Railway Employees (Employees Provident Fund)

Prince Edward Island Railway, 1899, cover and map. Andrew Merrilees Transportation Collection. AMICUS 27780236

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The Records

The construction of the Intercolonial Railway of Canada (IRC) started in 1858 for the purpose of linking Canada's Atlantic ports with the industrial areas of Central Canada.

Initial construction of the Prince Edward Island Railway (PEIR) was financed by the United Kingdom and began in 1871. It was continued by the Government of Canada once Prince Edward Island joined Confederation in 1873.

The headquarters for this combined railway were established in Moncton, New Brunswick. From 1915-1918, the IRC and PEIR became known collectively as the Canadian Government Railways (CGR). In 1918, management of the railway was transferred to the newly nationalized Canadian Northern Railway which later became Canada's first Crown corporation called Canadian National Railways (CNR).

In March 1907, the Government of Canada passed the Intercolonial and Prince Edward Island Railways Employees' Provident Fund Act for the purpose of establishing a fund to provide life allowances for officers and employees who retired after long service to the railways, on account of old age, physical or mental infirmity or due to permanent disablement as a result of on-duty injuries. In order to properly administer this fund, careful record keeping was essential: changes in pay rates, any breaks in service and detailed personal information were documented in the employee's provident fund file.

Library and Archives Canada holds 31 boxes of records for the Employees Provident Fund of the Intercolonial and Prince Edward Island Railway. The collection consists of 21,710 cards that are filed numerically by the employees' provident fund identification number.

Each card contains the following information:

  • Name
  • Date and place of birth
  • Occupation
  • Rate of pay per month
  • Department
  • Location
  • Change in pay and occupation over time
  • Entering and leaving dates for service with the railway.

Some cards also contain religious denomination, name of person who recommended the employee, date and cause of death, name of person who received the final payment upon death of the employee. The reverse side of the card contains a record of discipline, rewards, absences, merit and demerit points and the reasons for each. While most records consist of only one two-sided employee card, about one in twenty consists of multiple cards averaging three cards. The cards contain a P.F. number (Provident fund) that refers to a file; however, please note that those files were destroyed.

The Database

This database provides access to 21,710 references to the Employees Provident Fund of the Intercolonial and Prince Edward Island Railway records held at Library and Archives Canada.

Information from the cards was input into this database and the cards were digitized.

The content of the database entries reflects the original language used in the documents. This information was not translated.

Important note: Given that some of the original documents are very difficult to read, some information in the database may be incorrect and/or incomplete.

Search Screen

The search screen enables you to search by:

  • Surname
  • Given name(s)

Note that some entries include only an initial for the given names. Try searching by surname only.

When you have entered your search terms, click on "Submit". The number of hits found will be shown at the top of the results screen.

How to Interpret the Results

Your search results will be posted as a results summary list from which you will be able to obtain an item description.

Search Results Page

The results list contains the following fields:

  • Item Number
  • Surname
  • Given Name(s)
  • Date of birth (mm-dd-yyyy)

Click on the underlined Item Number of a record to access the Item page, which contains additional information specific to that record.

Item Page

The item page has digitized images of the actual records available in JPG format and contains the following fields:

  • Given Name(s)
  • Surname
  • Date of Birth (mm-dd-yyyy)
  • Occupation
  • Location
  • Volume
  • File
  • Reference
  • Item Number

To suggest a correction, click on the Suggest a Correction link to access an electronic form.

To return to the Search Results page, click on the Back button of your browser in the upper left corner of your screen.

How to Obtain Copies

You can print the images or save the images on your computer.

Other Resources

Other archival railway records exist. Consult Railways for more information about these records.

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