such size and class of cultivation as admit being worked by the owners without the necessary assistance of hired male labor.
  • That cultivation of produce of first- class grade only should be the aim of women farmers.
  • That at least one year's practical experience, preferably longer, should be obtained by every intending settler as working wage-earner upon a farm before she decides upon purchase of land.
  • That holders be of robust physique.
  • The vital importance of prospective landholders acquiring a thorough training in business methods, as well as in practical farming.
  • That women settlers should avoid the system in common vogue in Canada of acquiring land by payment of a small fraction only of purchase price, leaving the remainder on mortgage. Even if the rate of interest charged on unpaid moneys is reasonable it is most inadvisable for women holders to start farming by shouldering a load of debt. Without expressing any opinion upon the system of land purchase by instalments, the Commissioners consider that in the case of women holders two-thirds of the purchase price should be regarded as the minimum to be paid before taking possession of a. farm.
  • The types of farming recommended as most suitable for women are: Dairy, fruit (especially soft varieties), poultry, pigs, bees, vegetables, flowers.


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