The Great Depression
After 1929 the demand for Canadian primary products, particularly farm produce and timber, dropped significantly. This produced a domino effect, as other sectors of the economy - transportation, iron and steel, coal mining - began to feel the effects of declining export markets. Thousands of Canadians were thrown out of work, which resulted in decreased retail spending, lost revenue in the service sector, and decreased government revenues, as citizens were unable to pay property and other taxes.
The Canadian government's immediate response to declining export markets, falling prices, and import duties on Canadian goods was high tariffs. This only served to compound the problem by raising production costs. By May 1933, the Depression had reached its nadir, and 1.5 million Canadians were dependent upon government funds for survival.