Last year, as a direct response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #80, the federal government announced a new federal “general holiday” under the Canada Labour Code, commonly referred to as “statutory holiday”, on September 30 of each year. The holiday is called “National Day for Truth and Reconciliation,” which is a day of reflection, recognition and commemoration of the tragic impact of residential schools in Canada. This means that the federal government and federally-regulated employers must treat September 30 as a statutory holiday. The introduction of this federal holiday has led many employers to ask whether the provinces will also recognize September 30 as a provincial statutory holiday.
The vast majority of employers and employees in Canada are governed by provincial – not federal – employment laws. This means that the announcement of a federal statutory holiday has no legal impact on most employers and employees in Canada. As you will see from our summary below, only three provinces and territories have designated September 30 a statutory holiday, meaning the majority of Canadians will not have a statutory holiday on September 30.
Provinces and Territories that recognize September 30 as a statutory holiday:
- Prince Edward Island
- Northwest Territories
Provinces and Territories that do not recognize September 30 as a statutory holiday:
- British Columbia
- Manitoba – note that public schools and non-essential government services and offices will be closed.
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland and Labrador – note that government offices, schools and other public entities will be closed.
- Nova Scotia – note that provincial government offices, public schools, regulated childcare and other non-essential public services will be closed.
For provinces that have not declared a statutory holiday, the decision will be up to employers as to whether they provide their employees with a paid holiday on September 30. Employers that choose to operate as usual on September 30 should be mindful of their obligations under human rights law, in particular any accommodations triggered by child care issues that may arise as a result of schools and child care centres being closed.
For more information, please contact the author, Emily Kroboth.