The IDB: A History of Canada's Industrial Development Bank


435 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-8020-3404-7




Reviewed by Stephen J. Kees

Stephen J. Kees was Chief Librarian, Niagara College of Applied Arts and Technology, Welland, Ontario.


During the planning for reconstruction after World War II, it was realized that there were few sources of medium- to long-term finances for small and medium-sized businesses in Canada. To remedy this situation the Industrial Development Bank was established; it began operations at the end of 1944.

As an officer of the Bank who came to occupy senior positions, E. Ritchie Clark worked for it from 1947 until after it became the Federal Business Development Bank in 1975. He is thus able to give an insider’s view of its development over the years. The sections of the book correspond with the changes in legislation that affected the Bank’s functions and allowed for its expansion. As one of the success stories among Crown corporations, this very readable narrative shows what can be done when willing people get to work on a real need. The book includes numerous photographs of businesses that have been helped by the Bank over the years, although obviously no individual firms are identified. Most of the statistical material is given in an appendix so that those who do not wish to read it do not have to. There is also an annotated bibliography of the record over the years.

Since most Canadians know little about the Bank and its activities, this is a story that deserves to be told; Clark’s book will serve as a permanent record of that activity.


Clark, E. Ritchie, “The IDB: A History of Canada's Industrial Development Bank,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 21, 2024,