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No.: GR0036
TITLE: Department of Industries and Labour fonds
CREATOR: Industries and Labour
DATE RANGE: 1948-1959
EXTENT: 43.50 m of textual records
HISTORY/BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH: Dates of Founding and/or Dissolution:
The Department of Industries and Labour was established in 1948, and in 1959 the name was changed to the Department of Labour.

Functional Responsibility:
The Department of Industries and Labour was responsible for administering the laws of the province affecting labour and management, promoting and assisting in maintaining proper relations between employees and employers, and between labour and management; promoting and encouraging the training of qualified workmen in accordance with any approved training plan; considering foreign and Commonwealth labour practices; receiving and reviewing suggestions for changes in the law of the province relating to any matter affecting relations between employees and employers, or between labour and management.

Predecessor and Successor Bodies:
The Alberta Government first articulated a functional responsibility for labour issues under Order in Council in 1922. From 1909 to 1922 the Department of Public Utilities had been managing employment standards on an ad hoc basis. The O.C. created a Commissioner of Labour responsible for administering the Alberta Government Employee Bureau Act, The Act Respecting Employment Offices, The Minimum Wage Act, The Boiler Act, and The Factories Act.

The Commissioner reported to the Minister of the Department of Public Works, and was responsible for licensing and collecting fees from and prescribing rules for moving picture operators, apprentices, and inspecting theatres and operating booths. The Commissioner of Labour's responsibilities remained consistent from when it was part of the Department of Trade and Industry, 1935-1948. The Department of Labour Act moved the Commissioner's Office to the new Department of Labour in 1959. From 1972 to 1975 the Department of Labour, along with the Commissioner of Labour, became the Department of Manpower and Labour. The term manpower was added to the title to reflect the department's new responsibilities.

Beyond industrial relations the department would now oversee programmes to develop a skilled and flexible labour force. In 1975 the name was changed back to the Department of Labour, and the Executive Council transferred manpower duties from Labour to the newly created Department of Advanced Education and Manpower. Legislation dissolved the Department of Labour in 1999, and core functions and responsibilities of the department amalgamated with the Department of Family and Social Services to form the Department of Human Resources and Employment.

Administrative Relationships:
The Minister of the Department of Industries and Labour was a member of the Executive Council and was appointed by the Lieutenant Governor. The Minister of Industries and Labour reported to the Legislative Assembly of the department for which he/she was responsible. Annual reports were submitted to the Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Alberta.

Administrative Structure:
The Department of Industries and Labour had a hierarchical structure. The administrative structure evolved from the Branch's reporting to the Minister to more complex lines which included branches such as the Communications Branch, Finance and Administration Branch, Library Services Branch, Planning and Research Branch, Employment Standards Branch, Mediation Services Branch, Pension Benefits Branch, Boilers and Pressure Vessels Branch, Building Standards Branch, Electrical Protection Branch, Elevator and Fixed Conveyances Branch, Fire Prevention Branch, Plumbing and Gas Safety Services Branch, and the Employee Relations Branch.

Names of Chief Officers:
Ministers of Industries and Labour:
John L. Robinson (SC) (May 8, 1948-October 29, 1953);
Norman A. Willmore (SC) (November 10, 1953-August 1, 1955);
Raymond Reierson (SC) (August 2, 1955-August 31, 1959).

In 1959, the department split to form the Department of Labour and the Department of Industry and Development.

SCOPE AND CONTENT: The fonds consists of three sous-fonds:
  • Bureau of Labour sous-fonds
  • Minimum Wage Board sous-fonds
  • Price Spreads Board sous-fonds
RELATED RECORDS: Records created by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Industries and Labour are included in the fonds of the Department of Manpower and Labour and the Department of Labour, which retained and used these records before their transfer to the Provincial Archives of Alberta.
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