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Victoria Day, a public (statutory) holiday in some jurisdictions

On Monday May 19, 2014, most Canadians get a day off work with pay on what is called Victoria Day. In Quebec, it is called National Patriots’ Day (since the sixties, this day was unofficially known in Québec as the Fête de Dollard until 2003, when provincial legislation officially named the same date as Victoria Day the National Patriots’ Day).

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). However, Victoria Day is not a public (statutory) holiday under employment standards in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. In these provinces, a day off may be granted to retail industry employees under the Shops’ Closing Act or similar legislation. There are other variations and exemptions; for specific requirements for your jurisdiction, consult the Library section of HRinfodesk.

In Canada, the celebration of Victoria Day occurs every year on the Monday prior to May 25. It is the official celebration in Canada of the birthdays of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II. Victoria Day was established as a holiday in Canada West in 1845, and became a national holiday in 1901. Before Victoria Day became a national holiday, people had celebrated Empire Day, beginning in the 1890s as Victoria approached her Diamond Jubilee in 1897.

No matter the reason… have a great long weekend and a great day off!

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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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