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Vacation entitlement and pay

Every province and territory has its own employment regulations as to when you start being entitled to vacation pay, as well as the amount of vacation pay that you are entitled to. Most often vacation pay entitlement is expressed as a percentage of one’s wages.

It’s important to remember that entitlements and time allocated for vacation can change from province/territory to province/territory. You should always verify what you are entitled to with the appropriate federal/provincial/territorial statute, not just because entitlements vary from one province to the next but also because entitlements may change with time.

Federally regulated employees

The Canada Labour Code is responsible for setting out vacation pay for employees in a federally regulated sector.

Federally regulated employers include but are not limited to banks, air transportation, radio and television broadcasting, mining and Crown corporations.

Federal employees are entitled to the following vacation pay:

  • Four percent for the first six years
  • Six percent after six years

For how long may an employee go on vacation?

That depends on how long the employee has worked for the federally regulated employer.

If you have worked for the employer for one year, you are entitled to two weeks of vacation time. If you worked or the employer six years and over, you are entitled to three weeks.

Provincially regulated employees

Vacation entitlement and vacation pay doesn’t work any differently for provincially regulated employees than it does federally legislated employers.

Here are a few provincial and territorial examples of vacation pay and length entitlements for provincially regulated employees.


Employees are entitled to four percent for the first five years. After five years that rises to six percent.

In terms length of vacation time, employees are entitled to:

  • One day per month up to one year of employment;
  • Two consecutive weeks and optional days without pay for up to three weeks after one year and up to five years of employment; and
  • Three consecutive weeks after five years of employment.

New Brunswick

Employees are entitled to four percent vacation pay for less than eight years of employment, and after eight years the percentage rises to six percent.

If the employee has been employed for less than eight years then the entitlement for vacation time is two regular weeks or one day for each calendar month in which an employee works, whichever is less.

If the employee has been with the employer for more than eight years, then he or she gets three weeks.


Nunavut has the same vacation pay entitlement as Quebec: four percent for the first five years and after six years that rises to six percent.

Employees who have been with their employer for over one year are entitled to two weeks’ worth of vacation, whereas employees who have been with the employer for six years or more are entitled to three weeks.

In order to get the most up-to-date vacation entitlement and pay information, consult the labour and employment statute of your province or territory, or the Canada Labour Code if you are a federal employee.

If you have question or issues in regards to your vacation entitlement or pay, you should consult an employment lawyer.

Read more:

Federally Regulated Businesses and Industries

Workplace standards