Between the wars
Following the First World War, the British Empire was transformed into the British Commonwealth of Nations, a free association of states. Canada is still a prominent part of the Commonwealth alongside other former states of the British Empire including Australia, New Zealand, India and many African and Caribbean states.
Along with the rest of the global economy, Canada prospered during the 1920s, and then suffered during the Great Depression of the 1930s after the Wall Street crash. In 1933 unemployment in Canada was 27%, and many businesses went bankrupt. In Western Canada, farmers suffered appallingly through drops in grain prices and drought.
Many people began to demand more security as a result of these problems, asking for a minimum wage, set working hours, and unemployment insurance. In 1934, the government created the Bank of Canada to help control and stabilise the country’s finances. Immigration to Canada fell during this period, and the country turned away numerous refugees, including Jews who were trying to escape Nazi Germany.