M u s e u m  C r e a t e d  L e s s o n

Women and the Labour Movement in Quebec

MacKing Add to My Content  Add this lesson to My Content  
Mackenzie King Estate , Ottawa, Ontario

Assignment Overview
Working in groups, students will use a PowerPoint template to create a fake Facebook wall that tells the story of the 1924 strike by female employees of the E. B. Eddy match company in Hull (now Gatineau), which was the first women’s strike in Quebec.
• Internet access for students
• Online Collection: Donalda Charron and the E. B. Eddy Match Company
Student assignment sheet
• Sample Fauxbook wall: Queen Victoria (included in zip file)
• Fauxbook wall PowerPoint template (included in zip file)
• Helpful Tips for Using the Template (included in zip file)

Download the zip file.
Your Fauxbook wall should touch on the following points:
• What were working and living conditions like for match workers at the start of the 20th century in Hull, Quebec?
• What were the events of the 1919 lockout at the E.B. Eddy match company?
• What were the events and key issues of the 1924 strike at the E.B. Eddy match company?
• What were the challenges faced and overcome by Donalda Charron?
• Who were the other key players in the 1924 strike, and what were their roles?
• Did Donalda Charron and les allumettières leave any kind of legacy?
Donalda Charron and the E.B. Eddy Match Company
This collection of stories and photos chronicles the 1924 strike, the events leading up to it and the people involved in this historic job action.
View the collection

Before conducting the activity in the classroom, you will need about an hour to prepare for the activity, by doing three things.
1. Review the student assignment sheet.
2. Familiarize yourself with the “Online Collection: Donalda Charron and the E. B. Eddy Match Company.” Students will use this content as the basis for their Fauxbook walls.
3. Familiarize yourself with the Fauxbook template. You can refer to the handout entitled “Helpful Tips for Using the Template” if you need extra instructions. You may want to try creating your own Fauxbook, or starting one that you can complete with the class in order to show them how the template works.
Lesson Overview: Step 1
Step 1: Get Students Thinking About Facebook (10 minutes)
• Ask students to consider how they use Facebook. Are they all on Facebook? How do they use it, and how often? What kinds of things do they share on Facebook? What sorts of things do they learn about their friends on Facebook? Get them thinking about how Facebook tells their stories, and how it is used to share information and opinions.
• Ask students to think about their own Facebook walls. What can you learn from “creeping” someone’s wall? What kind of things do they post on their walls? (Answers might include: important life milestones, decisions they make, discussions with friends, personal opinions about current events, passing observations, etc.)
Lesson Overview: Step 2
Step 2: Exploring History Through Facebook (10 minutes)
• Ask students to consider some of the historical people and events they have studied recently. How would these events have played out on Facebook? (For example, how could a Facebook wall tell the story of the events leading up to the outbreak of the First World War?)
• Show students the Queen Victoria Fauxbook wall, which uses Facebook to tell the story of how Ottawa was chosen as the capital of Canada.
• Explain that the students will be creating their own Fauxbook walls to tell the story of the origins of the Hull match workers’ strike at the E. B. Eddy match company.
Lesson Overview: Step 3
Step 3: Labour Movement in Early 20th Century (30 minutes)
Provide some context for the labour dispute between the female match workers and the E. B. Eddy match company by sharing the following information about the Canadian labour movement. (Note: This information is not included in the online collection.)
Labour Movement in Canada
• At the turn of the 20th century, Canada was enjoying a period of incredible expansion: there were railroads that stretched across the country, immigrants were coming to Canada in record numbers and there was a huge industrial boom.
• Economically, the country was doing very well. But its working class was suffering. The incredible economic growth led to very poor working conditions. Workers toiled in unsafe factories for incredibly long hours and very little pay. Nothing was regulated. Children — some not even in their teens — were forced to work to help support their families.
• It was at this time that unions began to appear, but they were not very common. Those that existed were weak, and rarely recognized by employers.
• Canadian lawmakers were not interested in passing laws to protect the working class, because they were afraid that it might hinder the country’s economic growth.
• As the First World War loomed closer, Canada’s economic situation began to change. The industrial boom ended, immigration was higher than ever — and so were unemployment rates. The cost of living rose 50 percent between 1915 and 1919. Employers felt no need to recognize unions. They felt employees should just be content having a job at all.
• In May 1919, the largest general strike in Canadian history happened in Winnipeg. More than 35,000 workers — from all lines of work — walked off the job. They were protesting employers who refused to recognize unions.
• This was the situation in Canada in 1919, when the first labour dispute occurred between the E. B. Eddy match company in Hull, Quebec, and its female match workers.
Labour Movement in Quebec
• In the early 20th century, the labour movement in Canada was very regional. It was particularly unique in Quebec, because of the involvement of the Catholic Church.
• In Quebec, the Catholic Church was very involved in many aspects of private and public life. The labour movement was no exception.
• The movement first came to Quebec in the late 19th century, with the “Knights of Labor,” a group from the United States. In 1912, Achille Morin created the Association ouvrière de Hull, a union for Hull factory workers, which was modelled on the Knights of Labor philosophy.
• The officials of the Catholic Church feared labour unions promoted socialist or, worse, communist ideals. The Church inserted itself into the local unions very early on, fearing its teachings would be dismissed as the “opiate of the masses,” as communist ideology suggested.
• By 1915, the Association ouvrière de Hull had become a Catholic syndicate. It was open only to Catholics, and its philosophy was entirely in line with Catholic Church doctrine.
• Hull’s first women’s syndicates were created in 1918. They were run by Catholic Church officials, and represented women who worked in textile and match factories. Women were drawn to the protection they offered. However, the unions were not interested in improving working conditions. Their interest was purely moral: they were concerned with protecting the virtue (chastity) of female workers and preparing the women for eventual married life. They organized social gatherings, and offered lessons in sewing, language and mathematics.
Lesson Overview: Step 4
Step 4: The Assignment (5 minutes)
• Distribute the student assignment sheet.
• Explain that students will explore the “Online Collection: Donalda Charron and the E. B. Eddy Match Company” and collect factual information and historical photographs to help them build their Fauxbook wall.
• Students draft their wall content before inputting it into the template. The wall content should touch on each of the questions on the assignment sheet. It should be between 500 and 750 words. We recommend editing and proofreading the content as much as possible before putting it into the template.
• Students input their wall content into the template.
• Provide students with a deadline for their assignment.
Lesson Overview: Step 5
Step 5: Introduce the Template (20 minutes)
• Show students the PowerPoint template. If you have created or started to create your own Fauxbook, use this to demonstrate how to add a wall post and a comment, and how to further customize the template with profile images and personal information.
• Distribute and review the handout entitled “Helpful Tips for Using the Template.”
Lesson Overview: Step 6
Step 6: Points to Consider and Discuss (15 minutes)
Planning the Fauxbook Wall :
• Whose Fauxbook wall will the students create? (Donalda Charron seems like an obvious choice, but could the story be told from a different point of view?)
• What will the “current date” of the Fauxbook wall be? How does that affect the story?
• What will be the dates for each of the posts and comments on the wall?
“Artistic Liberties”
Will they use only real historical figures, or could the story benefit from the addition of a fictional character? They could create a “character” to show the opinion of a particular group of people. For example, if they were telling the story of the beginning of the First World War, students might write an exchange between Austria-Hungary and Germany, rather than between Franz Joseph I and Kaiser Wilhelm II. (You can also refer to the use of the characters of the city of Montréal and the city of Kingston on the Queen Victoria Fauxbook wall, as examples.)
If students choose to invent characters to help tell the story from different viewpoints, they should follow these three guidelines:
• the character should serve a specific purpose in the telling of the story,
• it should be obvious to the reader what the character represents, and
• the information shared by the character should be based on fact.
Although many young people write on their own Facebook walls using text shorthand (for example, “c u 2nite” instead of “see you tonight”), for the purposes of this assignment, the walls produced should be grammatically correct, with correct spelling. Students can include some Internet slang for humour, but it should be kept to a minimum (and the language should be “clean”).
Sharing Work
Sharing Work (30–60 minutes)
Once they have completed the assignment, give students the opportunity to share their work with each other. Some options:
• Group students together for round-table discussions, where they can present their work to each other. They can share why they chose to tell the story the way they did.
• Hold a “gallery walk,” where all walls are displayed and people walk around viewing them. You could invite another class to come and look at them, and students could be on hand to talk about their walls. Or, share the assignments on the school’s or school board’s intranet.
• Invite students to “act out” the conversations from their walls in front of the class.
Extension Activities
If you would like students to expand their research and further develop their research skills, you can adapt the activity in the following ways.
• Expand the research requirement, and have students consult sources online and at their school or public library, the local university library, etc.
• Ask students to include a bibliography with their assignment, with a minimum number of sources.
• Ask students to include the credit information for each photograph they use.
Curriculum Connections
British Columbia and Yukon: Social Studies (Grade 11)
Concept: Society and Identity
Outcome: Describe the role of women in terms of social, political and economic change in Canada.

Manitoba: History of Canada (Grade 11)
Outcome 3.2: How did territorial expansion, immigration and industrialization change life for men and women in Canada?
Skill 7: Construct and communicate historical narratives, explanations, arguments or other interpretations of the past, using a variety of media.

Ontario: Canadian History Since the First World War (Grade 10)
Concept: Social and Political Movements
Outcomes: Analyze the impact of the women’s movement in Canada since 1914; explain how the labour movement has affected social, economic and political life in Canada.
Quebec: History and Citizenship Education (Secondary III)
Unit: The formation of the Canadian federation ‐ Industrial development
Outcomes 2.6.e, 2.6.f: Describes some living and working conditions of workers; Establishes a connection between industrialization and unionization.

Unit: The modernization of Québec society – Movements that have contributed to changing attitudes in Québec (Feminist movement, Union movement)
Outcomes 2.2.d: Indicates the position of players opposed to the movements.

New Brunswick: Canadian History 122 (Grade 12)
Concept: Immigration and Imperialism (1896–1920)
Outcome No. 2: Students will demonstrate an understanding of the manner in which industrialization and urbanization transformed Canada.
Prince Edward Island: Social Studies (Grade 8)
Concept: Decades of Change
Outcome 8.3.1:Analyze the impact of changing technology and socio‐economic conditions on differing prosperities and lifestyles in Canada in the 1920s and 1930s.

Prince Edward Island: Canadian Studies 401A
Concept: Canada’s Work and Worth
Outcome 10.4.2 and 10.4.3: Compare the ways that Canadians made a living in the past with how they make a living now; describe changes over time that have influenced the Canadian economy, including technological advancements and shifts in societal attitudes.

Learning Objectives

Lighting the Spark: Women and in the Labour Movement in Quebec

By the end of the activity, students will:
• Gain an understanding of how and why the Canadian labour movement evolved during the first quarter of the 20th century.
• Describe working and living conditions for Hull’s working class, in particular the female employees at the E. B. Eddy match company.
• Describe the events of the 1919 lockout at the E. B. Eddy match company.
• Relate the events and key issues of the 1924 lockout, describing the roles played by the company, the clergy, the union and the female workers during the dispute.
• Interpret and communicate a historical narrative using the Fauxbook template as a medium.