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Canada Day, statutory (public) holiday

Canada DayIn all provinces and territories, Canada Day is a statutory (public) holiday. This year, July 1 falls on a Sunday, a non-working day for most. So, what day will employees have off work? Most employers may have opted to give employees the following day, Monday, July 2 as the day off in lieu of Sunday, but some businesses may have chosen the previous Friday (June 29).

Under employment/labour standards legislation, when a statutory holiday falls on a non-working day, the general rule is that an employer must provide to the employee a substituted day off, which is another working day off allocated to replace the statutory holiday. Employees are entitled to be paid public holiday pay or regular pay (depending on the province or territory of employment) for a substituted holiday. That said, there are varying rules and exceptions for certain jurisdictions.

Under the federal National Holidays Act, if July 1 falls on a Sunday, it is observed the following business day, which is Monday. Therefore, for 2018, the paid statutory holiday is Monday, July 2.

However, Newfoundland and Labrador has a different rule. Under the Shops’ Closing Act, July 1 is always treated as Canada Day, even it falls on a Sunday. July 1 is also Memorial Day in Newfoundland and Labrador. This commemorates the heavy loss of life in the Newfoundland Regiment on the first day of the Battle of the Somme during World War I. This means certain retail business must close on July 1, and qualifying employees under employment/labour standards and retail business legislation may receive holiday pay.

In Nova Scotia, beginning July 1, 2018, July 1 will always be treated as Canada Day—even when it falls on a Sunday. This means certain retail businesses must close on July 1, and qualifying employees under employment/labour standards and retail business legislation may receive holiday pay.

Canada DayFor specific requirements for your jurisdiction, consult PaySource®. This resource is always up to date with the latest payroll developments and offers dozens of exclusive time-saving resources.

Retail business owners

There are various rules and exceptions in relation to Canada Day retail hours based on jurisdiction and type of retail store. Therefore, retailers should ultimately consult with their local municipality or provincial/territorial government to ensure that they are not violating any laws.

Celebrating Canada Day

Canada Day is a celebration of Confederation in 1867. The Fathers of Confederation were a dream team of lawyers, doctors, journalists and businessmen. They worked jointly to negotiate the terms of Confederation. For instance, George-Étienne Cartier and John A. Macdonald, both lawyers, presented arguments supporting confederation, and Alexander Galt, a businessman, explained the possible financial arrangements of the union.

By 1967, Canada had its own national symbols and possessed all the powers of an independent nation, except the power to amend its own Constitution (which could only be done by the British Parliament).

On April 17, 1982, Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau signed the Proclamation of the Constitution Act. The new Constitution transferred all legislative authority to Canada, including the power to make changes to the Constitution.

Canada Day was originally referred to as Dominion Day, but was renamed Canada Day in 1982.

July 1 is also known as Moving Day in Quebec. Several people in Quebec spend Canada Day moving their belongings from one house to another because many leases commence on July 1 and last for one year.

From June 29 to July 2, 2018, Canada Day will be celebrated with various activities and performances. To take part in Canada Day events and activities in your area, click here.

Happy Canada Day and have a great long weekend!

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Yosie Saint-Cyr, LL.B. Managing Editor

Managing Editor at First Reference Inc.
Yosie Saint-Cyr, LL.B., is a trained lawyer called to the Quebec bar in 1988 and is still a member in good standing. She practiced business, employment and labour law until 1999. For over 18 years, Yosie has been the Managing Editor of the following publications, Human Resources Advisor, Human Resources PolicyPro, HRinfodesk and Accessibility Standards PolicyPro from First Reference. Yosie is one of Canada’s best known and most respected HR authors, with an extensive background in employment and labour across the country. Read more
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