Statutory (public) holiday
Thanksgiving Day is a public (statutory) holiday in all jurisdictions across Canada, except for the Atlantic provinces (New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island). It is important to note that organizations regulated by the federal government recognize Thanksgiving as a statutory holiday, regardless of its provincial status.
Employees are therefore entitled to a day off with regular pay or public holiday pay (depending on the province or territory of employment). In the event 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 (again, this depends on the province or territory of employment).
For specific legislative requirements and entitlements to Thanksgiving Day in your jurisdiction, consult our payroll publication PaySource, which is the most comprehensive source for Canadian payroll compliance information. Click here to try PaySource free for 30 days!
Retail business owners
In Alberta, British Columbia, Quebec and Saskatchewan, as long as retailers pay their employees according to the law, they are allowed to be open on Thanksgiving Day.
In Ontario, Thanksgiving Day is a retail closing day for several retailers (with exceptions).
There are various rules and exceptions in relation to Thanksgiving Day retail hours, based on jurisdiction and type of retail store. Therefore, retailers should ultimately consult with their local municipality or provincial/territorial government to ensure that they are not violating any laws. For more information on retail business holiday rules and regulations in your jurisdiction, visit Retail Council of Canada’s website here.
Did you know?
Thanksgiving has been declared a national holiday in Canada since 1879, with November 6th declared as the official day of celebration. It was in 1957 that the Parliament of Canada proclaimed the second Monday in October as Thanksgiving Day because after the World Wars, Remembrance Day (November 11th) and Thanksgiving Day fell in the same week.
Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!
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