Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Terry Copp

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


In 1937 the strike at General Motors in Oshawa resulted in the first major victory for the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) in Canada. The president of the Oshawa local was Charles Millard (1896-1978), who subsequently played an influential role in most of the major developments in organized labour between 1937 and 1956. He was the first National Director of the Canadian branch of the United Steel Workers of America in 1943, a position which he retained until his retirement in 1956. Under his leadership the steelworkers’ union became a dominant force in the Canadian Congress of Labour (CCL), taking a very active role in political action initiatives, and achieving a number of strategic victories through strike action. Millard was personally involved in the creation of the CCL and its subsequent development. He was also very active in opposing the Communist faction within organized labour, and labored throughout his career to further the relationship between organized labour and the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF). Despite Millard’s many significant contributions during what was a formative period for both organized labour and the CCF, he has been mostly ignored. This thesis sketches Millard’s life, focusing on the major events in which he was involved.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season