Better know a Canadian institution: the Dominion Coal Board

In the early 20th century, coal, which played an important role in alternately employing and murdering Nova Scotians, was the main source of power in industry. For this reason, the Canadian government set up the Office of the Fuel Commissioner, to regulate its use for the industry in World War I. In 1922 the Dominion Fuel Board was set up to reduce Canada’s coal imports and increase domestic production of coal. From 1939 to 1947 the Dominion Fuel Board was abrogated and coal rationing for the war effort was placed under the command of the Coal Administrator (later the Coal Controller) in the Wartime Prices and Trade Board. The Dominion Fuel Board was briefly revived before being replaced that year by the Dominion Coal Board, which regulated the coal industry until declining coal production and a shift to using oil as fuel meant that specialized oversight for coal was less needed than it had been, and the Dominion Coal Board was dissolved in 1970.

The persons controlling coal in Canada were:

Charles Alexander Magrath, Fuel Controller of Canada, 1917-22.

Dr. Charles Camsell CMG FRSC, Chairman of the Dominion Fuel Board, 1922-39.

James McGregor Stewart CBE, Coal Administrator of Canada, 1939-43.

Ernest John Brunning CBE, Coal Controller of Canada, 1943-47.

Vincent William Thomas Scully CMG, Chairman of the Dominion Fuel Board, 1947.

Wilbur Edward Uren OBE, Chairman of the Dominion Coal Board, 1947-61.

Colin Lewis O’Brien, Chairman of the Dominion Coal Board, 1961-66.

John Watson MacNaught, Chairman of the Dominion Coal Board, 1966-70.


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