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Public holiday reminders, season’s greetings and holiday break

1. Public holiday reminders

Wednesday December 25, 2013, Christmas Day, public holiday across Canada : Christmas day is a statutory holiday in all Canadian provinces and territories. Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, their Messiah, who they regard as the Son of God. The Christian tradition sees the conception and birth of Jesus as divine events. The festival involves spending time praying and giving thanks in church, and sharing special meals and gifts with family and friends.

Thursday December 26, 2013, Boxing Day, public holiday in Ontario and federally regulated workplaces: Boxing day is a statutory holiday in Ontario and federally regulated workplaces. Boxing Day, also known as the Feast of St. Stephen originated in England in the middle of the nineteenth century under Queen Victoria. It originated as a holiday for members of the merchant class to give boxes containing food and fruit, clothing, and/or money to trades people and servants. The gifts were an expression of gratitude similar to the bonuses many employers offer their employees today. These gifts, usually given in boxes, gave the holiday it’s name, “Boxing Day”.

Wednesday January 1, 2014, New Years Day, public holiday: According to the Gregorian calendar, used in Canada and many other countries, January 1 is the first day of a new year. This date is commonly known as New Year’s Day and is a statutory holiday in all Canadian provinces and territories. The New Year’s celebrations have roots in ancient celebrations of the winter solstice, both in Europe and by First Nation peoples in what is now Canada. Today, many parties are at people’s homes or in bars and clubs on the evening of December 31. However, in some rural areas, particularly in the province of Quebec, some people spend the night ice fishing with groups of friends. An important symbol of New Year’s Day is the fireworks that are set off to mark the beginning of the New Year at midnight as December 31 becomes January.

Thursday January 2, Bank Holiday in Quebec: January 2 is a public holiday in the province of Quebec. It also commemorates when the Royal Bank of Canada took over the Quebec Bank. The day after New Year’s Day, which is on January 2 in the Gregorian calendar, is an annual public holiday for many banks, government offices and employees in the clothing industry in Quebec, Canada. According to the Quebec Labour Code, January 2 is included in a list of holidays that are “non-juridical”. This means that the holiday does not relate to the law or jurisprudence. The day after New Year’s Day marks the end of the Christmas and New Year season. Those who observe the holiday may spend time with family or friends, or have a quiet day of rest. Some people take part in activities such as ice hockey or cross-country skiing. Others spend time ice fishing.

On the above holidays, when applicable, employees get a day off with regular pay or public holiday pay (depending on the province or territory of employment). If the 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 of employment). Please remember, there are variations and exemptions and the above information is not meant to go into details, they are just reminders. For specific requirements for your jurisdiction (province or territory), consult the Library section of HRinfodesk and/or The Human Resources Advisor, Ontario, Western or Atlantic Editions.

2. Season’s greetings and holiday break

The team at First Reference Inc. and First Reference Talks blog wishes everyone a very Happy Holiday Season and all the best for the New Year!/L’Équipe de La Référence et du billet First Reference Talks vous souhaite de belles fêtes et une bonne et heureuse année. We will be taking a break for the holidays. Please note that we will not be blogging during the Holiday Season from December 23, 2013 to January 1, 2014, inclusive. We will resume blogging on Thursday January 2, 2014.

Worldreader - eradicating illiteracyIn the spirit of giving this holiday season, First Reference Inc. has made a donation to Worldreader. The non-profit organization works to eradicate illiteracy among the world’s poorest people by providing primary schools with e-readers and giving kids access to thousands of great books curated into culturally relevant libraries. Worldreader has wirelessly distributed more than 700,000 African and international e-books to children in nine sub-Saharan African countries. And the results are staggering: in less than five months, children show significant improvements in fluency and comprehension. Once these children are active readers, together with their families they can continue to access Worldreader content via the mobile phone app, helping people make decisions, learn, grow and change their lives.

Happy Holidays to all and see you in the new year!

Yosie Saint-Cyr First Reference Human Resources and Employment/Labour Law Compliance Managing Editor

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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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