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In Canadamarker, public holidays are legislated at the national, provincial and territorial levels. Many of these holidays are observed nationwide, but each province and territory does have its own holidays as well.

While major Christian holidays such as Christmas and Good Friday are officially observed, other religious holidays are widely accepted as well (see Multiculturalism). For example, some school children and employees take days off for Jewish holidays, Muslim holidays, or Eastern Orthodox observances according to the Julian calendar. While not normally taken off work, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Mother's Day, and Father's Day are traditionally observed by Canadians. The Celebrate Canada series is a collection of important cultural days beginning with National Aboriginal Day on June 21, and followed by St-Jean Baptiste Day on June 24, Canadian Multiculturalism Day on June 27, and concluding with Canada Day on July 1.

Statutory holidays

A statutory holiday (also known as "general" or "public" holiday) in Canada is legislated either through the federal, or a provincial or territorial government. Most workers, public and private, are entitled to take the day off with regular pay. However, some employers may require employees to work on such a holiday, but the employee must either receive a day off in lieu of the holiday or must be paid at a premium rate — usually 1½ (known as "time and a half") or twice (known as "double time") the regular pay for their time worked that day, in addition to the holiday pay (except for high technology workers in British Columbia). In most provinces, when a statutory holiday falls on a normal day off (generally a weekend), the following work day is considered a statutory holiday. Statistics Canada shows an average of 11 paid statutory holidays per year in regard to all firms and corporations operating within the province.

Nationwide statutory holidays in Canada

Date English Name French Name Remarks
January 1 New Year's Day Jour de l'An Celebrates the first day of every year in the Gregorian calendar.
Friday before Easter Day Good Friday Vendredi saint Commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus.In Quebec, employers must give either Good Friday or Easter Monday as a statutory holiday.
July 1 Canada Day La fête du Canada Celebrates Canada's 1867 Confederation and establishment of dominion status.In Newfoundland and Labradormarker, observed as Memorial Day.
First Monday in September Labour Day La fête du travail Celebrates economic and social achievements of workers.
December 25 Christmas Day Noël Celebrates the birth of Jesus.

Statutory holidays for federal employees

In addition to the nationwide holidays listed above, the following holidays are mandated by federal legislation for federally regulated employees. All banks commemorate these holidays, and they are statutory in some provinces and territories.

Date English Name French Name Remarks
Monday after Easter Day Easter Monday Lundi de Pâques Celebrates the resurrection of Jesus.

Not a statutory holiday in any province or territory, however in Quebec employers must give either Good Friday or Easter Monday as a statutory holiday, though most give both days.Banks remain open (Legally they cannot close for more than three consecutive days except in emergencies), but employees often receive a "floating" paid day off to be taken on or near the holiday
Monday on or before May 24 Victoria Day La fête de la Reine Celebrates the birthday of the current Canadian Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. However, the date does not change with the change of monarch, instead it is set on the birthday of Queen Victoria, the Canadian Monarch at the time of Canadian Confederation and establishment of dominion status in 1867.

Statutory holiday in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Ontario, Quebec (coincides with National Patriotes Day), Saskatchewan, and Yukon. A holiday in New Brunswick under the Days of Rest Act.

Not a statutory holiday in the eastern maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island or in Newfoundland & Labrador.
Second Monday in October Thanksgiving L'Action de grâce A day to give thanks for the things one has at the close of the harvest season.

Statutory holiday in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Yukon. A holiday in New Brunswick under the Days of Rest Act.

Not a statutory holiday in the eastern maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island or in Newfoundland & Labrador.
November 11 Remembrance Day Le jour du Souvenir Commemorates Canada's war dead. Anniversary of the armistice ending World War I in 1918.
December 26 Boxing Day Le lendemain de Noël Commemorates the Feast of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr.

Provincially, a statutory holiday in Ontario. A holiday in New Brunswick under the Days of Rest Act.

Many employers across the country observe Boxing Day as a paid day off.

Other common statutory holidays

Date English Name French Name Remarks
Third Monday in February Family Day Fête de la famille Statutory holiday in Alberta, Ontario, and Saskatchewan.

Celebrated as Louis Riel Day (statutory holiday) in Manitoba.

Not observed elsewhere.
First Monday in August August Civic Holiday Premier lundi d'août Statutory holiday in British Columbia (British Columbia Day), New Brunswick (New Brunswick Day), Northwest Territories (Civic Holiday), Nunavut (Civic Holiday), and Saskatchewan (Saskatchewan Day).

Civic holiday (may be a paid vacation day depending on employer) in Alberta (Heritage Day), Manitoba (Civic Holiday), Ontario (John Galt Day + Simcoe Day + others), Nova Scotia (Natal Day), and Prince Edward Island (Natal Day).

Not observed in Newfoundland & Labrador, Quebec, or Yukon.
November 11 Remembrance Day Le jour du Souvenir Commemorates Canada's war dead. Anniversary of the armistice ending World War I in 1918.

Statutory holiday in Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, and Yukon.

In Manitoba, an "Official day of Observance", not a statutory holiday.

In Nova Scotia, not a statutory holiday in that employers have the option of giving Remembrance Day or an alternate day off.

Not a statutory holiday in Ontario or Quebec.

Provincial and territorial holidays

Provinces and territories generally adopt the same holidays as the federal government with some variations:


British Columbia


  • - 5 nationwide and 3 provincial statutory holidays, as well as 2 optional holidays. Remembrance Day and Boxing Day are not statutory holidays.

New Brunswick

  • - New Year's Day, Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day, Remembrance Day, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Unlike most other provinces, there is no province-wide holiday on the first Monday in August. It may be seen as redundant due to the Royal St. John's Regatta, which is observed as a civic holiday in St. John's on the first Wednesday in August (or, in case of poor weather, the next suitable day thereafter). Harbour Gracemarker has a similar holiday for its regatta in late July. All other municipalities are entitled to designate one day a year as a civic holiday, however many do not take advantage of this.

Northwest Territories

Nova Scotia

  • - 5 nationwide holidays plus Remembrance Day. Victoria Day, Thanksgiving, and Boxing Day are not statutory holidays.
  • Most statutory holidays can be substituted for a mutually agreeable alternative paid day off in lieu, or employers can require employees to work at a premium rate of pay. Several types of employment, including workplaces covered by a collective agreement, are exempt from provincial rules governing statutory holidays.
    • Remembrance Day - This holiday is governed separately from all other public holidays in Nova Scotia. It is illegal for any person to offer any goods or real property for sale on this date, or to accept or offer employment in exchange for gain or reward. There are special exemptions for workers who are employed in certain categories, but an alternative day off with pay must be offered in lieu.
    • Natal Day - first Monday in August; not a statutory holiday but a common day off.



  • - 5 nationwide and 4 provincial statutory holidays plus one common municipal holiday.

Prince Edward Island

  • - 5 nationwide and 2 provincial statutory holidays. Thanksgiving and Boxing Day are not statutory holidays.
    • Islander Day - third Monday in February. (Originally second)
    • Natal Day - first Monday in August; not a statutory holiday. Some provincial employees get a holiday around the Gold Cup and Saucer harness race instead (Third Friday in August).
    • Remembrance Day



  • - 5 nationwide and 5 provincial statutory holidays.


Many employers give their employees days off that may not be statutory holidays in the particular province, particularly Boxing Day. Similarly, many federally regulated employees may also take Easter Monday and the first Monday in August.

Municipal holidays

Some municipalities also have local statutory holidays. For instance, the morning of the Stampede Parademarker is often given as a half-day holiday in the city of Calgarymarker. In Ontario, the August Civic Holiday is not defined provincially, but by each municipality.

Civic holidays

In Canada, there are two definitions of the term "civic holiday":

Legal definition

By law, a civic holiday is defined as any holiday which is legally recognized and for which employers are obliged to offer holiday pay.

The August Civic Holiday

In parts of Canada, the term "Civic Holiday" is a generic name referring to the annual holiday on the first Monday of August. However, this definition is far from uniform nationwide as two provinces and one territory do not recognize it at all, and five other provinces do not oblige employers to offer holiday pay on this day, thus making it a civic holiday in the legal sense. No universal name is recognized for this holiday — the official name varies between the provinces and even between municipalities within Ontario.

This holiday is commonly referred to as "August Long Weekend" but this is not a government term.

Proposed holidays

In recent years there has been a call for the Canadian government to recognize St. Patrick's Day as a national holiday. Currently it is a holiday only for provincial government employees in Newfoundland and Labradormarker.

The other leading candidate for a new holiday is a weekend in February to celebrate the anniversary of the Canadian flag, or more likely a general "Heritage Day". February 15 is already designated as Flag Day, but this is simply a day of commemoration, not a statutory holiday.

The major Canadian breweries have long lobbied for a holiday in June.

Some Canadians believe that the country does not have enough holidays (in comparison to the United States and the United Kingdom. Although these nations have about the same number of nationally recognized holidays, they generally receive more days off work and school). Proposals for more work holidays are strongly opposed by many employers, however.

In the province of Nova Scotia, due to a relative lack of days off, there has been debate over the introduction of a statutory holiday in the month of February. However, no action has been taken so far.

Holidays occurring on non-work days

If a holiday occurs on a day that is normally not worked, then "... another day off with pay will be provided." There are some exceptions, however. In Alberta, an employee is not entitled to compensation if a holiday falls on a non-work day.

There are also specific laws pertinent to Quebec's Provincial Holiday.

Other observances


  1. First Monday in August Holiday
  2. General Holidays and General Holiday Pay in Alberta
  3. Public Holidays in British Columbia
  4. Manitoba Retail Businesses Holiday Closing Act
  5. Paid Statutory Holidays in Employment Standards Legislation
  6. Days of Rest Act

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