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A statutory holiday refers to a general holiday that is established by federal, territorial or provincial labour standards legislation and on which workers got a day off with pay.

Statutory holidays are also referred to as “public” or “stat” holidays.

Employees receive holiday pay on stat holidays even though they do not work. If an employee is required to work on a stat holiday, they earn a premium rate (1.5-2x) on top of the regular holiday pay.

Alternatively, a worker who works on a public holiday may earn their regular rate of pay and get another paid day off.

When a stat holiday falls on a weekend (non-working day), employees generally take the next available work day off.

Read on to learn about the statutory holidays observed in Canada in 2020 and 2021, the history behind each designated holiday, stat holiday pay rules, and more.

Federal Stat Holiday in Canada

Most workers in Canada are eligible for time off with pay on five federally mandated statutory holidays across the country.

The national statutory holidays are:

  • New Year’s Day on January 1st
  • Good Friday on the Friday before Easter Sunday
  • Canada Day on July 1st
  • Labour Day on the first Monday in September
  • Christmas Day on December 25th

In Quebec, employers may give workers the day off on either Good Friday or Easter Monday.

In addition to the five national holidays above, federally regulated employees enjoy four more statutory holidays for a total of nine paid general holidays:

  • Victoria Day on the Monday before May 25th
  • Thanksgiving Day on the second Monday in October
  • Remembrance Day on November 11th
  • Boxing Day  on December 26th

Many federal workers also get Easter Monday off.

Federal Statutory Holidays 2020-2021

Statutory Holiday
2020
2021
New Year’s Day
January 1
January 1
Good Friday
April 10
April 2
Canada Day
July 1
July 1
Labour Day
September 7
September 6
Christmas Day
December 25
December 25
Victoria Day
May 18
May 24
Thanksgiving Day
October 12
October 11
Remembrance Day
November 11
November 11
Boxing Day
December 26
December 26

Federal Stat Holiday Pay Rules

As per the Canada Labour Code, employees who are required to work on a general holiday are entitled to receive holiday pay plus a rate that is at least one and a half times (1.5x) their regular rate of wages for the time worked on that day.

Holiday pay for most workers is equal to one-twentieth (1/20th) of the wages (excluding overtime) they have earned in the 4-week period before the week when the holiday falls.

Employees who are paid by commission and who have completed a minimum of 12 weeks of continuous employment receive a holiday pay equal to one sixtieth (1/60th) of the wages period before the week when the holiday occurs (excluding overtime pay).

There are also provisions for commissioned workers who haven’t completed up to 12 weeks of continuous employment, those working in the longshoring industry, and those who work in a continuous operation e.g. truck drivers.

Provincial Stat Holidays in Canada

Individual provinces have designated statutory holidays to commemorate cultural and historical events. On these days, employees get a day off with pay or they are paid a premium rate when they work.

The rules governing provincial stat holidays can be found in the applicable Employment Standards Act.

Statutory Holidays in Ontario 2020

Toronto

Ontario has four provincial statutory holidays in addition to the five national holidays. The provincial holidays are:

  • Family Day: February 17, 2020
  • Victoria Day: May 18, 2020
  • Thanksgiving Day: October 12, 2020
  • Boxing Day: December 26, 2020

Ontario is the only province where Boxing Day is a statutory holiday.

There is a total of 9 stat days in Ontario.

Ontario Stat Holiday Pay Rules

An employee who agrees to work on a public holiday earns a public holiday pay plus 1.5 times the hourly rate for all hours worked.

They may also opt for their regular wages plus a substitute paid day off.

In general, the public holiday pay an employee receives is one twentieth (1/20) or 5% of their total wages (excluding overtime) over the 4-week period preceding the week on which the holidays occurs.

For example, if your gross wages in the 4-week prior to the holiday was $5,000, your holiday pay would be $250 (i.e. $5,000 x 5%).

Employees of continuous operations and those who work in a hotel, restaurant, hospital or nursing home may be required to work on a public holiday without their approval if it falls on a day they would normally work.

An employee who does not show up for scheduled work without a good reason (e.g. religious observance), has no right to public holiday pay.

Get more details in Ontario Employment Standards Act.

Statutory Holidays in Alberta 2020

Alberta Canada

There are 9 general holidays in Alberta plus 3 optional holidays.

The three main provincial stat holidays are:

  • Alberta Family Day: February 17, 2020
  • Victoria Day: May 18, 2020
  • Thanksgiving Day: October 12, 2020

Employers can choose to give their workers additional days off for Easter Monday, Heritage Day, and Boxing Day.

Alberta Stat Holiday Pay Rules

Employees in Alberta are entitled to general holiday pay if they have worked for the same employer for at least 30 days in the preceding 12 months.

An employee who works in a general holiday that fell on a regular day of work receives a general holiday pay (i.e. average wage) plus 1.5 times their wage rate for each hour worked.

The employee may also opt for a regular wage and a substitute paid day off in the future.

To be eligible for general holiday pay, an employee must work their scheduled work hours before and after the holiday unless they have been granted permission to be off work.

The general holiday pay is equal to the average daily wage.

You can find more information about Alberta’s Employment Standard rules here.

Statutory Holidays in British Columbia 2020

Victoria BC
Victoria, British Columbia

British Columbians enjoy 10 statutory holidays, including five which are provincial:

  • British Columbia Family Day: February 17, 2020
  • Victoria Day: May 18, 2020
  • B.C. Day: August 3, 2020
  • Thanksgiving: October 12, 2020
  • Remembrance Day: November 11, 2020

Boxing Day and Easter Monday are not statutory holidays in B.C.

The first Monday in August is known as British Columbia Day.

B.C. Stat Holiday Pay Rules

Employees receive statutory holiday pay if they have been employed for 30 calendar days and have worked on 15 of the 30 days prior to the statutory holiday.

Statutory holiday pay in B.C. is calculated as:

Total wages ÷ Number of days worked = Statutory holiday pay.

This is an average of a worker’s daily pay during the 30 calendar days before the holiday, excluding overtime.

Employees who work on a statutory holiday receive a payment equal to 1.5 times their regular wages for the first 12 hours, and 2 times the hourly rate after that, plus their average regular pay.

Some employees may be exempt from receiving statutory holiday pay, including nursing students, farmworkers, managers, fishers, and high technology professionals.

Find more details in BC’s Employment Standards Act.

Statutory Holidays in Manitoba 2020

There are 8 general holidays in Manitoba, including three that are provincially legislated:

  • Louis Riel Day: February 17, 2020
  • Victoria Day: May 18, 2020
  • Thanksgiving Day: October 12, 2020

Easter Sunday, Remembrance Day, and Terry Fox Day are not statutory holidays in Manitoba.

There are restrictions to which industries can operate on Remembrance Day (November 11). For example, most retail stores must be closed between 9 am and 1 pm.

Manitoba Stat Holiday Pay Rules

The holiday pay for workers with a regular schedule is an average day’s pay.

Employees with variable wages and work hours receive 5% of their gross wages (excluding overtime) in the 4-week period before the holiday.

If you work on a statutory holiday, you are entitled to the general holiday pay plus 1.5 times your regular wages.

Employees at a gas station, hospital, hotel, restaurant, or a continuously operating business may receive their regular wages plus a substitute paid day off at a later date.

If the worker ends their employment before the substitute day off is taken, the employer must pay the holiday pay within 10 days of the employment coming to an end.

If an employee is scheduled to work on a stat holiday but is absent without permission, they are not entitled to holiday pay.

Find out more here.

Statutory Holidays in Saskatchewan 2020

Saskatchewan Legislative Building
The Saskatchewan Legislative Building is located in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, and serves as the seat of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan.

There are 10 statutory holidays in Saskatchewan, including five provincial public holidays:

  • Saskatchewan Family Day: February 17, 2020
  • Victoria Day: May 18, 2020
  • Saskatchewan Day: August 3, 2020
  • Thanksgiving Day: October 12, 2020
  • Remembrance Day: November 11, 2020

Saskatchewan Day falls on the first Monday in August each year.

Saskatchewan Stat Holiday Pay Rules

Employees who work on a public holiday receive their regular day’s pay, plus a premium that is 1.5 times their regular hourly wage rate.

The regular holiday pay is calculated as 5% of the gross wages earned (excluding overtime) in the 28 days (4 weeks) prior to a statutory holiday.

New employees who have worked for less than 28 days before a public holiday receive 5% of the regular wages they have earned before the holiday.

Hourly-paid construction workers receive 4% of their wages (excluding overtime and vacation pay) earned in the calendar year.

Special statutory holiday pay rules apply to employees of commercial hog operations, drilling rigs, and full-time employees in a hospital, nursing home, hotel, or restaurant.

You can find more details in this guide to Saskatchewan’s Employment Standards.

Statutory Holidays in Quebec 2020

Quebec City skyline
Quebec City skyline over river with blue sky and cloud.

There are 8 statutory holidays in Quebec, including three provincial holidays:

  • National Patriots’ Day: May 18, 2020
  • National Holiday: June 24, 2020
  • Thanksgiving: October 12, 2020

The National Patriot’s Day is on the Monday preceding May 25th. The National Holiday is also referred to as St. Jean Baptiste Day.

Employees in the clothing industry are entitled to two additional provincial statutory holidays on January 2nd and Easter Monday.

In Quebec, an employer may ask employees to take Easter Monday in lieu of Good Friday.

Quebec Stat Holiday Pay Rules

An employee is entitled to an indemnity (holiday pay) equal to 1/20 (5%) of the wages they have earned during the 4-week period prior to the week of the holiday (excluding overtime).

For commissioned employees, the holiday pay must be equal to 1/60 (1.67%) of the wages earned in the 12-weeks prior to the week of the holiday (excluding overtime).

Employees who must work on a statutory holiday are entitled to a holiday pay or a compensatory holiday, based on the employer’s choice.

The substitute paid holiday must be taken within 3 weeks of the stat holiday (before or after).

An employee who is absent from work without permission on the working days preceding or following the holiday is not entitled to holiday pay or a substitute paid day off.

Learn more about statutory holidays in Quebec.

Statutory Holidays in Nova Scotia 2020

Nova Scotia Canada
Peggys Cove’s Lighthouse at Sunset (Nova Scotia, Canada)

Nova Scotia has 6 statutory holidays including one that is provincial:

  • Heritage Day: February 17, 2020

Employers may also offer their workers a paid vacation on Remembrance Day (November 11th), however this is not a statutory paid holiday under the Labour Standards Code.

Remembrance Day is covered under the Remembrance Day Act.

Nova Scotia Stat Holiday Pay Rules

Employees are qualify for paid stat holidays if they were entitled to a wage or at least 15 days of the 30 calendar days prior to the holiday and have worked their last scheduled shift before the holiday and first scheduled shift after the holiday.

Qualifying employees receive a regular day’s pay for the day off.

Employees who work on a holiday are entitled to receive a regular day’s pay plus 1.5 times their regular wage for the number of hours worked.

An employee who works on Remembrance Day and who has been entitled to receive wages for 15 of the 30 calendar days prior to Remembrance Day may be entitled to receive another day off with pay.

Employees who are not covered by stat holiday pay rules include most farm employees, real estate and car salespeople, and employees on a fishing boat.

Get more details about holiday pay in Nova Scotia here.

Statutory Holidays in New Brunswick 2020

New Brunswick Canada
A row of colorful holiday houses by the seaside in New Brunswick.

There are 8 statutory holidays in New Brunswick, including three provincial holidays:

  • Family Day: February 17, 2020
  • New Brunswick Day: August 3, 2020
  • Remembrance Day: November 11, 2020

Victoria Day and Thanksgiving are not paid public holidays; however, an employer may choose to offer these days off to its employees.

New Brunswick Day falls on the first Monday in August.

New Brunswick Stat Holiday Pay Rules

An employee is entitled to a paid public holiday if they have been employed for at least 90 calendar days during the 12 months before the holiday. They must have worked their regular scheduled day of work before and after the holiday.

The holiday pay is equal to a regular day’s pay.

Employees who work during a stat holiday receive their regular pay, plus 1.5 times the regular wages for hours worked.

An employer may choose to pay an employee an extra 4% of their gross wages. If the employee works on a stat holiday, they receive this 4% pay plus 1.5 times their regular wage rate for the hours worked.

You can learn more about New Brunswick’s Employment Standards here.

Statutory Holidays in Newfoundland and Labrador 2020

St. Johns NL
St. John’s, capital of Newfoundland Labrador, NL, Canada, harbor and downtown seen from signal hill

As per its Labour Standards Act, Newfoundland and Labrador has 6 paid statutory holidays including two provincial ones:

  • Memorial Day: July 1, 2020
  • Remembrance Day: November 11, 2020

Five additional paid holidays are offered to employees of the provincial government, including:

  • St. Patrick’s Day: March 16, 2020
  • St. George’s Day: April 20, 2020
  • June Holiday (formerly Discovery Day): June 22, 2020
  • Orangemen’s Day: July 13, 2020
  • Boxing Day: December 28, 2020

There’s one other civic holiday available to workers and the date varies based on your city or municipality.

Newfoundland and Labrador Stat Holiday Pay Rules

An employee who works on a paid stat holiday is entitled to receive:

  • A wage that is twice (2x) their regular pay rate for the hours worked, or
  • An additional day off with pay within 30 days, or
  • An additional vacation day

If the employee works for a lesser number of hours on a stat holiday when they would normally work, they receive the regular rate of pay of the actual work done, plus a regular day’s pay.

All employees who have been employed for at least 30 calendar days before a holiday and who worked their scheduled shift before and after a holiday are entitled to holiday pay.

Holiday pay for eligible employees who work shifts of varying lengths is their hourly pay rate multiplied by the average hours worked in the 3 weeks immediately prior to the holiday.

Learn more about NL’s Labour Standards.

Statutory Holidays in Prince Edward Island 2020

PEI Canada
View at the City hall of Charlottetown – Canada

Prince Edward Island (PEI) has 7 statutory holidays, including two provincial paid public holidays:

  • Islanders Day: February 17, 2020
  • Remembrance Day: November 11, 2020

Islander Day is celebrated on the 3rd Monday in February.

PEI Stat Holiday Pay Rules

Employees qualify for paid public holiday if they:

  • Have been employed by the same employer for 30 calendar days prior to the holiday
  • Have earned wages for 15 of the last 30 calendar days, and
  • Have worked on their last scheduled shift before the holiday and first scheduled shift after the holiday.

Eligible employees receive holiday pay equivalent to a regular day’s wages.

When an employee works on a stat holiday, they receive a regular day’s wage, plus 1.5 times their regular hourly pay rate for the hours worked.

An employer and employee may also agree to a regular rate of pay for the hours worked, and another paid day off.

Here is PEI’s Employment Standards Guide.

Statutory Holidays in Northwest Territories 2020

Northwest Territories

There are 10 statutory holidays in the Northwest Territories, including five that are territorial:

  • Victoria Day: May 18, 2020
  • National Indigenous Peoples Day: June 21, 2020
  • The first Monday in August
  • Thanksgiving Day: October 12, 2020
  • Remembrance Day: November 11, 2020

Formerly known as National Aboriginal Day, the National Indigenous Peoples Day was first announced in 1996, and is held on June 21 each year.

Northwest Territories Stat Holiday Pay Rules

As per NWT’s Employment Standards, another holiday may be substituted for a statutory holiday under a collective agreement or following an application by an employee for employees that are not represented by a trade union.

Employees are eligible for statutory holiday pay if they:

  • Have worked for the same employer for at least 30 days in the 12 month period before the holiday
  • Work on the last shift scheduled before the holiday and the first scheduled shift after the holiday

The stat holiday pay is equivalent to an average day’s pay.

Employees who work on a stat holiday are paid on average day’s wage plus overtime for the hours worked on the holiday, or they may get another paid day off in lieu.

Statutory Holidays in the Yukon 2020

Yukon Canada
Spectacular display of intense Northern Lights or Aurora borealis or polar lights forming green swirls and moon behind ice fogs over snowy winter taiga landscape of Yukon Territory Canada

The Yukon has 10 statutory holidays, including five territorial holidays:

  • Victoria Day: May 18, 2020
  • National Indigenous Peoples Day: Jun 21, 2020
  • Discovery Day: August 17, 2020
  • Thanksgiving Day: October 12, 2020
  • Remembrance Day: November 11, 2020

Yukon Stat Holiday Pay Rules

An employee is eligible for a paid statutory holiday if they:

  • Have been employed for 30 calendar days before the holiday, and
  • Have worked the last scheduled shift before the holiday and first scheduled shift after the holiday

Statutory holiday pay is equivalent to a regular day’s pay for employees who work regular hours.

Salaried workers receive a day off without a reduction in their salary.

Employees who work irregular shifts receive 10% of the wages (including overtime) they have earned in the 2 calendar weeks prior to the week of the holiday.

Employees who work on a stat holiday are paid overtime rates for the hours worked plus a general holiday rate. They may also be paid the regular wage for hours worked, plus a paid day off at an agreed upon time.

Here is Yukon’s Employment Standards Act.

Statutory Holidays in Nunavut 2020

Nunavut Canada

Nunavut has 10 statutory holidays, including five territorial paid public holidays:

  • Victoria Day: May 18, 2020
  • Nunavut Day: July 9, 2020
  • The First Monday in August (Civic Holiday): August 3, 2020
  • Thanksgiving Day: October 12, 2020
  • Remembrance Day: November 11, 2020

Nunavut Stat Holiday Pay Rules

Employees are entitled to a general holiday pay when they:

  • Have worked for the same employer for a total of 30 days during the 12 months preceding the holiday, and
  • Worked their last scheduled shift before the holiday and first scheduled shift following the holiday

The stat holiday pay is equivalent to a regular day’s pay.

If an employee works on a stat holiday, they are entitled to a regular day’s pay plus 1.5 times the hourly pay rate for the hours worked on the holiday.

Alternatively, they may be entitled to a regular day’s wage and a substitute day off with pay.

Get more details about General Holidays in Nunavut.

Statutory Holidays in Canada in 2020-2021 (Federal/Provincial)

Holiday
Date in 2020
Date in 2021
Province/Territory Observed
New Year’s Day
January 1
January
Nationwide
Louis Riel Day
February 17
February 15
MB
Heritage Day
February 17
February 15
Nova Scotia
Family Day
February 17
February 15
AB, ON, BC, NB, SK
Islander Day
February 17
February 15
PEI
St. Patrick’s Day
March 17
March 17
NL (not a stat holiday)
Good Friday
April 10
April 2
Nationwide, except QC
Easter Monday
Apr 13
April 5
Optional in Quebec
St. George’s Day
April 20
Apr 23
NL
Victoria Day
May 18
May 24
Nationwide, except NB, NL, NS, PEI
National Patriot’s Day
May 18
May 24
Quebec only
National Indigenous Peoples Day
June 21
June 21
NWT, Yukon
June Day (Discovery Day)
June 22
June 21
NL
St. Jean Baptiste Day
June 24
June 24
Quebec
Canada Day
July 1
July 1
Nationwide; Memorial Day in NL
Nunavut Day
July 9
July 9
Nunavut
Civic Holiday
August 3
August 2
BC, NB, NWT, NU, SK
Labour Day
September 7
September 6
Nationwide
Thanksgiving Day
October 12
October 11
Nationwide; except NS, NL, NB, PEI
Remembrance Day
November 11
November 11
Stat Nationwide; except MB, ON, QC, NS
Christmas Day
December 25
December 25
Nationwide
Boxing Day
December 26
December 26
Statutory in ON

Canadian Public Holidays and What They Mean

Public or statutory holidays in Canada have religious, cultural and patriotic roots and events. Below we summarize what each holiday stands for and what it celebrates.

Boxing Day:  This holiday is observed the day after Christmas on December 26th. Its origin is unclear.

Canada Day: Formerly known as Dominion Day, it marks the anniversary of the Canadian Confederation in 1867. It is observed on July 1st.

Christmas Day: This holiday celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ and is observed on December 25th. It is a federal holiday.

Civic Holiday: This popular August long weekend holiday is known by various names including Terry Fox Day in Manitoba, British Columbia Day, Saskatchewan Day, New Brunswick Day, and Heritage Day in Alberta. It is generally observed on the first Monday in August.

Discovery Day: In the Yukon, this holiday commemorates the anniversary of the discovery of gold that set off the Klondike Gold Rush. It is observed on the third Monday in August.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, Discovery Day (aka “the June Holiday”) used to celebrate the “discovery” of NL by John Cabot in 1497. A new name is in the works for this holiday that takes place annually on the Monday closest to June 24th.

Easter Monday: This a Christian holiday to mark the day after Easter Sunday (resurrection day). It is a paid holiday for federal employees and an optional holiday in several provinces.

Family Day: This is a provincial statutory holiday in BC, AB, ON, SK and NB that emphasizes the importance of family. It is observed on the third Monday in February. On the same day, Louis Riel Day is observed in Manitoba in honour of Louis Riel, the founder of the province of Manitoba.

In PEI, Islander Day is celebrated on this same day, and in Nova Scotia, there is a Heritage Day to celebrate people, places, and events that contributed to the province’s unique heritage.

Good Friday: This is a Christian holiday that commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. It is observed on the Friday before Easter and is a federal holiday.

Labour Day: This day marks the founding of the labour union movement and is celebrated on the first Monday in September. It is a federal holiday.

National Indigenous Peoples Day: This holiday celebrates the cultures and constitutions of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples. It is observed on June 21st.

New Year’s Day: This celebrates the first day of the year in countries that use the Gregorian calendar. It is observed on January 1st and is a Federal holiday.

Remembrance Day: Originally known as Armistice Day, it marks the end of hostilities in World War 1 and honours the courage and sacrifice of the heroes who have fought for our country. It is observed on November 11th.

St. Patrick’s Day: Commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. It is observed on the nearest Monday to March 17th in Newfoundland and Labrador.

St. George’s Day: is a statutory holiday in Newfoundland and Labrador celebrating the feast of Saint George. It is observed on Monday close to April 23rd.

St. Jean Baptiste Day: This statutory holiday in Quebec is a traditional feast celebrating the birth of John the Baptist. It is observed annually on June 24th.

Thanksgiving Day: This annual holiday celebrates a good harvest and the giving of thanks. It is observed on the second Monday in October and is a paid statutory holiday in all provinces and territories except PEI, NL, NB and NS.

Victoria Day:  Is the celebration of the Queen’s birthday. It is observed on the Monday before May 25th. In Quebec, this holiday is replaced by the statutory holiday called Journee nationale des patriots.