Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

The 1934 British Columbia Penitentiary Strike and Prisoners’ Wages in Canada

Document type Web page
Author House, Jordan
Date 2019-04-26T11:00:06+00:00


The early 1930s were marked by considerable labour unrest in Canada. Over this period, workers developed new, more expansive forms of trade unionism, as well as new tactics such as sit-down strikes and flying pickets. In the context of the great depression, this unrest was not only evident in the country’s factories, mines, and ports; workers and their unions also began organizing outside of these traditional workplaces. Perhaps most famously, this organizing included unemployed workers and those toiling in Canada’s relief camps. Less well known, however, are the ways in which Canadian prisoners participated in this labour upsurge, adopting trade union tactics to suit their particular situations, and demanding improved conditions, political representation, and wages. --Introduction