National Resources Mobilization Act
|National Resources Mobilization Act, 1940|
|An Act to confer certain powers on the Governor in Council for the mobilization of resources in the present war|
|Citation||4 George VI, Chap. 13|
|Enacted by||Parliament of Canada|
|Date assented to||June 21, 1940|
The National Resources Mobilization Act, 1940 (4 George VI, Chap. 13) was a statute of the Parliament of Canada passed to provide for better planning of a much greater Canadian war effort, both overseas and in military production at home.
Modelled on the British Emergency Powers (Defence) Act 1939, as amended in 1940, it gave the Canadian government the power to
do and authorize such acts and things, and make from time to time such orders and regulations, requiring persons to place themselves, their services and their property at the disposal of His Majesty in right of Canada, as may be deemed necessary or expedient for securing the public safety, the defence of Canada, the maintenance of public order, or the efficient prosecution of the war, or for maintaining supplies or services essential to the life of the community.
This was the basis of all organization for Canada's war production.
Preparation for military readiness
In order to prepare the population for military service, provision was made under the Act for:
- compulsory national registration
- restricting men eligible for military service from obtaining civilian employment in positions considered not to be essential to the war effort, so that women, and men who had been discharged from service or who were ineligible for service, could be hired instead
- requiring men to submit to medical treatment in order to be called up for military service
The Act was also used to ensure greater efficiency that was required in a wartime economy by:
- requiring employers to report who their employees were
- barring agricultural workers, after March 23, 1942, from obtaining non-agricultural employment (other than in primary industry, active service or military training) without permission
- from June 17, 1942, requiring any worker to obtain a permit before he or she could start working for an employer, and such permission could be refused
- from September 1, 1942, instituting a national system of employment control under the National Selective Service Regulations, 1942, so that no-one could seek a new job without possessing a permit to do so, no employer could advertise for workers without permission, no-one was allowed to be out of work for more than seven days, and anyone could be required to apply for any available full-time suitable work of high or very high labour priority and to accept any such work offered to him. In conjunction with these measures, the Wartime Prices and Trade Board restricted non-essential industrial activity to the minimum needed for civilian requirements (although tensions existed between the Board and the National Selective Service).
- issuing Compulsory Employment Transfer Orders, compelling certain classes of men to engage in essential employment, and requiring their current employers to release them for that purpose, during several stages in 1943:
|Order||Age or status||In stated industries||Or in stated occupations|
|1st Order (May 19, 1943)||
|2nd Order (June 15, 1943)||
|3rd Order (July 15, 1943)||
|4th Order (July 23, 1943)||
|5th Order (August 3, 1943)||
|6th Order (September 3, 1943)||
|7th Order (November 29, 1943)||
- From September 1, 1943, employers in high-priority industries were prohibited from releasing any of their employees, and such employees were barred from giving notice of separation, without the written permission of a National Selective Service officer, and such controls continued until September 17, 1945.
Nature of conscription
The Act permitted conscripts (known as "R men" or "zombies") to be used for home defence only and not to be deployed overseas. The "Zombies" were so-called because they were soldiers who could not fight overseas, making them like the zombies of Haitian mythology who were neither dead nor alive, but rather somewhere in-between. The first overseas campaign that NRMA recruits were involved in was the recapture of the island of Kiska in August 1943, as the government determined that using conscripts for the defence of North America was within the meaning of the Act. Until November 1944, only those Canadians who had volunteered were sent overseas. The rule prohibiting "Zombies" from being sent to fight overseas was modified in August 1942 to permit the government to send conscripts overseas, after a plebiscite was held on the matter on 27 April 1942 where the majority of people in 8 English-speaking provinces voted to release Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King from his promise not to send the Zombies overseas. Quebec voted by a large majority against oversees conscription in the referendum. Such an order, authorizing the transfer of 16,000 conscripts to England, was not made until November 1944. This precipitated the Conscription Crisis of 1944, and resulted in several Quebec Liberal MPs leaving the party in protest. 9,667 NRMA recruits were sent to England, of which two-thirds only arrived after V-E Day.
The Zombies were widely disliked and regarded as cowards by the men who had volunteered for overseas service. The Zombies wore a black tie and collared shirt as part of their uniform while volunteers for overseas duties did not. In April 1945 when the men of the 1st Canadian Army were informed that henceforth they would now wear the Zombie black tie and collared shirt, the writer Farley Mowat serving with the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment wrote: "the black tie itself was known as the Zombie tie, and the resentment of the volunteers, who were now ordered to wear this symbol of shame, was most outspoken."
- Canada Gazette notice, June 21, 1940, 4th Extra
- Byers 1996, pp. 177–178.
- "National Resources Mobilization Act (1940) - Canadian records for Genealogists".
- "1940 National Registration". Collections Canada.
- Restricted Occupations Order, March 21, 1942
- Order in Council, March 23, 1942
- Proclamation calling up for military training, September 11, 1940
- Order in Council, March 2, 1942
- "Stabilization of Employment in Agriculture Regulations, 1942".
- "Control of Employment Regulations, 1942".
- "Wartime Control Of Employment In Canada". Labour Gazette. XLII (9): 1018–1026. September 1942.
- "National Selective Service Regulations, 1942".
- "Price Control In Canada During September, 1942". Labour Gazette. XLII (10): 1143–1147. October 1942.
- Stevenson 2001, pp. 172–173.
- Stevenson 2001, pp. 30–31.
- "Relaxation of Certain Manpower Controls". Labour Gazette. XLV (6): 803–804. June 1945.
- "National Selective Service: First Compulsory Employment Transfer Order". The Montreal Gazette. May 15, 1943. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
- "National Selective Service: Second Compulsory Employment Transfer Order". The Montreal Gazette. May 29, 1943. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
- "National Selective Service: Third Compulsory Employment Transfer Order". The Montreal Gazette. July 10, 1943. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
- "National Selective Service: Fourth Compulsory Employment Transfer Order". The Coaticook Observer. July 23, 1943. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
- "National Selective Service: Fifth Compulsory Employment Transfer Order". Saskatoon Star-Phoenix. August 3, 1943. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
- "Extension of Compulsory Employment Transfers". Ottawa Citizen. September 3, 1943. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
- "National Selective Service: Seventh Compulsory Employment Transfer Order". The Montreal Gazette. November 1943. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
- "Workers in Essential Industry "Frozen" in Employment". Labour Gazette. XLIII (10): 1333–1335. October 1943.
- "Further Relaxation of Manpower Controls". Labour Gazette. XLV (9): 1276–1278. September 1945.
- Byers 1996, p. 182.
- Byers 1996, p. 186.
- Byers 1996, p. 193.
- Byers 1996, p. 202.
- Chartrand, René (2001). Canadian Forces In World War II. London: Osprey. p. 15. ISBN 978-1-84176-302-6.
- "Historical Summary of the National Selective Service Civilian Regulations". Labour Gazette. XLV (5): 628–633. May 1945.
- Daniel Byers (1996). "Mobilizing Canada: The National Resources Mobilization Act, the Department of National Defence, and Compulsory Military Service in Canada, 1940-1945" (PDF). Journal of the Canadian Historical Association. 7 (1): 175–203. doi:10.7202/031107ar. ISSN 0847-4478.
- Michael D. Stevenson (2000). "Conscripting Coal: The Regulation of the Coal Labour Force in Nova Scotia during the Second World War". Acadiensis. University of New Brunswick. XXIX (2): 58–88. ISSN 0044-5851. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
- Michael D. Stevenson (2001). Canada's Greatest Wartime Muddle: National Selective Service and the Mobilization of Human Resources during World War II. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN 0-7735-2263-8. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
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