Statutory Holidays

Christmas Day, Canada Day, and Thanksgiving are just some of the holidays we celebrate in Canada.

As an employer, you have a legal requirement to provide statutory holiday leave for these celebrations.

It’s important you understand how your employees qualify for statutory pay, and to pay them correctly. Failure to do so could lead to a breach of contract and an employment tribunal.

In this guide, we’ll discuss which days are public holidays in Canada, how these differ between the provinces, and how to pay your employees accurately.

What is a Statutory Holiday?

Statutory holidays are public holidays to which all workers are entitled.

However, the number of public holidays varies throughout Canada. You need to be aware of the entitlement for the province you‘re based in.

How Many Statutory Holidays Are There in Canada?

The statutory minimum holiday entitlement nationwide is five days. With Good Friday being the only Easter statutory holiday. Below is the full list:

Statutory Holidays in Ontario:

  • New Year’s Day: January 1st.
  • Good Friday.
  • Family Day: 3rd Monday in February.
  • Victoria Day: The Monday preceding May 25th.
  • Canada Day: July 1st.
  • Labour Day: The First Monday in September.
  • Thanksgiving: Second Monday in October.
  • Christmas Day: December 25th.
  • Boxing Day: December 26th.

Statutory Holidays in British Columbia:

  • New Year’s Day: January 1st.
  • Family Day: 3rd Monday in February.
  • Good Friday.
  • Victoria Day: The Monday preceding May 25th.
  • Canada Day: July 1st.
  • BC Day: First Monday in August.
  • Thanksgiving: Second Monday in October.
  • Remembrance Day: November 11th.
  • Christmas Day: December 26th.
  • Labour Day: The First Monday in September.

Statutory Holidays in Alberta:

  • New Year’s Day: January 1st.
  • Alberta Family Day: 3rd Monday in February.
  • Good Friday.
  • Victoria Day: The Monday preceding May 25th.
  • Canada Day: July 1st.
  • Labour Day: The First Monday in September.
  • Thanksgiving: Second Monday in October.
  • Remembrance Day: November 11th.
  • Christmas Day: December 26th.

In Alberta, Easter Monday, Heritage Day, and Boxing Day are optional general holidays. Employers aren’t obligated to give these days off, but they can if they choose to.

How Much is Statutory Holiday Pay?

Calculating statutory holiday pay for your employees is both a necessary and a legal requirement.

Public holiday pay varies across the different provinces, make sure you pay correctly for the province you’re based in.

Ontario:

Public holiday pay is calculated by an employee’s wage earned plus vacation pay, divided by 20.

For example, if someone earns $1000.00 in the four weeks before the public holiday, the pay due would equal $50.00.

British Columbia:

Statutory pay is an average day’s pay. For example, total wages are divided by the number of days worked in the pay period leading up to the holiday.

Employees in British Columbia are entitled to public holiday pay if they work or take the day off.

Alberta:

Employees are entitled to their average daily wage if they don’t work on a general holiday.

Staff who work general holidays are entitled to the following two pay options:

  • Pay of 1.5 times what they would usually earn for hours worked plus their daily average wage.
  • Paid their standard wage rate for hours worked. Plus, a day off at a future date and paid the amount of their average daily wage for the day off.

How Does an Employee Qualify for Statutory Holiday Pay?

In Ontario and Alberta, employees qualify for public holiday pay if they work their last scheduled shift before and after the holiday.

However, in Alberta, employees must have worked for the same employer for at least 30 workdays in the 12 months before the holiday.

Employees in British Columbia qualify for public holiday pay if they’ve been employed for 30 days. As well as working 15 of the 30 days leading up to the public holiday.

Does Vacation Pay Include Statutory Holiday Pay?

Vacation pay includes statutory holiday pay in Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta.

However, in Ontario, the employee must have been on vacation in the four weeks leading up to the public holiday.

Get Help with Your Public Holiday Pay Today with BrightHR

You must pay your staff correctly for statutory holidays. Staff have a right to time off for public holidays and not paying them the right amount could lead to a breach of contract.

If you need assistance with your statutory holiday pay, BrightHR has a handy tool that will make the full process easier for you.

Our staff vacation planner allows you to manage employee absences and pay in seconds.

Contact us on 18882204924 or book a demo today.


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