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“…consideration should be given exclusively to merit:” – The (Beatty) Commission on Professional and Technical Salaries in the Civil Service

In the 1920s, the system for determining the salary and wages for the Canadian Public Service in Canada was broken.  Based on a pre-war formula, the system was confusing and at times unfair.  It seldom kept pace with the cost of living and had to be patched together with a system of yearly bonuses based on the individual rather than the work he did.  Worker discontent was high and the threat of strike action was ever present.  The system was administered by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) who dealt with civil service associations that represented the employees.  A further complicating factor was the ongoing conflict between the CSC and Government.  The situation came to a head in May of 1928 when CSC submitted a report regarding the salaries of the professional and scientific staff.  The King Government decided to bypass the CSC entirely and created the Royal Commission on Technical and Professional Services.  The Commission was chaired by E. W. Beatty, the President of the CPR.  Among the other members was Walter Murray.   When the Beatty Commission reported in February, 1930, the country had already entered the throes of the Depression.  Its recommendations were never adopted.