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Holidays in Canada


In Canada, there are holidays where you are entitled to be paid. But there are also holidays recognized and celebrated in Canada which are civic, where legally employers are not obliged to offer holiday pay to any worker. So be sure to be aware of this to avoid future conflicts. Below are the known and celebrated holidays all over Canada and also holidays which are only celebrated in some provinces.


Canadian National Holidays (with provincial exceptions)


January 1   New Year's Day   Nouvel an   Statutory.
Friday before Easter Sunday   Good Friday   vendredi saint   Statutory. Acknowledges the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, traditionally on 3 April, 33 AD; see Good Friday article for details.
Monday on or before May 24   Victoria Day   fête de la Reine  


Celebration of the birthday of the current British (and, by extension, Canadian) monarch. (Originally, May 24 was the birthday of Queen Victoria.) In Quebec, Victoria Day and fête des patriotes (Commemoration of the Lower Canada Rebellion) are celebrated on the same day.

July 1   Canada Day   fête du Canada   Statutory. Commemoration of Canada's 1867 Confederation.
First Monday in September   Labour Day   fête du travail   Statutory.
Second Monday in October   Thanksgiving   action de grâce  


A day of general thanks for one's blessings. (Note: Thanksgiving is not celebrated on the same day as it is in the U.S.)

November 11   Remembrance Day   jour du souvenir  


Holiday everywhere except Ontario and Quebec. Commemoration of Canada's war dead.

December 25   Christmas   Noël  


Celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ; traditionally 25 December 1 BC.

December 26   Boxing Day   lendemain de Noël  


B.C., Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, and Newfoundland & Labrador. Day when shops sell off excess Christmas inventory.


Each province of Canada has its own provincial holiday or holidays:
St. Jean Baptiste Day and Construction Holiday in Quebec.
Natal Day in PEI and Nova Scotia and Discovery Day in Newfoundland and Labrador and Yukon.
Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Saskatchewan have civic holidays on the first Monday in August. In Alberta it is called Heritage Day; in British Columbia it is called B.C. Day, similar in New Brunswick with New Brunswick Day, while in Ontario it is generally referred to as Civic Holiday but is named differently in some cities. In Toronto it is Simcoe Day while in Ottawa it is Colonel By Day (though the last name is not in widespread use). Saskatchewan calls the August civil holiday Saskatchewan Day.
Alberta celebrates Family Day on the third Monday of February.
Although not official holidays, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and Hallowe'en are traditionally celebrated by Canadians.
The observance of individuals' religious holidays is widely accepted (see multiculturalism). For example, some school children and employees take days off for Jewish holidays, Muslim holidays, or Eastern Orthodox observances according to the Julian calendar.

Statutory holidays
A statutory holiday (also known as "general" or "public" holiday) in Canada is legislated either through the federal, provincial, or territorial governments. Most workers, public or private, are entitled to take the day off with regular pay. However, for businesses that are normally open employers may require employees to work on such a holiday but in this case, must be paid at a premium rate -- usually 1½ (known as "time and a half") or 2 times (known as "double time") the regular pay. In most provinces, when a statutory holiday falls on a normal day off (generally a weekend), the following work day is considered a statutory holiday.

There are 9 statutory holidays mandated by federal legislation and are only applicable to federally regulated employees. All banks applied these holidays to their schedule. These are as follows:
New Year's Day - January 1, also January 2 in Quebec
Good Friday - Friday before Easter Sunday
Victoria Day - Monday on or before May 24
Canada Day - July 1
Labour Day - first Monday in September
Thanksgiving Day - second Monday in October
Remembrance Day - November 11
Christmas Day - December 25
Boxing Day - December 26

Provincial and Territorial
Provinces and territories generally adopt the same holidays as the federal government with some variations:
Alberta - 9 holidays
Boxing Day is not a statutory holiday.
Family Day - third Monday in February
Heritage Day - first Monday of August

British Columbia - 9 holidays
Boxing Day is not a statutory holiday.
BC Day - first Monday in August

Manitoba - 8 holidays
Remembrance Day, and Boxing Day are not statutory holidays, although only the Retail Sector is open on these days within specific regulatory guidelines for hours of service.
Remembrance Day is not termed a statutory holiday, but rather an "Official day of Observance", and must be paid overtime if required to work on this day. Most Manitobans, with the exception of the retail sector, get the day off.
First Monday in August.

New Brunswick - 7 holidays
Victoria Day, Thanksgiving, and Boxing Day are not statutory holidays.
New Brunswick Day - first Monday in August
Newfoundland - 6 holidays (most observed on closest Monday)
St. Patrick's Day - March 17
St. George's Day - April 23
Discovery Day - June 24
Orangemen's Day - July 12
Memorial Day - July 1
Armistice Day - November 11

Northwest Territories - 10 holidays
National Aboriginal Day - June 21

Nova Scotia - 6 holidays (including Remembrance Day; see below)
Victoria Day, Thanksgiving, and Boxing Day are not statutory holidays.
Remembrance Day is a special case and employers have the option of giving Remembrance Day or an alternate day off.
Natal Day - First Monday in August is not a statutory holiday but a common day off.

Nunavut - 9 holidays
Nunavut Day - July 9, originated as a paid holiday for Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated and regional Inuit associations. It became a ½ day holiday for Government employees in 1999 and a full day in 2001. Most employers give the day off with the notable exceptions being the Federal Government and the North West Company.
Boxing Day is not a statutory holiday.
First Monday in August.

Prince Edward Island - 6 holidays
The August Civic holiday, Easter Monday and Remembrance Day are not statutory holidays. However, Federal Government employees (and possibly Provincial employees) do have arrrangments in their collective agreements to receive these as paid days off. Provincial employees in some cases have bargained for the Gold Cup and Saucer Day.

Ontario - 8 holidays
Remembrance Day is not a statutory holiday in Ontario.
Although not a statutory holiday, municipalities may designate the first Monday in August as a civic holiday. This is called Simcoe Day in Toronto, and Colonel By Day in Ottawa, with other areas using other names.

Quebec - 8 holidays
Thanksgiving, Remembrance Day, and Boxing Day are not statutory holidays.
Employers must give either Good Friday or Easter Monday as a statutory holiday.
Victoria Day coincides with Fête des Patriotes.
Fête Nationale (St. John the Baptist’s Day) - June 24
Construction Holiday takes place during the last two weeks of July — while it applies officially only to the construction industry, many other Quebecers arrange to take their vacations during these two weeks.
Many of the specific details of employment law are quite different in Quebec.

Saskatchewan - 9 holidays
Saskatchewan Day - first Monday in August

Yukon - 9 holidays
Boxing Day is not a holiday in Yukon.
Discovery Day - third Monday in August
Many employers give their employees days off that may not be statutory holidays in the particular province, particularly Boxing Day. Similarly, many federally regulated employees have negotiated additional holidays, that are common holidays in the provinces such that many also take Easter Monday and the first Monday in August.

Civic holidays
In Canada, there are two definitions to the term "Civic Holiday":

Legal definition
By law, a civic holiday is defined as any holiday which is legally recognized but where the employer is not obliged to offer holiday pay.
The August holiday
Another common definition of the civic holiday refers to a particular annual holiday, celebrated on the first Monday of August in most Canadian provinces. However, this definition is far from uniform nationwide. Two provinces and one territory do not recognize it at all, and five other provinces do not oblige employers to offer holiday pay on this day, thus making it a Civic Holiday in the legal sense.
The above text are for information purposes only. You must contact your Provincial Employment Standards Branch for more details.

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