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Civic holiday or First Monday in August, public holiday or not?

august-civic-holiday-2011This year, the first Monday in August, also called Civic Holiday, among other names, depending on the province or territory, falls on Monday, August 3. The first Monday of August is a general holiday for employees in many parts of Canada. It is a public (statutory) holiday in some provinces and territories, but in others it has different legal status. It is often called the “August Holiday,” “Civic Holiday,” “Simcoe Day” (around Ontario), “Provincial Day,” “Heritage Day,” “Natal Day” or other local names.

In the provinces and territories of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, the first Monday in August is considered the province’s national day and is a public (statutory) holiday. Employees get a day off with regular pay or public holiday pay. If the employee is required to work on the holiday, the employee must be paid regular wages and get a substituted day off with pay at a later date, depending on the province or territory.

In the provinces and territory of Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Yukon, plus at federally regulated companies, the first Monday in August/civic holiday may be a discretionary day off with or without pay, but is not a recognized paid public (statutory) holiday under Employment/Labour Standards legislation. However, in some provinces such as Manitoba and Alberta, a discretionary holiday is subject to the same rules as all other public (statutory) holidays. For specific requirements for your jurisdiction, consult the Library section of HRinfodesk.

In addition, in provinces that the first Monday in August is not a public holiday, many unionize workplaces have negotiated this holiday in their collective agreements as a paid day off.

So what happens on Monday August 3?

On the first Monday in August and, in some places, throughout the first week of August, various events are held to celebrate aspects of local culture, history and achievement. Many celebrations are low-key and are organized by community members. These include making and distributing birthday cakes for the province, sports events and communal meals, such as breakfasts, barbecues, lunches and suppers. Larger events include professional displays of fireworks, road races and cultural festivals.

Although in Ontario it is not a public holiday, First Reference is taking the day off. We will not be blogging on Monday August 3, 2015. So for those who can… Have a great day off!

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Yosie Saint-Cyr

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 15 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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