In the late 1800s early 1900s, the transition from monopolistic capitalism created a stark polarity between class relations. Canada at the time was in a period of unprecedented economical growth, and the need for increase in manufacturing and natural resources led to the introduction of foreign immigrant workers. However, the benefits of such prosperity were not felt to be dispersed equally. Skilled craft workers composed of men from Anglo-Saxon decent who through the use of unions, pursued policies of ethnic and racial exclusion all the while advocating for restrictions of immigrating foreign workers. Unskilled workers who made up the majority of the workforce, lacked the union support and organizational skills to gain improved working conditions and wages. This led to the waves of strikes in the early part 1900s, much of which was carried out by skilled workers resisting the growing disparity between employers and labourers. Unskilled workers protested against their current working conditions and wages. Protests erupted in masses spreading across the country like wildfire. This led to the introduction of strikebreakers and militia to protect those strikebreakers during times of civil unrest.
At this point the federal government responded to the epidemic in tandem, utilizing both instruments coercion and accommodation. Judy Fudge and Eric tucker argue in their book Labour Before the Law that the coercion and accommodation was not contrasting government policies, but a mutually reinforcing strategy, that was designed with the intention to uphold the rights of employers while helping the workers and unions. This led to the introduction of the Conciliation Act in 1900, which naturally evolved into the IDIA in 1907. Where state-appointed conciliation boards were sent out to mediate disputes which saw a certain amount of success to the calming of labour relations.
Examples of Coercion and Accommodation .