On September 13, 2022, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that September 19, 2022, the date of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral, will be a national day of mourning in Canada and a one-time holiday for federal government employees. The holiday is currently only applicable to employees of the federal government, but remains optional for federally-regulated private companies, such as airlines and banks, as well as provincially-regulated employers, some of which have opted to recognize the holiday.
Provincial Recognition of the Holiday
Provincial governments are divided on whether they will take after the federal government and recognize an official public holiday. To date, the decisions that have been made by the provinces are as follows:
- Ontario, Alberta, Quebec and Saskatchewan will not recognize a public holiday. All businesses and provincial government services will remain open;
- Prince Edward Island will observe a one-time statutory holiday for all provincially-regulated employees. Government offices and public schools will be closed;
- New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador will close public schools and government offices, but the holiday will remain optional for private-sector employers;
- Manitoba will close all non-essential government services for the day. However, schools, childcare and healthcare facilities will remain open;
- British Columbia will recognize a holiday for provincial public-sector employees, but schools, post-secondary institutions and most Crown corporations will be closed, while private-sector employers are simply encouraged to follow suit; and
- The Territories have yet to decide on whether they will recognize a holiday.
Takeaway for Employers
Employers should consider which provinces will be declaring holidays on September 19, 2022, and the scope of the resulting business closures. It is important to keep in mind that in some provinces, the holiday is optional for private-sector employers. Employers in these provinces should consider whether they would like to offer a day off to their employees. Further, in provinces that have decided to close schools, childcare facilities and government offices, employers should consider how this affects their business operations, including their employees’ ability to perform work. Lastly, as certain services may be open or closed depending on the province, employers that conduct business extra-provincially should plan accordingly, to take into account the independent approach of each province in which they conduct business.