In all provinces and territories, Canada Day is a statutory (public) holiday. This year, July 1 falls on a Wednesday, a regular working day for most. Many Canada Day celebrations are moving online this year as the provinces, territories and the country continues to live through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although the festivities are online or in small private gatherings, on Wednesday, July 1, 2020, most employees must still receive a day off with public holiday pay or an average day’s pay or regular pay (depending on the jurisdiction). If the employee is required to work on the holiday, the employee must be paid regular wages and receive a substituted day off with pay at a later date (depending on the jurisdiction).
Under Canadian employment/labour standards legislation in each jurisdiction, 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 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. Many 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.
This year, from June 27 to July 1, 2020, Canada Day will be celebrated with various online activities and performances due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To find out about Canada Day events taking place online, click here.
Canadians are reminded to continue to practise physical distancing and follow public health guidelines for gatherings whether at home, the cottage or camping. Stay home if you feel sick, practice good hand hygiene and cover your cough. If you are travelling, remember to be ‘COVID Careful’ and reduce stops.