Thanksgiving is a public (statutory) holiday in all provinces and territories, except for the Atlantic provinces. 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). In the Atlantic provinces, retail business holidays legislation requires certain retail businesses to close on Thanksgiving day.
Thanksgiving Day took place in Canada irregularly from the earliest days of settlement to give thanks for various events and tribulations. The first post-Confederation Thanksgiving was celebrated on April 15, 1872, after news reached Canada that The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) had recovered from illness. Between that time and the 1950s, Canadians observed Thanksgiving Day every year, but the date was not fixed. Finally, in 1957, the federal government officially proclaimed, “A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed … to be observed on the 2nd Monday in October.” Naturally, all are invited to celebrate those blessings, no matter to whom they wish to direct their thanks.
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