Halifax Relief Commission

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Corporate body

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Halifax Relief Commission

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Dates of existence

1918-1976

History

The Halifax Relief Commission was appointed by federal Order-in-Council on 22 January 1918, in part to oversee the expenditure of nearly $21,000,000 donated by Canadian, British and other governments and by the general public, following the Halifax Harbour explosion of 6 December 1917. The commission included T. Sherman Rogers, KC, Halifax, as chairman; W.B. Wallace, judge of the County Court, Halifax; and F.L. Fowke, merchant of Oshawa, Ont. Ralph P. Bell was the secretary. A subsequent act passed by the Nova Scotia Legislature on 26 April 1918 incorporated the Halifax Relief Commission and broadened its duties and powers. The commission was given the power to spend relief monies in any manner it deemed appropriate, stating that it "may repair, rebuild or restore any building or property damaged, destroyed or lost in or by reason of the said disaster, or compensate the owner thereof, or any person having an interest therein...". Also at its discretion, the commission provided compensation for the financial and physical relief of victims suffering personal injury or who lost family members as a result of the disaster. The act also granted the commission the power to prepare a town planning scheme and by-laws and to expropriate lands in the devastated area. Numerous workmen and professionals were hired by the commission to assist in the reconstruction of Halifax-Dartmouth, notably town planner Thomas Adams and Ross and Macdonald, architects of Montreal and Halifax. The Halifax Relief Commission was dissolved in 1976 and responsibility for administering pensions was transferred to the federal Canadian Pension Commission.

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