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Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire (IODE)

Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire, ca. 1920s.
Saskatchewan Archives Board R-A20948-1

The Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire (IODE) was organized in Montreal during the Boer War (1900) for women of the Empire who wanted to do war work in the course of that struggle. After the conflict in South Africa, the Order poised itself to play a key role in any future imperial war. Drawing its ranks from the upper echelons of Canadian society, the IODE designed a highly organized and efficient society of women who were anxious to serve their country and King. The first seven Saskatchewan chapters of the IODE were organized in 1909 in Battleford, North Battleford, Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Regina, and Grenfell. When Canada became embroiled in World War I in 1914, the IODE was eager and able to make significant contributions, and IODE membership increased dramatically during the war years. Saskatchewan chapters had increased in number to thirty-three by war’s end. Members became expert fund raisers and contributed financially toward large-scale wartime fund-raising projects. The IODE believed that its most important war work was putting all the time, money and effort that it could muster into caring for servicemen and their dependents—before the men left, after they departed, and after they returned from active service. One legacy is the tens of thousands of pairs of socks that IODE members knitted to supply the men in the trenches. Nadine Charabin Income Security. In Saskatchewan, the majority of people get the income they need to live from paid employment or self-employment. In an ideal Labour market, there would be work for everyone who needs income, wages would be high enough to provide a living for workers and their dependents, and employees would be able to save enough during their working life to provide income in old age. But in the real world of the labour market there are always imperfections: involuntary unemployment, skill or opportunity mismatches, gaps between earnings and needs, etc. Dependents, including Children, share the economic risks of workers. There are also some adults, such as people with severe disabilities, who may not have the capacity to be fully self-sufficient. Even for those who can provide adequately for current needs, it may be difficult to plan enough savings to provide an income in old age.

Ironically, World War I proved to be the zenith of the IODE’s existence as a patriotic women’s organization: the war brought to a close the imperialist Edwardian era in Canada, and the organization’s imperial zeal was undermined. Nonetheless, the IODE did serve in another world war from 1939 to 1945, and to the present day undertakes philanthropic, educational, and citizenship endeavours to improve the quality of life for children, youth, and those in need.

Nadine Charabin

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Further Reading

Small, Nadine. 1988. “Stand By the Union Jack: The Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire in the Prairie Provinces During the Great War, 1914–1918.” MA thesis, University of Saskatchewan.

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