This year, the first Monday in August is August 3, and may be a statutory holiday in your province or territory.
Although most commonly referred to as the “Civic Holiday” in Ontario, 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 public (statutory) holiday under employment/labour standards legislation, while in others it is not.
Public (statutory) holiday
In the provinces of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and the territories of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, the First Monday in August is considered the province/territory’s national day and is a public (statutory) holiday. Employees get a day off with regular pay or public holiday pay. 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 the provinces of Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, the territory of Yukon and in federally regulated workplaces, the First Monday in August/Civic holiday may be a discretionary day off with or without pay but is not a recognized as a paid public (statutory) holiday under employment/labour standards legislation. However, in some provinces such as Manitoba and Alberta, a discretionary holiday must be subject to the same rules as all other public (statutory) holidays.
Federal government offices will be closed, but even if provincially/territorially regulated employers are not required to treat this as a public holiday, the holiday is still widely observed across these provinces and in the territory of the Yukon.
When it comes to unionized workplaces, in provinces or territories where the first Monday in August is not a public holiday, this holiday may have been negotiated in a collective agreement as a paid day off.
How is this holiday celebrated?
The celebrations on this day are pretty muted. Fairs and exhibitions are organized across various provinces/territories to showcase the local arts and crafts of the place. In some places, local people from the communities get together to make traditional cakes and exchange them with each other. In other places, races, as well as concerts and other cultural events, are organized to celebrate this day. Various sports events are also common on this day.
However, since COVID-19, many festivals and events have been cancelled or are now providing their experience online. For example, Area 506 has been chosen to stream online via its social media channels the provincial 2020 New Brunswick Day celebration on Monday, August 3.
Call or check ahead online before travelling to any venue or event. Please continue to practice physical distancing, wear a mask where mandated and stay safe.
For those who do have August 3rd off, have a great long weekend! Please note that First Reference will be closed on Monday, August 3, 2020.
For specific requirements for your jurisdiction, consult PaySource®. This resource is always up to date with the latest payroll developments and it offers dozens of exclusive time-saving resources.