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Celebrating Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day in Quebec

Saint-Jean-BaptisteIn Quebec, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, Fête nationale du Québec et de la Francophonie canadienne, is a statutory (public) holiday on June 24 each year. However, in 2018, June 24 falls on a Sunday. If June 24 falls on a Sunday, the holiday is pushed to June 25 (except for workers who usually work on Sunday).

It is important to note that an employer is not allowed to move the National Holiday to the next business day if it falls on a Saturday. The law only allows the movement of the holiday when it falls on a Sunday.

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

    • For employees who must work on June 24 and are given a paid substituted day off, the day must be taken on their usual working day before or after June 24 (and not in the three weeks leading up to or after June 24, as is the case for other public holidays).
    • Employers who do not give workers a paid substituted day off must give them additional compensation. The compensation must be equal to 1/20 of the wages earned during the four complete workweeks leading up to the week of June 24. For workers paid in full or in part by commission, the amount is 1/60 of the wages earned during the 12 previous weeks. Tips are included in the calculation but overtime pay is not.

For federal employees working in Quebec, their right to the June 24 holiday depends on their union contracts or employment contracts.

Consult PaySource® for more compliance information. 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.

Bonne St-Jean!

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Yosie Saint-Cyr, LL.B. Managing Editor

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 18 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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