Canada, like Great Britain, introduced rationing during World War II. Unlike Great Britain, Canada didn’t need to ration food due to shortages in production and imports, but rather because she was prioritising her output for the allied war effort and sending beef and grain across the Atlantic to the UK. The rations Canadian citizens were allowed were far more generous than in the UK and the meat ration was 2lbs per person per week, with a paper ration token being given to the retailer for the meat. The problem that quickly became apparent was that the paper tokens were too crude for people to use them effectively and people did not want to buy 2lb all at once so something a little smaller was needed.
The solution the Canadian government came up with was a set of tokens that could be given as ‘change’ for the use of a ration coupon from the book. Eight of the small blue tokens were equal to one paper coupon, and with the reduction of the meat ration to 1 1/3lbs per week helped reduce the average meat consuption per person from 141 to 131 lbs a year. The tokens themselves were made of compressed blue fibreboard with a hole in the middle:
The token had the words ‘CANADA RATION’ and the word ‘MEAT’ in English and French stamped on either side:
One Canadian lady wrote in a letter in 1942 explaining about the meat ration:
We are asked not to use any pork or bacon for seven weeks while our commitments to Britain are being filled, there is no beef at all for sale (I think a lot is being sent to Russia), the sheep raisers are asked not to slaughter in order to raise more badly-needed wool, so a great many butchers have shut up shop.”