Public holidays in Canada
Transparentholidaycanadaicon.png
Observed byCanadians
TypeNational, provincial, federal
CelebrationsVarious
ObservancesNATIONWIDE (in bold) and FEDERAL (in italics):

Public holidays in Canada, known as statutory holidays, stat holidays, or simply stats, consist of a variety of cultural, nationalistic, and religious holidays that are legislated in Canada at the federal or provincial and territorial levels. While many of these holidays are honoured and acknowledged nationwide, provincial and territorial legislation varies in regard to which are officially recognized.

There are five nationwide statutory holidays[1] and six additional holidays for federal employees.[2] Each of the 13 provinces and territories observes a number of holidays in addition to the nationwide days, but each varies in regard to which are legislated as either statutory, optional, or not at all.

Many public and private employers, as well as school systems, provide additional days off around the end of December, often including at least a full or half-day on December 24 (Christmas Eve) or December 31 (New Year's Eve) or in some cases, the entire week between Christmas and New Year.[3][4] While not officially legislated in any capacity, internationally notable cultural holidays such as Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Halloween, Mother's Day, and Father's Day are traditionally observed by Canadians as part of Canadian culture.[5]

Statutory holidays

A statutory holiday (also known as "stats" or "general" or "public" holiday) in Canada is legislated either through the federal government or a provincial or territorial government.[6] Most workers, public and private, are entitled to take the day off with regular pay. However, some employers may require employees to work on such a holiday, but the employee must either receive a day off in lieu of the holiday or must be paid at a premium rate – usually 1+12 (known as "time and a half") or twice (known as "double time") the regular pay for their time worked that day, in addition to the holiday pay.[7] In most provinces, when a statutory holiday falls on a normal day off (generally a weekend), the following workday is considered a statutory holiday. Statistics Canada shows an average of 11 paid statutory holidays per year in regard to all firms and corporations operating within the province.[8]

Nationwide statutory holidays in Canada

Date[9] English name French name Remarks
January 1 New Year's Day Jour de l'An Celebrates the first day of every year in the Gregorian calendar
Variable date between March 20 and April 23 Good Friday Vendredi saint Commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus, on the Friday before Easter.

In Quebec, non-federally regulated employers must give either Good Friday or Easter Monday as a statutory holiday, though some give both days.

July 1 Canada Day Fête du Canada Celebrates Canada's 1867 Confederation and establishment of dominion status.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, observed concurrently with Memorial Day.

First Monday in September Labour Day Fête du travail Celebrates economic and social achievements of workers
December 25 Christmas Day Noël Celebrates the nativity of Jesus

Federal statutory holidays, also observed in some provinces

In addition to the nationwide holidays listed above, the following holidays are mandated by federal legislation for federally regulated employees. All banks and post offices commemorate these holidays, and they are statutory in some provinces and territories.

Date English name French name Remarks
In lieu of Good Friday (Stat Holiday), Monday after Easter Day Easter Monday Lundi de Pâques Variable date between March 23 and April 26. Celebrates the resurrection of Jesus.

Not a statutory holiday in any province or territory; however, in Quebec employers must give either Good Friday or Easter Monday as a statutory holiday, though most give both days.

Banks remain open (legally they cannot close for more than three consecutive days except in emergencies[citation needed]), but employees often receive a "floating" paid day off to be taken on or near the holiday.

This is not one of the nine "General Holidays" as defined by the Canada Labour Code – Part III. As such, there is no legal requirement for private sector employers in federally regulated industries to provide Easter Monday as a paid holiday to employees. However, many federal government offices will be closed on this day.

Monday before May 25 Victoria Day Officially la Fête de Victoria (more commonly called la Fête de la Reine) or Journée nationale des Patriotes Celebrates the birthday of the reigning Canadian monarch; however, the date does not change with the change of monarch, being instead fixed on the birthday of Queen Victoria, the sovereign at the time of Canadian Confederation and establishment of dominion status in 1867. Some French-Canadians celebrate instead Adam Dollard des Ormeaux a French-Canadian hero from the New France times on this day; officially National Patriots' Day in Quebec.

Statutory holiday in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Ontario, Quebec (coincides with National Patriots' Day), Saskatchewan, and Yukon. A holiday in New Brunswick under the Days of Rest Act.

Not a statutory holiday in the eastern provinces of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, or Newfoundland and Labrador.

First Monday in August Civic Holiday Premier lundi d'août Statutory holiday in British Columbia (British Columbia Day), New Brunswick (New Brunswick Day), Northwest Territories (Civic Holiday), Nunavut (Civic Holiday), and Saskatchewan (Saskatchewan Day).

Civic holiday (may be a paid vacation day depending on employer) in Alberta (Heritage Day), Manitoba (Terry Fox Day), Ontario (Colonel By Day, John Galt Day, Simcoe Day, and others), and Nova Scotia (Natal Day).

Not an official statutory holiday in Ontario, but it is widely observed.[10][11] Not observed in Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, or Yukon.

September 19 (2022 only) National Day of Mourning Jour de deuil national Commemorates the death of Canada's late head of state Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, on the day of her state funeral.[12]

The provinces of British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island have also enacted provincial equivalents for the federal holiday. Conversely, the provinces of Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Quebec will not enact any holiday.[13]
September 30 National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Journée nationale de la vérité et de la réconciliation Commemorates the victims of the Canadian Indian residential school system. Unofficial observance of this date began in 2013 as Orange Shirt Day, a local educational event in Williams Lake, British Columbia.[14] The day has been a holiday for employees of the federal government and federally-regulated industries since 2021.[15]

As of 2022, Prince Edward Island is the only province to recognize the day as a statutory holiday for all workers.[16] The provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, and the Northwest Territories have granted the day as a holiday to provincial government and public sector workers.[17]

Second Monday in October Thanksgiving Action de grâce A day to give thanks for the things one has at the close of the harvest season.

Statutory holiday in most jurisdictions of Canada: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Yukon.[18]

An optional holiday in the Atlantic provinces of Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.[18] In New Brunswick, included under the Days of Rest Act.

November 11 Remembrance Day Jour du Souvenir Commemorates Canada's war dead. Anniversary of the armistice ending World War I in 1918.

Statutory holiday in Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, and Yukon.

In Manitoba, an "Official day of Observance", not a statutory holiday.

In Nova Scotia, addressed in the Remembrance Day Act, which prohibits employers from allowing employees to work and prohibits employees from working with exceptions for required services.[19] Employers have the option of giving Remembrance Day or an alternate day off.

Not a statutory holiday in Quebec and Ontario.

December 26 Boxing Day Lendemain de Noël A holiday with mixed and uncertain origins and definitions.[20]

Provincially, a statutory holiday in Ontario. A holiday in New Brunswick under the Days of Rest Act.

Many employers across the country observe Boxing Day as a paid day off.

Other common holidays

Date English name French name Remarks
Third Monday in February
  • Family Day
  • Louis Riel Day (Manitoba)
  • Islander Day (Prince Edward Island)
  • Heritage Day (Nova Scotia)
  • Fête de la famille
  • Journée Louis Riel (MB)
  • Fête des Insulaires (PE)
  • Fête du Patrimoine (NS)


Statutory holiday under various names in Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.

British Columbia previously celebrated Family Day on the second Monday in February between 2013 and 2018.[21] However, British Columbia celebrates Family Day on the third Monday in February from 2019 onward.[22]

New Brunswick began observing Family Day on the third Monday in February in 2018.[23]

Not observed elsewhere.

One full week during the month of March (timing varies)
  • Congé de mars
  • Congé de printemps


Week-long closure of public schools across all provinces and territories.[24] Often used as an opportunity for families with schoolchildren to go on vacation.

Although March break usually never coincides with the Easter weekend, Prince Edward Island schools are considering merging it with the Easter holiday as of 2018.[25]

Provincial and territorial holidays

Provinces and territories generally adopt the same holidays as the federal government with some variations. Only the provincial statutory holidays are shaded:

Date AB BC MB NB NL NT NS NU ON PE QC SK YT
January 1 New Year's Day
Third Monday in February Family Day Louis Riel Day Family Day Heritage Day Family Day Islander Day Family Day
Variable date between March 20 and April 23 Good Friday
Monday after Easter Day Easter Monday Easter Monday
Monday before May 25 Victoria Day Victoria Day Victoria Day National Patriots' Day Victoria Day
June 21 National Indigenous Peoples Day National Indigenous Peoples Day
June 24 National Holiday
July 1 Canada Day Memorial Day Canada Day
First Monday in August British Columbia Day New Brunswick Day Civic Holiday Civic Holiday Saskatchewan Day Discovery Day
First Monday in September Labour Day
September 30 National Day for Truth and Reconciliation National Day for Truth and Reconciliation National Day for Truth and Reconciliation National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Second Monday in October Thanksgiving Thanksgiving Thanksgiving Thanksgiving
November 11 Remembrance Day Remembrance Day Remembrance Day Remembrance Day Remembrance Day
December 25 Christmas Day
December 26 Boxing Day Boxing Day
Total stat. holidays 9 10 8 9 6 13 6 11 9 8 8* 10 10

* In Quebec, employers must choose between Good Friday and Easter Monday for their statutory holiday.

Alberta

Five nationwide statutory holidays, four provincial holidays as well as three "optional holidays".[26]

Provincial statutory

Optional

British Columbia

Five nationwide and five provincial statutory holidays.[27]

Provincial statutory

Manitoba

Five nationwide and three provincial statutory holidays, as well as two optional holidays.[28] Remembrance Day and Boxing Day are not statutory holidays.

Provincial statutory

Optional

New Brunswick

Five nationwide and five provincial statutory holidays.[30] Although prescribed as public holidays, Victoria Day, Thanksgiving, and Boxing Day are not paid public holidays.[31]

Provincial statutory

Optional

Newfoundland and Labrador

Provincial statutory

Optional

These have not been observed as statutory holidays since 1992. They are, however, observed by the provincial government. Unlike most other provinces, there is no province-wide holiday on the first Monday in August. It may be seen as redundant due to the Royal St. John's Regatta, which is observed as a civic holiday in St. John's on the first Wednesday in August (or, in case of poor weather, the next suitable day thereafter). Harbour Grace and Labrador City have a similar holiday for their regatta in late July. All other municipalities are entitled to designate one day a year as a civic holiday, however many do not take advantage of this.

Northwest Territories

Five nationwide holidays and five territorial statutory holidays.

Territorial statutory

Nova Scotia

Five nationwide holidays plus two provincial holidays. Victoria Day, Thanksgiving, and Boxing Day are not statutory holidays but most businesses and retail are closed Boxing Day. Most statutory holidays can be substituted for a mutually agreeable alternative paid day off in lieu or employers can require employees to work at a premium rate of pay. Several types of employment, including workplaces covered by a collective agreement, are exempt from provincial rules governing statutory holidays.[35][36][37]

Provincial statutory

Optional

Nunavut

Five nationwide and four territorial statutory holidays. Boxing Day is not a statutory holiday.

Territorial statutory

Optional

Ontario

Five nationwide and four provincial statutory holidays plus one common municipal holiday. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is officially recognized only in Toronto and Ottawa, though not as a paid holiday.[41][42]

Provincial statutory

Optional

Prince Edward Island

Five nationwide and three provincial statutory holidays.[44]

Provincial statutory[45]

In addition, Gold Cup Parade Day is celebrated in the capital city of Charlottetown on the third Friday in August, marking the end of the Provincial Exhibition and the Gold Cup and Saucer race at the Charlottetown Driving Park. The day is observed as a holiday by some businesses in the central and eastern areas of the province.[46]

Quebec

In Quebec, there are five nationwide and three provincial statutory holidays. Remembrance Day and Boxing Day are not statutory holidays, and there is no civic holiday in August. Many details of employment law are different in Quebec. The official statutory holidays are:[47][48]

Optional

Saskatchewan

Five nationwide and five provincial statutory holidays.

Provincial statutory

Yukon

Five nationwide and four territorial statutory holidays. In addition, Easter Monday, Boxing Day, and Heritage Day are statutory for public service workers. Many employers give their employees days off that may not be statutory holidays in the particular province, particularly Boxing Day.[49]

Territorial statutory

Optional

Municipal holidays

Some municipalities also have local statutory holidays. For instance, the morning of the Stampede Parade is often given as a half-day holiday in the city of Calgary. In Ontario, the August Civic Holiday is not defined provincially, but by each municipality.

Civic holidays

In Canada, there are two definitions of the term "civic holiday":

Legal definition

By law, a civic holiday is defined as any holiday which is legally recognized and for which employers are obliged to offer holiday pay.

August Civic Holiday

Main article: Civic Holiday

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In parts of Canada, the term "Civic Holiday" is a generic name referring to the annual holiday on the first Monday of August. However, this definition is far from uniform nationwide as Quebec, Newfoundland, and Yukon do not recognize it at all (in the Yukon, a civic holiday is celebrated instead on the third Monday of August as Discovery Day). Five other provinces (Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island) do not oblige employers to offer holiday pay on this day, thus not making it a civic holiday in the legal sense. No universal name is recognized for this holiday – the official name varies between the provinces and even between municipalities within Ontario. In Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, it is a statutory holiday.

The Civic Holiday is meant to replace a city's birthday, also known as Natal Day. Instead of each city and town having a separate birthday celebration and day off, the Civic Holiday is observed. For example, the Halifax Regional Municipality is made up of the former cities of Halifax and Dartmouth and the town of Bedford. Each of these places used to hold civic birthday celebrations on different days. Many people lived in one jurisdiction but worked in another. This meant significant confusion arose as to which day a person would be excused from work.

This holiday is commonly referred to as "August Long Weekend" but this is not a government term.

Proposed holidays

The other leading candidate for a new holiday is a weekend in February to celebrate the anniversary of the Canadian flag, or more likely a general "Heritage Day". February 15 is already designated as Flag Day, but this is simply a day of commemoration, not a statutory holiday.

In the province of Nova Scotia, which has relatively few days off, a bill has been introduced for a new holiday for the third Monday in February, to start in 2015.[52]

In April 2014, a private member's bill to make Remembrance Day a legal holiday and give it the same status as Canada Day was introduced to the House of Commons. Bill C-597 passed second reading in the House of Commons by a margin of 258 to 2; however, it did not become law.[53]

In 2001, members of the 14th Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories passed the National Aboriginal Day Act, making it the first jurisdiction in Canada to recognize this day as a formal statutory holiday.[54]

Holidays occurring on non-work days

For federally regulated workers, if a holiday occurs on a day that is normally not worked, then "another day off with pay will be provided".[55]

When New Year's Day, Canada Day, Remembrance Day, Christmas Day or Boxing Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday which a federally regulated worker would not normally work, they are entitled to a holiday with pay on the working day immediately before or after the holiday. If one of the other holidays falls on a weekend, then the employer must add a holiday with pay to their employees’ annual vacation or give them a paid day off at another mutually convenient time.

Other observances

This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (August 2008)

See also

References

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  2. ^ "Statutory Holidays". Government of Canada. August 16, 2016. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  3. ^ "School Year Calendar". Toronto District School Board. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  4. ^ "Students & Schools | Vancouver School Board". Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  5. ^ "Canadian Holidays". JJ's Complete Guide to Canada. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  6. ^ "Work Rights – Statutory Holidays". Canadian Labour Congress. January 17, 2007. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved March 23, 2008.
  7. ^ Government of Canada, Public Services and Procurement Canada (August 8, 2013). "Statutory holiday pay - Canada.ca". Tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca.
  8. ^ "Canadian statutory holiday rules". Statutoryholidays.com.
  9. ^ "Federal statutory holidays in Canada". Statutoryholidays.com.
  10. ^ "Employment Standards Act, 2000". Government of Ontario. 2000. Retrieved August 4, 2008.
  11. ^ "Retail Business Holidays Act". Government of Ontario. 1990. Retrieved August 4, 2008.
  12. ^ Stober, Eric (September 13, 2022). "Canada announces a holiday to mark Queen Elizabeth's death". Global News. Retrieved September 13, 2022.
  13. ^ "Do Canadians get a holiday to mourn the Queen? It depends". CBC News. September 13, 2022. Retrieved September 13, 2022.
  14. ^ "What is Orange Shirt Day?". CBC Kids. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
  15. ^ Bryden, Joan (June 3, 2021). "Royal assent given to bill creating national day for truth and reconciliation". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
  16. ^ Devlin, Megan (September 13, 2022). "Here are the provinces where Truth and Reconciliation Day is a stat". Daily Hive. Retrieved September 14, 2022.
  17. ^ "Indigenous business leader disappointed National Day for Truth and Reconciliation not a provincial holiday". CBC News. September 11, 2021. Retrieved September 13, 2021.
  18. ^ a b "Statutory Holidays in Canada". Archived from the original on November 10, 2011. Retrieved October 6, 2012.
  19. ^ "Remembrance Day Act". Nslegislature.ca. Retrieved October 9, 2016.
  20. ^ Snopes.com – "Boxing Day"Urban Legends Reference Pages. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  21. ^ [1][dead link]
  22. ^ "B.C. Family Day moving one week later starting in 2019". CBC.ca. February 9, 2018.
  23. ^ "New Brunswick's first Family Day". GNB.ca. January 31, 2018.
  24. ^ "March Break is an annual holiday from school in Canada". About.com. January 25, 2017.
  25. ^ "P.E.I. school calendar change getting thumbs down from some parents". CBC. March 31, 2017.
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  28. ^ "Manitoba Retail Businesses Holiday Closing Act". Web2.gov.mb.ca. Retrieved February 20, 2011.
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  32. ^ "New Brunswick announces new stat holiday: Family Day coming next February". Cbc.ca. Retrieved April 26, 2017.
  33. ^ "Shops' Closing Regulations, C.N.L.R. 1115/96". Assembly.nl.ca.
  34. ^ "Government Holidays for 2013 | Human Resource Secretariat". Exec.gov.nl.ca. Retrieved October 9, 2016.
  35. ^ "Labour Standards Code" (PDF). Office of the Legislative Council, Nova Scotia House of Assembly. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  36. ^ "An Act to Establish a Holiday in February" (PDF). Office of the Legislative Council, Nova Scotia House of Assembly. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  37. ^ "General Labour Standards Code Regulations". Office of the Legislative Council, Nova Scotia House of Assembly. Retrieved April 6, 2009.
  38. ^ "February holiday dubbed Nova Scotia Heritage Day". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
  39. ^ "Statutes of Nova Scotia Passed in the Thirtieth Year of the Reign of Her Majesty QUEEN ELIZABETH II Being the Third Session of the Fifty-Second General Assembly" (PDF). Queen's Printer, Nova Scotia. 1981. p. 51. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  40. ^ "Remembrance Day Act (As currently revised)". Office of the Legislative Counsel, Nova Scotia House of Assembly. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  41. ^ "Martin Luther King Jr. Day In Toronto". Chfi.com. Retrieved January 15, 2022.
  42. ^ "Martin Luther King, Jr Day: A day "on", not a day "off"!". Black History Ottawa. Archived from the original on January 14, 2020. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
  43. ^ a b "Public Holidays". Ontario Ministry of Labour. May 17, 2013. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
  44. ^ "Paid Holidays". Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture Prince Edward Island. Government of Prince Edward Island. Retrieved September 14, 2022.
  45. ^ "Labour: Paid Holidays". Gov.pe.ca. November 27, 2014. Retrieved October 9, 2016.
  46. ^ "Gold Cup Day: What's open and closed on P.E.I." CBC News. August 18, 2022. Retrieved September 14, 2022.
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  48. ^ "Statutory Holidays – CNESST". CNESST. Archived from the original on June 4, 2020. Retrieved January 7, 2020.
  49. ^ "Government Services – Holidays". Government of Yukon. September 26, 2012. Archived from the original on July 7, 2013. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
  50. ^ "Find employee information for statutory holidays". yukon.ca. January 9, 2018.
  51. ^ "News". yukon.ca. January 24, 2018.
  52. ^ Carter, Pat (December 5, 2013). "New bill would create N.S. February holiday starting in 2015". The Canadian Press/AP. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
  53. ^ "LEGISinfo - Private Member's Bill C-597 (41-2)". Parl.ca. Retrieved November 23, 2020.
  54. ^ "National Aboriginal Day". Canada: Government of the Northwest Territories. Archived from the original on June 23, 2016. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  55. ^ "General Overview – Statutory Holidays". Human Resources and Social Development Canada. October 5, 2011. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
  56. ^ "Women's Day in Canada – Women's Day Celebration in Canada". Womensdaycelebration.com. Retrieved September 13, 2020.

Further reading