In 1943, with the Second World War raging, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce began (rather optimistically) to plan for the coming peace, and they invited the Waterloo and Kitchener Boards of Trade to participate in an experimental fact-finding survey of Waterloo County (now Waterloo Region), to determine "economic facts about the past and present and the expectations of the future in their district".1
During the war, although there was nearly full employment and people had a lot of money, nearly all manufacturing had been converted to military purposes and consumer goods were scarce; there was nothing for people to spend their money on. The Chamber of Commerce was interested in what goods people intended to buy, so that industry could be properly retooled to produce what people wanted, and so that there would be jobs for returning servicemen and servicewomen.
The plan was to release the findings from and procedures used for the Kitchener-Waterloo Survey, so that other boards of trade could conduct their own surveys; however, no other surveys were ever undertaken.
1 Kitchener-Waterloo Survey, foreword.
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Equally drastic changes have occurred in the farming community surrounding the twin cities; but of a very different character.
Just as insistent have been the demands on the farmer to produce more than ever he produced before, as on the factory management. Both farmer and factory manager were confronted by the same labour problem; in that enlistment into the country's Armed Forces was depleting the labour supply, just when more labour was most urgently needed. But here the parallel ends abruptly.
The farmer could not bring in workers from elsewhere to replace his own sons or the hired man, who had made for the nearest recruiting centre. There was no convenient source of population outside his own neighbourhood, on which to draw for labour. On the contrary, the "suction" of the cities, the demand for more and more help in the nearby factories, affected him at an earlier stage than anyone else; and so the departure of a great many farm workers into the Services was supplemented by the disappearance of others leaving to take jobs in munitions plants.
The result is that, from approximately 2,500 farms in the four townships canvassed, more than 1,200 members of farm families have left in the past four years—or almost one from every second farm; and, in addition, there has been a loss of more than 700 hired men, who had been employed on a permanent basis until war broke out—or not much less than a loss of one hired man from every third farm in the district.
Nevertheless, the demands for increased production from the land have been met. The number of cattle maintained on the farms has been increased appreciably. The hog population has been raised by nearly 35%. Flocks of poultry have been enlarged by 38%. Feed in accordance with these greater needs has been secured. Tillage on the mixed farms, which constitute more than two-thirds of all farms in these townships, has been well maintained.
The response of the farmer has thus been more than adequate. Short-handed, he has worked harder, perhaps, than ever he worked before. But it is clear, too, that the results achieved have involved another heavy cost besides that of unremitting toil. The farmer has achieved his production objectives only by neglecting the maintenance of his farm buildings and equipment continuously during this period of stress. Sooner or later, of course, all such deferred maintenance must be made good, if the farm is to retain its capacity for production.
This condition is vividly reflected in the farmers' post-war purchasing plans, analysed in Chapter VI below. Their prospective post-war expenditures are, at first sight, somewhat impressive. An average outlay per farm of $2,133 means, for the district as a whole, the disbursement by farmers of $5,300,000; and will provide employment, somewhere, literally for thousands of workers.
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POST-WAR PURCHASING PLANS
|House purchase||Current income||
|House Repairs and Additions:||Current Income.||192,477||4,861|
|Bathroom and Plumbing:||Current Income||17,523||10,371|
|Heating Equipment:||Current Income||30,045||13,612|
|Total House Purchase or Improvements:||Current Income.||287,342||43,752|
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BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT CANVASS
4. Former Employees in the Armed Services
|Industrial classification||Sub- classification||In Armed Services Male||In Armed Services Female||Expected to Return Male||Expected to Return Female|
|Furniture and Wood Products||284||3||200||0|
|Steel and Iron Products||421||8||327||6|
|Textiles and Clothing||221||17||179||13|
|Brewing and Distilling||92||0||65||0|
|Leather and Boots and Shoes||186||6||170||6|
|Printing and Publishing||37||0||27||0|
|Transportation and Communications||42||5||32||5|
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