Statutory holidays for federally regulated workplaces are covered by the Canada Labour Code, which is administered by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada’s Labour Program. In the Code, statutory holidays are referred to as general holidays.
Code provisions are minimum standards only and do not interfere with additional rights or enhanced benefits established by collective agreements, private arrangements or employer policies.
The Canada Labour Code covers all employees and employers who work within the federal jurisdiction. This includes some of Canada’s major infrastructure sectors, such as interprovincial and international transportation (air, rail, ports and trucking), communications, banking and Crown corporations.
Federally regulated workers are entitled to nine paid statutory holidays every year – New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day, Remembrance Day, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day.
There are provisions in the Code that apply to statutory holidays during the first 30 days of employment, part-time work, and modified schedules of work.
When New Year’s Day, Canada Day, Remembrance Day, Christmas Day or Boxing Day fall on a Saturday or Sunday that are not normal work days, workers are entitled to a holiday with pay on the working day immediately before or after the holiday. If one of the other holidays falls on a weekend, then the employer must add a holiday with pay to the worker’s annual vacation or give him or her a paid day off at another mutually convenient time.
If a worker is subject to a collective agreement, he or she may substitute any other holiday for a statutory holiday if agreed to in writing by the employer and the union. If the worker does not have a collective agreement, the substitution must be approved by at least 70 percent of affected workers and the employer must post a notice of substitution at least 30 days before the substitution takes effect.
Special provisions apply to continuous operations that cannot shut down for weekends and holidays or keep normal business hours. These include:
However, not all workers in these industries are subject to continuous operation provisions. In a trucking company, for example, office workers who are usually not required to work outside of normal business hours are not subject to these provisions.
The Code contains provisions designed to support voluntary compliance, which the Labour Program promotes using a range of tools and techniques. If required, it responds to non-compliance situations through various voluntary and non-voluntary measures.
Statutory holidays commemorate or celebrate certain events, usually historical or religious.