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Snyder, Gordon Taylor (1924–2005)

Gordon Snyder.
Saskatchewan Archives Board R-A8366

Born December 17, 1924, in Moose Jaw, Snyder was educated at the Moose Jaw Technical School. Snyder enlisted in the RCAF in 1942, serving in Canada. After discharge, he worked for the CPR as a fireman and was promoted to engineer in 1956. Active in the railroad unions, he served in a variety of posts in the Brotherhoods of Firemen and Locomotive Engineers. Snyder was involved in youth wing of the CCF. In 1960 he was elected to the Saskatchewan Legislature, replacing long-time CCF MLA and railroader Dempster Heming of Moose Jaw. Snyder was re-elected in 1964 and in 1967, when he was appointed critic of Health. Following the NDP victory in 1971, Snyder was appointed Minister of Labour, a post he held for eleven years until the government’s defeat. Snyder reversed much of the Thatcher government’s legislation, repealing the Emergency Services Act and removing barriers for the creation of trade unions. The province overhauled the scope of Labour Legislation; the first forty-hour work week was established in Canada; the Occupational Health and Safety board was strengthened; more stringent safely legislation was introduced; and the Workers’ Compensation Board was expanded. The Minimum Wage Board was re-established to develop a process of constant review of the minimum wage, tying it to a percentage of the average industrial wage. The minimum wage was the highest in Canada. The role of the Women’s Bureau, the forerunner of the Women’s Secretariat, was greatly expanded. In 1972 the province was the first in Canada to introduce legislation insuring equal pay for similar work. Snyder was defeated in 1982 and retired from public life. He died on December 10, 2005.

Brett Quiring

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Further Reading

Shaak, L. 2002. Without Regrets: Gordon Snyder’s Reflections. Moose Jaw: On Stage Consulting; Snyder, Gordon. 1997. “Social Justice for Workers.” In Eleanor Glor (ed.), Policy Innovation in the Saskatchewan Public Sector, 1971–1982. North York: Captus Press.
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