Black people in Canada have always been a part of the labour force whether it was as interpreter or fur-trapper, enslaved worker or domestic, as self-reliant agricultural worker or salaried worker, usually in low-paying positions. Following the world wars, jobs opened up for African-Canadians that were previously denied them; Black men took the jobs of enlisted White Canadians while they were at war, and Black women worked at the “war plant,” the munitions factories, that supplied the war effort. After these opportunities to work outside of the jobs traditionally reserved for them, domestic work and railroad porters, other areas opened up as well. The work of the railroad porters is of major importance in underscoring the power of Black men working together to resolve issues, in this case to have promotional possibilities and negotiated salaries.
And Still I Rise: A History of African Canadian Workers in Ontario
About the history of racial discrimination in the Canadian workplace.