In Canada, there are National holidays which are observed in every region in the country, the Provincial holidays which are specific to the region, and the Territorial holidays which are specific to the territory.
Canada is a multi-cultural country which provides room for celebration of different cultural and religious holidays. Christmas Day and Easter are some of the official public holidays on the calendar. Other religious holidays are not on the official list, but most employers and educational institutions will allow Muslims, Jews, Aborigines and members of the Orthodox Church to observe their holidays without reporting for work.
Canadian holidays can be classified into statutory holidays and non-statutory holidays. Statutory holidays are declared into law by the government or provincial / territorial administrations. Statutory holidays can be further sub-divided into Bank holidays for Federal employees and National holidays observed by both the private and civil sector.
Legislation requires employees to get paid on statutory holidays, even if they don’t report for work. If the employees are required to report for work on statutory holidays, then they are entitled to be remunerated at 1.5 or 2 times the normal rate. Statutory holidays which fall on a Saturday or Sunday, are usually moved to the next work day (e.g. Monday), so that people do not go work on this day. Canadians enjoy about eleven days of government sanctioned holidays throughout the year. The following is a list statutory holidays on the Canada Calendar:
Statutory Holidays for the private and civil sector:
New Year: The year opens with New Year’s Day celebrations on 1 January. This is based on the secular calendar and it is known as Jour de l’An
Good Friday: This is the first day of the long Easter holiday. Christians observe the crucifixion of Christ on this day. The date for the start of Good Friday is variable, depending on the Christian calendar.
Easter: The three days after Good Friday are commemorated till the Resurrection Sunday and the following Easter Monday. The dates for Easter days are variable, with not fixed annual date as in other holidays. The Christian calendar changes each year, but these holidays usually occur in March and April.
Canada Day: Celebrated on 1 July, Canada Day also known as Fête du Canada is a day to commemorate the founding of the Canada Confederation in 1867.This holiday is known as Memorial Day in the provinces of Labrador and Newfoundland.
Labour Day: This is a day for unskilled workers, celebrated on the first Monday in the month of September. It is known as Fête du travail in French.
Christmas Day: This is a Christian holiday celebrated by all including non-Christians. It is a major holiday that wraps up the Canadian Calendar. Christmas is known as Noël in French, and it is celebrated on 25 December.
Bank Holidays for Federal Employees:
Easter Monday: This is a holiday that wraps up the Easter holidays, coming the day after Easter Sunday. It is known as Lundi de Pâques in French, and its date is variable. Federal offices, institutions and administrations across the country are closed on this day, but banks are required to be open on this day. Private companies and institutions are not obliged to make this a paid holiday for their employees.However, Federal employees will get paid on this holiday. Easter Monday is a Christian holiday that commemorates the resurrection of Christ and its date is dependent on the Christian Calendar.
Victoria Day: This holiday is also known as “Fête de la Reine ou Journée nationale des Patriotes” in French, and it is celebrated on a Monday on the 24th of May or the Monday just before 24 May. Citizens take a day off to celebrate the birthday of the Monarch of Canada. The reigning monarch’s birthday is celebrated on this day regardless of his or her actual birthday.24 May is actually the birthday of Queen Victoria.
Thanksgiving Day: This is a statutory holiday held in October on a second Monday. Also known as Action de grâce in French, this is a holiday to celebrate the rewards and gifts of the harvest season. In some provinces, this holiday is optional.
Remembrance Day: This holiday is also known as Jour du Souvenir and it is celebrated on 11 November. This is a day to commemorate the brave people who died in the First World War and the truce that led to the end of this war in 1918.This day is not observed as a statutory holiday in Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba.
Boxing Day: This is a holiday that comes the day after Christmas, on 26 December. It is known as Lendemain de Noël in French. It is a paid holiday in most provinces around the country.
Family Day: This is a statutory holiday to celebrate family. It is celebrated in February on the third Monday. The French name for this holiday is Fête de la famille. This holiday is observed in six provinces around the country. Manitoba and Prince Edward Island provinces have alternative names for this holiday.
Civic Day: The Civic Holiday is celebrated in the month of August, on a first Monday. It is known as Premier lundi d’août in French. It is celebrated as a statutory holiday in five provinces. British Columbia, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan have different names for this holiday. The holiday is usually named after the province e.g. British Columbia Day. The holiday is not observed in four provinces.The Canada Calendar for statutory holidays ends with Boxing Day.