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Celebrating Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day in Quebec

Saint-Jean-Baptiste DayIn Quebec, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, Fête nationale du Québec et de la Francophonie canadienne, is a statutory (public) holiday on June 24 each year.

Since June 24 falls on a Saturday this year, the following rules apply when it comes to employee statutory entitlements:

  • If an employee works on Saturday, June 24, 2017, they are allowed in addition to his or her regular pay, public holiday pay or a substituted day off that the employee can take on the business day immediately before or after June 24 (i.e. June 23 or June 26). It is the employer who decides to either pay holiday pay or provide the substituted day off.
  • If Saturday, June 24, 2017 is a day off for the employee, the employee either gets a day off on the business day immediately before or after June 24 (i.e. June 23 or June 26) or gets public holiday pay.

It is important to note that an employer is not allowed to move the National Holiday to June 23 or the next Monday. The law only allows the movement of the holiday when it falls on a Sunday. If that were the case, the National Holiday of June 24 could be moved to Monday June 25, for those who usually do not work on a Sunday.

Public holiday pay is equal to 1/20 of the wages earned during the four complete weeks of pay preceding the week of June 24, excluding overtime.

Consult one of our HR/Payroll publications, like The New PaySource®, a comprehensive source for Canadian compliance information, for more compliance information in relation to statutory holiday entitlements. This resource is always up to date with the latest payroll developments and offers dozens of exclusive time-saving resources.

Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day origins

Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day originated from celebrations of the summer solstice.

In France, the Roman Catholic Church adapted the holiday and associated it with John the Baptist.

Every year, Saint-Jean-Baptiste celebrations were organized throughout Quebec; the largest ones being held in Quebec City and Montreal.

In 1925, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day became a statutory holiday in Quebec.

In 1947, the Saint-Jean-Baptiste societies of Québec formed a federation, which campaigned in favour of adopting the fleur-de-lys as the province’s flag. Accordingly, in January 1948, Quebec adopted an official flag that became a rallying symbol in Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day celebrations.

In the the 1960s and 1970s, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day became less about religion and more about culture, art and unity. In June 1972, the Fédération des Sociétés Saint-Jean-Baptiste du Québec became the Mouvement national des Québécois.

In June 1977, the government renamed Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day the Fête nationale du Québec, ultimately distancing it from religion.

To commemorate the religious aspect of the National Holiday, masses are still held the morning of June 24 and during the Solstice des Nations, a traditional ceremony held as part of National Aboriginal Day on June 21 each year.

Many francophone communities outside Quebec also celebrate Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day.

Click here to view a list of activities happening in your area.

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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