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Canada Day, statutory (public) holiday: Celebrating 150 years!

Canada Day

Photo: Government of Canada website

Canada celebrates 150 years on July 1!

In all provinces and territories, Canada Day is a statutory (public) holiday. This year, July 1 is a Saturday, a non-working day for most. Therefore, what day will employees have off work? Most employers may have opted to give employees the following Monday (July 3) as the day off in lieu of Saturday, but some businesses may have chosen the previous Friday (June 30).

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.

For specific requirements for your jurisdiction, consult one of our HR/Payroll publications, The New 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 30 to July 2, 2017, Canada 150 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!

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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