Hardship and Upheaval

The 1930s and ’40s were a time of important social, political, and economic change in Canada.

The onset of the Great Depression in 1929 plunged millions of Canadians into poverty and unemployment. Depression was replaced by war in 1939. Across the country, major industries retooled to make war-related products, such as those produced at Hamilton’s Westinghouse. Many Canadians signed up to serve overseas. High unemployment was replaced by chronic labour shortages and a wave of militant unionization and strikes after the war.