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First Monday in August a.k.a Civic Holiday: Public holiday or not?

August Civic HolidayIn most parts of Canada, the first Monday of August is recognized as a holiday. This year, the first Monday is August 1.

Although most commonly referred to as “Civic Holiday”, the holiday is referred to differently across Canada. For instance, in British Columbia, the holiday is referred to as British Columbia Day and in Manitoba, the holiday is named Terry Fox Day. The name of the holiday is not the only thing that differs between the provinces and territories, the legal status of the holiday also varies. That is, in some provinces and territories, the first Monday in August is considered a statutory (public) holiday, while in others it is not.

Statutory (public) holiday

In British Columbia, New Brunswick, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Saskatchewan, the first Monday in August is considered a public (statutory) holiday under Employment/Labour Standards legislation. Employees are therefore entitled to a day off with pay on that day. If an 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.

Discretionary day off

In Alberta, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Yukon and federally regulated employers, the first Monday in August is not a recognized paid public (statutory) holiday under Employment/Labour Standards legislation. Although not recognized as a paid public holiday, the first Monday in August may be a discretionary day off with or without pay; this decision rests with employers. It is important to note that in some provinces, such as Alberta and Manitoba, a discretionary holiday is subject to the same rules as all other public (statutory) holidays.

For specific requirements in your jurisdiction, consult HRinfodesk.

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

What to do on the long weekend?

In Alberta, there is the Edmonton Heritage Festival, which dates back to 1974, when the Government of Alberta, through then Minister of Culture, Dr. Horst A. Schmid, declared the first Monday in August an annual holiday for recognizing and celebrating the ethnic heritage of Alberta’s citizens.

In Nova Scotia, you may want to check out the Natal Day Festival which runs from July 29th to August 1st, 2016. There will be more than 30 events that include family activities, live concerts, road races, a talent showcase, one of the oldest parades in Atlantic Canada and fireworks.

In Ontario, Fort York will be celebrating Simcoe Day on August 1 from 10am to 5pm with music and food!

Although not a public holiday in Ontario, First Reference will be closed on Monday, August 1, 2016, and therefore there will be no blogging on that day.

For those who do have August 1st off, have a great long weekend!

Cristina Lavecchia

Cristina is an editor and researcher at First Reference. She is a licensed paralegal and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree, Political Science major at York University. During Cristina's paralegal and undergraduate studies she studied employment standards, occupational health and safety, and workplace safety and insurance. Read more
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