Economy and Labour

This timeline highlights moments related to economy and labour in Canadian history.

Grand Trunk Railway

February 04, 1623

Seigneurial system


Seigneurial System Instituted

The feudal seigneurial system was instituted in New France, when Louis Hébert was granted the fief of Sault-au-Matelot, near Québec. The system was not abolished until 1854.

April 29, 1628


First Use of Plow

Guillaume Couillard-Lespinay, Louis Hébert's son-in-law, was the first person in Canada to use a plow.

August 18, 1634

Port-Royal (Champlain's Drawing)


Champlain's Last Words

Champlain wrote to Richelieu, his last words on record, reporting that he had rebuilt the ruins of Québec and had built an armed trading post at Trois-Rivières. He also noted that several new families had arrived in the area, giving him renewed hope for the survival of settlement in the area.

September 29, 1668



Nonsuch Reaches James Bay

Groseilliers and Zachariah Gillam sailed the ship Nonsuch into James Bay and built Fort Charles at the mouth of the Rupert River.

May 02, 1670


Hudson's Bay Company Founded

King Charles II of England granted a charter to Prince Rupert and his "Company of Adventurers of England trading into Hudson's Bay." The charter granted the company a monopoly of trade in the Bay and ownership of all lands drained by rivers flowing into the Bay. The HBC established an English presence in the Northwest and a competitive route to the fur trade centred on Montréal.

September 23, 1750


First Wage Fixing

A decree enacted at Halifax was the first instance of government wage fixing in Canada; labourers were to receive 18 pence per day and provisions.

April 24, 1779

North West Company


North West Company Formed

The North West Company was formed in Montreal, with 16 shares.

November 05, 1804


XY and NWC Unite

The fur-trading XY and North West companies amalgamated.

June 23, 1810

Fur Trade Exhibition


Pacific Fur Company

The Pacific Fur Company, headed by New York fur dealer John Jacob Astor, was established to trade furs in the Northwest and on the Pacific Coast.

November 03, 1817


Bank of Montreal Founded

The first permanent bank in British North America, the Bank of Montreal, was founded. It became a source of commercial loans and credit for the growing Canadian economy.

March 25, 1820


Bank of New Brunswick

The Bank of New Brunswick was incorporated, and was the first in the colony.

March 21, 1821

Fur Trade Exhibition


Fur Empires Merge

Agreement was reached to merge the North West Company and the Hudson's Bay Company as of June 1, effectively ending the fur trade out of Montréal and creating a near monopoly of the fur trade in British North America.

April 21, 1821


Bank of Upper Canada

The Bank of Upper Canada was incorporated at York (Toronto).

January 01, 1823

One-cent Coin


NS Issues Coinage

Nova Scotia became the first colony to issue coinage.

January 28, 1832


Commercial Bank Incorporated

The Commercial Bank was incorporated in Upper Canada.

March 30, 1832

Bank of Nova Scotia, gates


Bank of Nova Scotia Incorporated

The Bank of Nova Scotia was incorporated.

June 27, 1844


Banque du Peuple Incorporated

Le Banque du Peuple was incorporated at Montréal.

January 13, 1849

Hudson's Bay Company Ships


HBC Leases Vancouver Island

A British lease gave the Hudson's Bay Company exclusive trading rights on Vancouver Island. The company leased the island for 7 shillings a year.

June 26, 1849


British Navigation Acts

The British Navigation Acts were repealed by Britain in a move towards free trade. The acts were considered a burden in Canada.

October 24, 1852


Toronto Stock Exchange

The Toronto Stock Exchange opened.

April 16, 1853

Toronto, Engine No 2 on the Ontario, Simcoe and Huron Railroad


First Locomotive Built in Canada

The Toronto Locomotive Works completed the "Toronto", the first locomotive built in Canada.

February 28, 1857


First Oil Production

The world's first commercial oil production began at Petrolia, Ont, 2 years before the first well in the US.

December 28, 1857


Crown Controls Mineral Rights

Governor James Douglas of Vancouver Island proclaimed the Crown's control of mineral rights on the mainland to ensure it remained under British control after American gold seekers began to descend upon the Fraser River.

May 30, 1858


Hudson's Bay Co Charter Revoked

The Hudson's Bay Co charter to what is now mainland British Columbia was revoked.

August 17, 1862


Largest Strike of Cariboo Gold Rush

The largest gold strike of the Cariboo Gold Rush was discovered on Williams Creek in the Cariboo region of BC.

May 19, 1864


Tenant League

The Tenant League, a militant agrarian movement, was formed in Charlottetown, PEI. It advocated the sale of lands by estate owners to the farmers in actual occupation.

March 17, 1866


US Ends Reciprocity

The US ended reciprocity (free trade) with Canada.

October 01, 1867


Incorporation of the Moosehead Brewery

Moosehead Brewery was incorporated on 1 October 1867, in Nova Scotia. On paper, John Oland was manager of the business, but in reality, his wife Susannah Oland oversaw virtually every aspect of the operations. She supervised the brewing process, undertaken with the help of her three sons. It all started when Susannah supplemented the family income by making beer in their shed, using an old family recipe.

May 15, 1872

Nine Hour March


Nine-hour Day March

Demand for a 9-hour day began on a march in Hamilton, Ont, and spread across Canada, the first unified labour protest in Canada.

October 01, 1876


First Wheat Shipped

The first western Canadian wheat was shipped to Ontario.

March 14, 1879

Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada's First Prime Minister


National Policy Takes Effect

Sir John A. Macdonald's National Policy of protective tariffs came into effect with Tilley's Tariff, averaging 25 per cent on US goods.

September 01, 1879


First Trade Union

The first trade union to be legalized in Canadian coal mines was the Provincial Workmen's Association, organized at Springhill, NS.

September 01, 1882

John Ware, cowboy, rancher


John Ware Comes North

Black cowboy John Ware helped to bring 3,000 head of cattle to the foothills southwest of Calgary. He remained and worked for several of the large cattle companies before starting his own ranch.

March 25, 1886

Nine Hour March


Workman's Compensation Act

The first Workman's Compensation Act was passed in Ontario.

August 08, 1887


Vancouver Lights Up

The Vancouver Electric Illumination Society (later, BC Hydro) started up its steam-powered generating plant - and 300 streetlights went on.

February 07, 1888


Vancouver's Oldest Union Founded

Vancouver's oldest union, Local 226 (Vancouver) of the International Typographical Union, received its charter.

September 03, 1894


Labour Day Celebrated

Labour Day was celebrated nationally for the first time in Canada. The international celebration was inspired by yearly festivities held in Toronto.

September 06, 1897


Crow's Nest Pass Agreement

By the Crow's Nest Pass Agreement, the CPR was given a cash subsidy of $3.3 million, in exchange for reducing rates on grain and flour.

May 04, 1898


Prospectors Arrive in Portland Canal, BC

The first prospectors arrived in Portland Canal, from Seattle. The first gold stakes were claimed the following year, which ultimately led to the establishment of the town of Stewart, BC.

January 26, 1900

Niagara Falls


Niagara Hydro Approved

The Niagara Parks Commission approved a plan to build a massive hydro-electric generating station on the Canadian side of the Niagara River.

July 08, 1900


Fraser River Fishermen's Strikes

Fishermen for 47 salmon canneries on the lower Fraser River struck for a season-long, 25-cent minimum price.

August 14, 1903

Silver Mining


World's Richest Vein of Silver

A claim was filed for what turned out to be the richest silver vein in the world, at Cobalt, Ont, by railway workers. By 1906 there were thousands of prospectors working the area but the boom subsided only 3 years later.

May 14, 1906

Beck, Adam


Ontario Hydro Created

The Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario was created, with Adam Beck as chairman. It was the first publicly owned electric utility in the world.

January 01, 1907


Charles Saunders Develops Marquis Wheat

Charles Edward Saunders completed the development of Marquis wheat, a fast-maturing variety suited to the Prairies. It was first distributed to farmers in 1909 and greatly extended the area in which wheat could be grown. By 1920 it comprised 90% of the wheat grown on the Prairies.

September 06, 1910

Dory Fishing


Newfoundland Regulates Fishery

An international tribunal ruled that Newfoundland may regulate fisheries used not only by Newfoundland fishermen, but also by Americans and Canadians.

October 11, 1910


First Long-distance Transmission

An Ontario Hydro transmission line brought Niagara Falls-generated electricity to Berlin (Kitchener), Ont, the first long-distance transmission of electricity in Canada.

March 12, 1912

Canadian Northern Railway


Fraser River Railway Strikes

Railway workers organized by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) walked out of construction camps on the Canadian Northern line to protest conditions.

September 16, 1912


Vancouver Coal Strike

Miners at Cumberland declared a "holiday" to protest the firing of Oscar Mottishaw. Canadian Collieries locked them out and hired Chinese and recruits from Britain and the US as strikebreakers.

May 14, 1914

Dingman Discovery Well No 1


Oil Discovery at Turner Valley

A major oil discovery at Turner Valley, southwest of Calgary, ushered in the oil age in Alberta.

January 01, 1917


Income Tax Introduced

The Income War Tax Act introduced the first income tax in Canada.

January 01, 1919

Sleeping Car Porters


Order of the Sleeping Car Porters Is Recognized

In January 1919, the Order of Sleeping Car Porters (OSCP), the first Black railway union in North America, was finally recognized. Close to 90 per cent of all Black men in Canada worked in railway jobs, which were severely underpaid and had abysmal working conditions.

March 13, 1919


One Big Union

The Western Labour Conference of four western provinces agreed to form the One Big Union.

May 01, 1919

Winnipeg General Strike


Sympathy Strike In Alberta

Two thousand workers in Edmonton and Calgary went on strike in support of the strikers in the Winnipeg General Strike.

May 15, 1919

Winnipeg General Strike


Winnipeg General Strike Begins

The Winnipeg General Strike, the largest strike in Canadian history, occurs. Between May 15 and June 25, more than 30,000 workers leave their jobs. The strike does not immediately improve job conditions, but it unites Canada’s working class.

June 06, 1919



Canadian National Railways Incorporated

Canadian National Railways was incorporated. It became the longest railway system in North America, controlling more than 50 000 km of track in Canada and the US.

August 17, 1923


Bank Fails

The Home Bank of Montreal failed, the first chartered bank to do so since the Farmer's Bank in 1911.

October 08, 1923


Longshore Strikes

The 1400 members of the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) in Vancouver struck for higher wages.

June 26, 1925



Drumheller Strike

A violent confrontation between police and strikers effectively ended the strike of the miners in Drumheller, Alta.

November 28, 1925


Eaton's Parade (Montreal)

Eaton's held its first Christmas parade in Montréal, with 1100 children participating. The parade route ran from Saint Joseph Blvd to the store on Sainte Catherine Street. It became an annual event and was held on the third Saturday of November until 1968.

January 19, 1926


Death of Charles Johnson

Charles Gardiner Johnson, known as "the father of Vancouver's shipping industry," died at Vancouver. He arrived in Vancouver broke in 1885 and worked as a labourer.

July 01, 1926


Canada Back on Gold Standard

Canada was restored to the gold standard.

October 29, 1926

Don Garcia at the ILWU convention, 1976


Birth of Trade Unionist Don Garcia

Don Garcia was a prominent figure in the labour movement. He served multiple terms as president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Canadian Area. He was also an executive of both the BC Federation of Labour and the Vancouver Port Corporation (National Harbours Board), and a founding member of the Western Transportation Advisory Council (WESTAC). He was involved in union work for 45 years.

October 24, 1929


The Stock Market Crash of 1929

The collapse of the American stock market begins the Great Depression, which ravages the Canadian economy during the “Dirty Thirties.” Life is especially harsh in the Prairies, where drought worsens conditions. The crisis inspires the creation of social welfare programs.

October 29, 1929


Black Tuesday

On Wall Street, over 16 million shares were sold, up almost four million from Black Thursday's unprecedented totals just five days before. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted, eliminating a strong year's gains, and the investment giant Goldman Sachs was reduced to barely 50 per cent of its worth the night before. The Great Depression of the 1930s followed.

May 16, 1930



LaBine Finds Uranium

Prospector Gilbert LaBine discovered pitchblende, the chief source of uranium and radium, at Great Bear Lake, NWT.

September 08, 1931


Estevan Strike

Coal miners at Estevan, Sask, went on strike for union recognition. On September 29 three strikers were killed in a clash with the RCMP.

September 14, 1933


Strike in Stratford, Ont

Furniture workers and meat packers went on strike in Stratford, Ont. Troops and armoured cars were moved into the town on September 27.

June 11, 1934


Strike in Flin Flon

Miners in Flin Flon, Man, went on strike.

March 11, 1935


Bank of Canada Opens

The Bank of Canada began operations.

April 04, 1935


First Silver Dollar

Canada's first silver dollar coin was minted, to be released to the public on May 1.

April 23, 1935


Riot Act Read in Victory Square

Vancouver's mayor Gerry McGeer read the Riot Act in Victory Square to disperse a large crowd of protesting unemployed.

June 18, 1935


Battle of the Ballantyne Pier

Mounted police charged 1000 longshoremen in Vancouver during a strike lockout in the "Battle of the Ballantyne Pier."

August 31, 1935


Closure of Anyox Mill

The mill at Anyox on the north coast closed. The silver, gold and copper mine had ceased operations a month earlier and Anyox became a ghost town.

April 08, 1937

General Motors Strike


Oshawa Strike

More than 4000 workers of the huge General Motors plant in Oshawa, Ont, struck. GM accepted many of the union's demands, without recognizing the union.

August 20, 1937


Miramichi Strike

1500 millworkers and longshoremen along the Miramichi River in northern New Brunswick struck at 14 lumber firms for increased wages.

May 20, 1938


Relief Workers' Strike in BC

Unemployed members of the Relief Project Worker's Union in Vancouver occupied the Hotel Georgia, the Vancouver Art Gallery and the central post office and began a sit-down strike.

June 19, 1938


Bloody Sunday

A violent confrontation between protesters and the RCMP and city police erupted in Vancouver. Estimates indicate that 42 people were hospitalized, including five police officers, after a brutal fight between law enforcement and those protesting government cuts to unemployment relief camps earlier that year.

September 03, 1939


Wartime Prices and Trade Board

The Wartime Prices and Trade Board was established to control inflation and to ensure that social unrest did not interfere with the upcoming war effort.

July 24, 1941


Arvida Strike

Some 700 workers in the Aluminium Company of Canada (Alcan) in Arvida, Qué, spontaneously walked off the job. The next day the strike spread to 4500 workers.

July 20, 1942

Sicily, 1943


Veterans' Land Act

The Veterans' Land Act made provision for returning veterans to obtain loans in order to buy land.

June 02, 1944


Local 480 Certified

At Trail, Local 480 of the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers was certified.

May 18, 1945

Sleeping Car Porters


Black Labourers Gain Protection from Arbitrary Dismissal

After nearly seven decades of unionization efforts, Black porters won a collective agreement that, for the first time, protected Black labourers from arbitrary dismissal. As a result of increased salaries and paid vacations, many porters became financially secure for the first time.

September 12, 1945


Windsor Strike

The walkout of some 17 000 workers at the Ford Motor Co in Windsor was the first and most significant of the many strikes occurring immediately after WWII.

January 29, 1946


Rand Formula

Mr Justice Ivan Rand of the Supreme Court of Canada handed down a decision based on the assumption that a union is essential for all workers and must be responsible for them.

May 15, 1946


BC Woodworkers' Strike

The International Woodworkers of America initiated a nationwide, postwar strike wave of Canadian Congress of Labour (CCL) affiliates. Twenty-seven thousand workers in both the coast and interior regions of BC went on strike.

February 13, 1947

Leduc oil discovery


Hunter Strikes Oil at Leduc

Vern "Dry Hole" Hunter struck oil near Leduc, Alberta. The discovery ended a long decline in the Alberta oil industry, began an era of prosperity for the province and spared Canada dependence on foreign oil.

February 14, 1949

Reading of the Riot Act, 1949


Asbestos Strike

Some 5000 miners paralysed major asbestos mines in Québec for 4 months. The brutality of the police repression brought a wave of solidarity, supported by the Catholic Church, that showed that the labour movement could confront Duplessis.

August 22, 1950


National Rail Strike

A national rail strike caused one of the most serious transport crises in Canadian history.

April 24, 1952

Dingman Discovery Well No 1


First Alberta Oil in Ontario

The first shipment of oil from Alberta arrived in Ontario via pipeline and freighter.

December 07, 1953


First Foreign Bank

The Mercantile Bank of Canada began operations; it was the first foreign-owned bank to be incorporated in Canada.

September 19, 1955


General Motors Strike Begins

Some 17 000 General Motors auto workers in Ontario began a lengthy strike that did not end until 14 February 1956.

February 14, 1956

Day of Protest


GM Strike Ends

A 148-day strike by 17 000 General Motors employees ended.

April 23, 1956


Canadian Labour Congress

At a Toronto convention, the Trades and Labor Congress of Canada merged with the Canadian Congress of Labour to form the Canadian Labour Congress, as of May 1.

May 08, 1956


Pipeline Debate

A bill to provide an $80 million loan to TransCanada PipeLines was introduced in the House of Commons. The government invoked closure at each stage of the Pipeline Debate, the first time it had been used in this way.

March 10, 1957

Jean Marchand


Murdochville Strike

Workers of Gaspé Copper Mines in Murdochville, Qué, struck for the right to unionize. The conflict lasted 7 months.

December 31, 1958


Newfoundland Loggers Strike

Hundreds of loggers employed by the Anglo-Newfoundland Development Co. at Grand Falls struck for wage increases and for improvements in living conditions at wood camps. Premier Joseph Smallwood intervened on 12 February 1959.

February 03, 1961

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce


Formation of the CIBC

The government approved the merger of the Canadian Bank of Commerce and the Imperial Bank of Canada, forming the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

May 08, 1961


Pattison Opens Car Dealership

Jim Pattison opened his first car dealership, Jim Pattison Ltd, located on Cambie Street in Vancouver. In 1987 Pattison was awarded the Order of Canada, and in 1990, the Order of British Columbia.

July 13, 1961


Coyne Forced to Resign

The governor of the Bank of Canada, James Elliott Coyne, was forced to resign by the Diefenbaker government over fiscal and monetary policy disagreements.

September 01, 1961


Drilling Begins in the Arctic

The first oil-drilling rig in the Arctic was unloaded in preparation for drilling on Melville Island.

May 02, 1962


Canadian Dollar Pegged

The Canadian dollar was officially pegged at 92.5¢ US, creating the perception of an economic crisis.

July 06, 1962


Société Générale de Financement

The Québec government formed Société générale de financement (SGF) to facilitate industrial development in Québec.

June 03, 1963


Fisheries Zone Established

The government decided to establish a 22.2 km (12 nautical miles) exclusive fisheries zone off the Canadian coast, to begin in May 1964.

July 22, 1963

Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism


B&B Commission Formed

The Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism was announced, to be chaired by André Laurendeau and Arnold Davidson Dunton.

August 02, 1963


Economic Council Established

The Economic Council of Canada was established, with John J. Deutsch appointed chairman.

July 16, 1964


Fishing Limit Extended

A bill extending Canada's fishing limits to 22.2 km (12 nautical miles) received royal assent.

November 18, 1964


Lead-zinc Shipped from NWT

The first shipment of lead-zinc ore left Pine Point, NWT, destined for smelters in Trail and Kimberley, BC, over the recently completed Great Slave Lake Railway.

January 16, 1965


Canada-US Automotive Agreement

Prime Minister Pearson and President Johnson signed the Canada-US Automotive Agreement, a conditional free-trade agreement to create a single North American market for passenger cars, trucks, buses, tires and automotive parts.

February 25, 1965

Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism


Preliminary B&B Report

The preliminary report of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism was tabled in the House of Commons.

July 01, 1965


Canadian Labour Code Effective

The Canadian Labour Code came into effect for all government employees.

July 22, 1965


Postal Strike

About 10 000 postal workers in Ontario, Québec and BC struck for higher wages.

January 14, 1967


Teachers' Strike in Québec

Hundreds of schools in Montréal and Trois-Rivières were closed when Catholic elementary and secondary teachers went on strike. The strike ended with the passage of the Québec government's controversial Bill 25 on February 17.

December 05, 1967

Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism


B&B Report Released

The first volume of the report of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism was released.

May 14, 1968

Toronto Dominion Centre


TD Centre Opens

The tallest building in Canada to that date, the 56-storey Toronto Dominion Centre in Toronto, was opened. It was designed by Mies van der Rohe.

July 18, 1968


Nationwide Postal Strike

A nationwide postal strike involved 24 000 workers.

September 28, 1968


Powerhouse Unveiled

BC premier W.A.C. Bennett opened the Dr Gordon M. Shrum Powerhouse of the $485 million Peace River hydro-electric project at Hudson's Hope, BC.

December 09, 1968

Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism


Second B&B Report Released

The second report of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism recommended that all children in Canadian schools be required to study the second official language.

February 19, 1969


18-Month Strike Ends

The 18-month-old rotating strikes of 70 000 Québec teachers ended when Montréal judge René Lippé was appointed mediator in the dispute.

May 29, 1970

Lower Fort Garry


Hudson's Bay Co Moved

The Hudson's Bay Company head office moved from London, England, to Winnipeg.

October 04, 1971


Oil Discovered on Sable Island

Oil and natural gas were discovered on Sable Island.

October 27, 1971

Presse, La, Strike


La Presse Strike

Strikers forced La Presse to close down. Two days later, the unions defied a municipal ban to organize a huge march in solidarity with the newspaper workers. More than 12 000 people clashed with 100 Montréal policemen.

January 01, 1972


Capital Gains Tax in Effect

The Capital Gains Tax came into effect.

January 30, 1972


Bloody Sunday Riots

In Londonderry, Northern Ireland, British soldiers shot 13 civilians during riots that followed an illegal march - known as "Bloody Sunday."

February 24, 1972

Ellesmere Island


Oil Discovered on Ellesmere Island

Panarctic Oils Ltd announced the first discovery of oil in the Arctic, on Ellesmere Island.

February 25, 1972


Pickering Station Opened

The Pickering nuclear power plant officially opened, the largest single electricity producer in the world.

February 27, 1972

Deep-Sea Dragger


Fisheries Agreement

France, Britain, Portugal and Denmark agreed by treaty to gradually eliminate their traditional and treaty fishing rights in eastern Canadian waters.

April 11, 1972


Public Service Strike

More than 200 000 Québec public service employees went on strike, the largest strike in Canadian history.

April 24, 1972

Fishing Vessels


Fishing Ban

The federal government banned fishing off the New Brunswick coast and the area around Port aux Basques, Nfld, to conserve dwindling fish stocks.

May 29, 1972

Fish, Marine


Ban on Fishing off Gaspé

Québec banned fishing off the Gaspé Peninsula due to low fish stocks.

June 16, 1972

Churchill Falls, Labrador


Churchill Falls Opens

The Churchill Falls power project opened, the largest single-site hydro-electric project in the world.

July 14, 1972


Donald Macdonald Heads Union

Donald Macdonald, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, was elected president of the 91-nation International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, the first non-European to hold the position.

November 23, 1972


Access to Credit Agency

Ontario introduced legislation to allow individuals access to credit agency information banks.

February 01, 1973


Bouey Succeeds Rasminsky

Gerald Bouey succeeded Louis Rasminsky as Governor of the Bank of Canada.

October 10, 1973

Oil Refinery


Come by Chance Refinery Opens

The $120 million oil refinery at Come by Chance, Nfld, opened.It included a CNR spur track, and a deep-water oil terminal.

October 17, 1973


OPEC Raises Price of Oil

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries raised the price of oil by 70%.

December 07, 1973


CANDU Deal with South Korea

Canada sold a CANDU reactor to South Korea.

January 01, 1974


Stock Exchanges Merge

The Canadian Stock Exchange merged with the Montréal Stock Exchange.

May 22, 1974


Canada Suspends Nuclear Exports

The Canadian government suspended shipments of all nuclear equipment and materials to India, after India's detonation of a nuclear device.

February 04, 1975

Ariel view of oil sands, Alberta


Oil Sands Development

The Alberta, Ontario and federal governments agreed to invest $600 million in the Syncrude Canada project to develop the Athabasca oil sands near Fort McMurray, Alberta.

October 03, 1975


Wage and Price Controls

Ottawa implemented wage and price controls in response to the exceptionally high inflation rates of 1974-75.

October 07, 1975


BC Government Enacts Back-to-work Legislation

David Barrett's NDP government enacted sweeping back-to-work legislation, ending a series of labour disputes in BC's forestry, pulp, food and propane industries.

January 14, 1976

Timothy Eaton, businessman


Eaton's Disbands Catalogue

Eaton's shut down its catalogue sales operations.

January 28, 1976

Potash Mine


Saskatchewan Takes Over Potash

Saskatchewan passed legislation to take over the potash industry.

March 12, 1976

Oil Refinery


Come by Chance Bankrupt

The Come by Chance, Nfld, refinery declared bankruptcy. It was sold to Petro-Canada and then in 1986 to the province for $1.

April 15, 1976

Beaufort Sea


Dome Gets Drilling Approval

Cabinet gave Dome Petroleum final approval to drill for oil in the Beaufort Sea.

August 30, 1976


Manitoba Liquor Commission Fined

The Manitoba Liquor Commission was fined $300 000 for violating wage and price controls, the first provincial agency fined for this.

October 14, 1976

Day of Protest


Day of Protest

On the "Day of Protest," over one million Canadian Labour Congress members staged a one-day strike against wage and price controls.

April 11, 1977


Berger Issues Mackenzie Report

Justice Thomas Berger issued his final report of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry and recommended a 10-year moratorium for the project.

September 06, 1979


First Gold Coin on Sale

Canada's first gold bullion coin went on sale.

October 27, 1979

La Grande Rivière


First Power From James Bay

The first hydro-electric power was generated at James Bay.

October 06, 1980


Québec-Newfoundland Power Deal

The Québec government approved the signing of a 40-year agreement between Hydro-Québec and the British Newfoundland Corp that allowed Québec to buy power from the Churchill Falls hydro-electric project in Labrador.

October 28, 1980


National Energy Program

The Liberal government of Pierre Trudeau introduced the National Energy Program, aimed at increasing energy self-sufficiency.

September 01, 1981

Peter Lougheed


Energy Pricing Deal

Alberta premier Peter Lougheed and PM Pierre Trudeau signed an energy-pricing agreement.

October 16, 1981


Canada Post Corporation Created

The Canada Post Corporation was created as a Crown corporation and successor to the embattled Post Office Department, which had faced criticism over service and fiscal performance.

November 17, 1983


Western Grain Transportation Act

The Western Grain Transportation Act was passed (effective 1 January 1984). It allowed grain-shipping costs to increase gradually, but never to exceed 10% of the world price for grain.

December 19, 1984


Hong Kong Invests in Vancouver

The signing of the Chinese-British Joint Declaration mandating the return of Hong Kong to China in 1997 began to cause a flow of Hong Kong capital and immigration into Vancouver.

February 11, 1985

Brian Mulroney


Atlantic Accord Signed

Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Newfoundland premier Brian Peckford signed the Atlantic Accord, an offshore energy agreement to develop the province's offshore petroleum resources.

September 29, 1985


Bank Inquiry Announced

The federal government announced an inquiry, headed by Supreme Court Justice Willard Estey, to investigate the failures of the Calgary-based Northland Bank and Edmonton's Canadian Commercial Bank.

May 01, 1986

Shirley Carr, political activist


Shirley Carr Becomes President

Shirley Carr replaced Dennis McDermott as president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the first woman to hold the position.

June 26, 1986


Softwood Lumber Dispute

The International Trade Commission determined that Canadian policies had injured US producers in the softwood lumber dispute.

January 05, 1990

Fishing Vessels, St. John's


Fish Plants Closed

Fishery Products International announced plans to close three Newfoundland fish plants, thereby eliminating 1,300 jobs.

January 24, 1990


GST Introduced

In the House of Commons, the federal government introduced legislation to impose its controversial Goods and Services Tax (GST).

March 27, 1995


Bell Announces Cuts

Bell Canada announced that it would cut 10 000 jobs, 22% of its total workforce.

March 27, 1995


Rail Strike Ends

Parliament passed back-to-work legislation, forcing some 30 000 rail workers to return to their jobs. The strike had begun on March 18 and was having severe economic repercussions.

June 06, 1995

Powell, Hugo


Labatt Sold to Belgians

John Labatt Ltd, Canada's second-largest brewery, was sold to SA of Belgium for $2.7 billion.

September 06, 1995


Sell-off of Petro-Canada

The federal government announced that it would sell off most of its holdings in Petro-Canada.

December 19, 1995



Happy Chickens

Alberta chicken producer Rod Chernos was honoured by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. He believed "a happy chicken is a tasty one."

January 15, 1996

Busang Gold Property


Bre-X Gold Increases Claims

Bre-X announced that its deposits of gold at Busang, Indonesia, contained 30 million ounces of gold.

January 22, 1996


Molson Sells Diversity

Molson, Canada's largest brewery, announced the sale of its chemical unit, Diversity Corp, to Unilever for $780 million.

January 29, 1996


Ontario Gains Fiscal Controls

The province of Ontario passed a Bill giving the government sweeping powers to overhaul fiscal policy and social services programs.

February 19, 1996


New $2 Coin

The new two-dollar coin was introduced by the Royal Canadian Mint to replace the two-dollar bank note. The name "toonie" became so popular that the mint trademarked it.

July 25, 1996


Potato Fungus Hits Crops

A new strain of the potato fungus responsible for the Irish potato famine of the mid-19th century destroyed potato crops across eastern Canada.

October 13, 1996

Bombardier Global Express


New Bombardier Jet Flies

Bombardier's new Global express business jet made its first test flight.

January 27, 1997

Huntington Copper Mine


Wage Gap Still Evident

StatsCan reported that the wage gap between women and men had narrowed to an average of 73%.

February 14, 1997

Pulp and Paper Industry


Paper Giants Unite

Abitibi-Price and Stone-Consolidated announced a $2.3 billion merger, creating the world's largest newsprint producer.

February 18, 1997

Paul Martin


Martin's 1997 Budget

Paul Martin's federal budget continued the course to balance the federal budget but also included modest increases in spending on social programs.

March 19, 1997

Busang Gold Property


Bre-X Geologist Dies

Bre-X Geologist Michael de Guzman died in mysterious circumstances in Indonesia, either jumping or being pushed from a helicopter.

May 30, 1997


Bombardier Sells Jets

Ohio-based Comair agreed to purchase 30 Canadair Regional Jets from Bombardier for $600 million with an option for a further $600 million.

June 02, 1997


Trading of Bre-X Halted

The Ontario Securities Commission halted the sale of Bre-X shares.

July 19, 1997


Fishermen Blockade Ferry

A group of disgruntled Canadian fishermen blockaded an Alaskan ferry to protest the overfishing of Pacific salmon by Alaskan fishermen.

August 12, 1997


Nuclear Reactors Shut Down

Ontario Hydro, North America's largest electric utility, announced that it would shut down the 7 oldest of its 19 nuclear reactors: 3 at the Bruce facility on lake Huron and 4 at Pickering on lake Ontario.

October 27, 1997


Teachers Strike in Ontario

Five unions representing 126 000 teachers went on strike in Ontario, the largest teacher strike ever in north America. The teachers protested reforms put forward by the Mike Harris government. The strike ended Nov 7.

November 17, 1997



Hibernia Produces First Barrel

Newfoundland's Hibernia offshore drilling platform pumped its first barrel of oil.

January 26, 1998


Energy Merger

TransCanada Pipelines and NOVA Corp announced plans to merge, the largest merger in Canada's energy sector, amounting to $14 billion.

February 06, 1998


HBC Buys Kmart

The Hudson's Bay Company announced that it plans to buy the Canadian division of Kmart for $240 million.

February 24, 1998

Paul Martin


Martin Balances Budget

Finance Minister Paul Martin introduced the government's first balanced budget in 30 years. The $151 billion budget included a new $2.5 billion education fund.

May 11, 1999


Chevron Announces Gas Find

Chevron Canada of Calgary announced that explorers had found one of the largest natural gas deposits in Canada near the town of Fort Liard, NWT.

August 20, 1999


T. Eaton Co Files for Bankruptcy

The T. Eaton Company filed for bankruptcy, terminating all 13 000 employees.

October 14, 1999


Mundell Wins Nobel Prize

Canadian-born US resident Robert Mundell won the Nobel Prize for Economics for his work on monetary dynamics and optimum currency areas.

December 31, 1999


Sable Island Gas Flows

The construction of three offshore platforms off Sable Island was completed and the first natural gas began to flow through a submarine pipeline to mainland Nova Scotia.

June 17, 2000

Seagram Museum


Seagram Merges With Vivendi

Seagram announced that it would merge with France's Vivendi, creating a global media giant to compete with the American company AOL. The merger ended the Bonfmans' control over Seagram.

August 15, 2000

Cowpland, Michael


Cowpland Resigns

Michael Cowpland resigned from Corel, the company he founded in 1985, to work with new companies developing programs to run on the Linux operating system. He remained the primary shareholder of Corel.

July 09, 2001


Bombardier Wins Contract

Bombardier announced that it had won a $2.6 billion contract to supply 75 regional jets to Northwest Airlines in the US.

August 10, 2001


Softwood Lumber Duty Imposed

The United States Commerce Department announced that it would impose a 19.3% duty on Canadian softwood lumber. Canadians vowed to fight the unfair measure.

April 12, 2005



Chinese Begin Investing in Alberta’s Oil Sands

China National Offshore Oil Corp (or CNOOC) is the first Chinese company to invest in Alberta’s oil sands with the purchase of a 16.7 per cent share of MEG Energy Corp. China's two other state-controlled oil companies, PetroChina and Sinopec, would also purchase shares in other oil sand companies by 2009.

January 27, 2009

Stephen Harper


Conservative Budget Released

Finance minister Jim Flaherty formally announced the terms of the new Conservative budget, promising tax cuts and savings and increased spending on infrastructure to assist Canadians through the economic recession.

April 12, 2010

Ariel view of oil sands, Alberta


Chinese Oil Producer Buys Shares in Syncrude

Sinopec Corp, China's second-largest oil producer, paid $4.65 billion for a 9.03 per cent share of Syncrude. The purchase more than doubled that country’s presence in Alberta's oil sands since its companies began investing there in 2005.

February 05, 2013


Small Hydropower Plant Program in Québec Ends

The PQ government under Pauline Marois announced the end of the Small Hydropower Plant Program created by the former Liberal government.

July 15, 2013


Loblaw Buys Shoppers Drug Mart

In a massive, $12.4-billion deal, Loblaw, the largest Canadian grocery chain, purchased Shoppers Drug Mart, the nation's largest chain of pharmacies.

January 30, 2015


Right to Strike Upheld by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of Canada decided that the right to strike was constitutionally protected under the freedom of association clause of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The ruling struck down a Saskatchewan law that allowed government to prevent workers in essential services from striking.

April 15, 2015


Wheat Board Sold

The Canadian Wheat Board was privatized in a federal-government sale to US and Saudi interests for $250 million.

February 03, 2017


Death of Roy Heenan

Roy Heenan, founding partner of the law firm Heenan Blaikie and an Officer of the Order of Canada, died at the age of 81.

February 06, 2017


Death of David Culver

Former Alcan CEO David Culver, a Companion of the Order of Canada and Officer of l'Ordre national du Québec, died at the age of 92.

February 19, 2017


Death of Bob White

Labour leader Bob White died in Kincardine, Ontario. Among his many achievements as a union organizer, White was the founding president of the Canadian Auto Workers union. In 1990, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.

April 20, 2017


Death of Craufurd Goodwin

Craufurd Goodwin, a historian and professor of economics who graduated from McGill University, died at the age of 82.

June 12, 2017


Death of Robert Campeau

Franco-Ontarian entrepreneur Robert Campeau, a real estate mogul who once controlled US department stores Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, died in Ottawa at the age of 93.

October 01, 2017


Moosehead Brewery celebrates 150 years

Moosehead Brewery celebrates 150 years in 2017. It is the oldest family-owned brewing company in Canada. At the time of its incorporation on 1 october 1867, Susannah Oland spearheads the company, overseeing virtually every aspect of the operation, supervising the brewing process (an old family recipe) with the help of her three sons.

October 05, 2017

Gas pipeline construction

Natural Resources 

Energy East Pipeline Project Cancelled

TransCanada announced that it had cancelled plans to build the Energy East pipeline, which would have carried crude oil from Alberta and Saskatchewan to refineries in Québec and New Brunswick. From there, oil would have been exported to other countries. The company cited changing market conditions and delays in assessments carried out by the National Energy Board as reasons for its decision. The project’s supporters, including premiers Rachel Notley and Brad Wall, expressed disappointment and criticized the federal government’s approach to the review process. Energy East’s opponents, including municipalities in Québec and Indigenous communities along the proposed path of the pipeline, hailed it as a victory.

November 15, 2017

Viola Desmond


2017 Canada's Walk of Fame inductees

The 2017 inductees of Canada's Walk of Fame are Donovan Bailey, Stompin' Tom Connors, Viola Desmond, Anna Paquin, Ted Rogers and David Suzuki.

January 08, 2019

Trans Mountain pipeline protest

Natural Resources 

RCMP Arrest 14 People at BC Pipeline Protest

Enforcing a BC Supreme Court injunction that was passed in December, RCMP officers entered a roadblock south of Houston, BC, and arrested 14 members of the Wet'suwet'en Nation. The protestors had been preventing workers from Coastal GasLink, a subsidiary of TransCanada Corp., from entering the area on the grounds that they did not have the consent of hereditary leaders to build a pipeline carrying natural gas from Dawson Creek to Kitimat. The following day, protests were held in cities across Canada in a show of support for the Wet'suwet'en Nation. 

February 12, 2019

Ontario Provincial Court House


Ontario Police Free 43 People from Human Trafficking Ring

Forty-three Mexican men aged 20 to 46, who had paid traffickers to bring them to Canada so they could seek education and employment opportunities, were forced to work as hotel cleaners in Collingwood, Innisfil, Oro-Medonte and Cornwallfor less than $50 a month. The traffickers were not arrested or charged with any crimes. The victims were all offered employment and lodging at a local resort.

February 19, 2019

Duvernay pipeline

Natural Resources 

“United We Roll” Convoy Advocates for Energy Sector Support

A convoy of almost 200 vehicles that left Red Deer, Alberta, on 14 February arrived in Ottawa, where it held pro-oil and pro-pipeline protests against the Trudeau government.  A GoFundMe page helped raise more than $130,000 to support the convoy.

December 09, 2021


Food Prices to Increase 5–7 Per Cent, Study Finds

Canada’s Food Price Report, compiled by researchers at several Canadian universities, predicted that food prices in Canada would increase by 5–7 per cent in 2022. The report also projected that prices at restaurants would rise by 6–8 per cent and that the average family of four would spend up to $14,767 on food.

December 15, 2021


Inflation Indicator at 18-Year High

Statistics Canada announced that Canada’s inflation rate in November was 4.7 per cent. This was the second month in a row that the inflation rate was the highest since 2003. The increase was consistent with a global trend. The United States, for example, had an inflation rate of 6.8 per cent — the highest in almost 40 years.