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Pay for federal and provincial public holidays

Employees are entitled to a day off and public holiday pay for days that have been identified as holidays in the federal and provincial/territorial labour codes.

Federal employment standards identify at least nine general holidays. They are: New Year's Day, Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day, Remembrance Day, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day.

It’s important to know that the provinces don’t necessarily consider all these holidays paid holidays, despite the federal employment standards having identified them as such. There are also some provincial or territorial holidays that are not acknowledged in the federal employment standards as statutory holidays. For example, Manitoba is the only province to celebrate Louis Riel Day.

That is because each province and territory have their own legislation as to what constitutes a statutory holiday. For example, Boxing Day is not a statutory holiday in British Columbia. Also note that that Remembrance Day is a holiday for which federal employees are paid but not provincial.

There are also days that are considered holidays but are not paid statutory holidays, including: Easter Sunday and Easter Monday.

Most provinces and territories share at least five major public holidays but others celebrate a lot more than five events per year.

What if I agree to work on a statutory holiday?

In most provinces/territories, if you agree to work on a statutory holiday, usually you have to do so in writing.

Also, the pay structure is different when you work on a statutory holiday. You don’t just get regular pay,but you should be paid holiday pay plus premium pay for hours worked, or your regular pay for the hours worked plus a day off (substitute holiday) with vacation pay.

If you are unclear about the statutory holidays in your province or territory you should consult the employment standards act, or whichever act applies, for your province or territory.

If you are having issues with your employer regarding statutory holiday pay, you may want to consult a lawyer.       

Read more:

Statutory Holidays Work Place Standards

Statutory Holidays in British Columbia Factsheet