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General Guidelines by Province

To the right you will find general guidelines on key points regarding paid holidays (also known as statutory, public or general holidays), with links to some of the legislation. If you can't find the information you need or are wondering what your next step should be, we encourage you to visit our Get Help page.

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Paid Holidays

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All jurisdictions in Canada have legislation that grants paid (statutory, general or public) holidays to workers throughout the year, although they vary in number, names and dates. Common to all jurisdictions are New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Canada Day, Labour Day and Christmas Day.

(The first Monday in August is a municipally regulated holiday in Ontario and not subject to the same rules as statutory holidays. In New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and British Columbia employees are entitled by law to a day off with pay on the first Monday in August. In Alberta and Manitoba, the Civic Holiday is similar to Ontario. However, employers also have the option of designating it a holiday.

In general, employers must accommodate requests from non-Christian employees for religious leave although the law is not clear as to whether those would be paid days off.

Most provinces require employees meet certain eligibility criteria such as being employed for a minimum length of time and/or working their last scheduled shift before the paid holiday and their first scheduled shift after. Employees required to work on the paid holidays will normally be compensated on the basis of 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for each hour worked in addition to their regular pay for the days work. Some may be provided with a “substitute” paid holiday to be taken at a later date.

Determining your right to a paid holiday can be a difficult task. It requires careful reading of the appropriate section(s) of legislation and corresponding regulations. In addition there are numerous exceptions and exemptions that may need to be considered.

Alberta

Read Legislation

Holidays: New Year's Day, Alberta Family Day (third Monday in February), Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day, Remembrance Day and Christmas Day.

• Employers can choose to recognize Boxing Day, Easter Monday and/or Alberta Heritage Day. If they do, then all rules applicable to general holidays apply.

• To be eligible for these paid holidays, you must have worked for your employer for a minimum of 30 days; work your scheduled shifts immediately before and after the holiday and been available to work on the general holiday if asked to do so.

• If you work on a holiday, you are entitled to either your normal wages plus time-and-a-half for those hours or your regular wages plus another paid day off.

British Columbia

Read Legislation

Holidays: New Year's Day, Family Day, Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, B.C. Day (first Monday in August), Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day, Remembrance Day and Christmas Day.

• You must have been employed for at least 30 calendar days in order for the legislation to apply.

• In British Columbia you must have earned wages on at least half of the 30 calendar days preceding the holiday or you have earned wages under an agreement to average hours of work. Earned wages include wages for vacation days.

Federal

Read Legislation

Holidays: New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day, Remembrance Day, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

• If a holiday falls on a weekend when you are not scheduled to work, you are allowed to take off either Friday or Monday.

• If you are required to work on a holiday, you are entitled to 1.5 times your regular rate of pay for all hours worked in addition to your wages for the day.

• You are not eligible to be paid for a holiday within the first 30 days of employment or if you had not earned wages on at least 15 of the 30 days preceding the holiday.

• Special rules apply if you work for an employer whose operations are of a continuous nature.

Manitoba

Read Legislation

Holidays: New Year's Day, Louis Riel Day (third Monday in February), Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

• Most employees in Manitoba are paid for a holiday whether they work it or not.

• Pay for a holiday is five per cent of your total wages (excluding overtime) for the preceding four-week period.

• Unless you are ill, you must work your scheduled shifts immediately before and after the holiday in order to be paid for it.

• If you work on a holiday, you are entitled to 1.5 times your regular rate of pay. You might not qualify for time-and-a-half if you work at a gas station, hotel, restaurant, hospital, place of amusement, continuously operating plant or in a seasonal industry (excluding construction).

• When a holiday falls on a weekend, the next regular work day becomes the designated holiday.

• If you end your employment prior to a holiday, you are not entitled to be paid for it.

New Brunswick

Read Legislation

Holidays: New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Canada Day, N.B. Day (first Monday in August), Labour Day, Remembrance Day and Christmas Day.

• You should receive 1.5 times your regular rate of pay for working on a holiday.

• If a holiday falls on your scheduled day off, you are entitled to either your regular wages for that day or another day off.

• You must have worked for an employer for at least 90 days in order to receive holiday pay.

• Unless you have a reasonable explanation, you will not be paid for it if you fail to work your scheduled shifts before and after a holiday.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Read Legislation

Holidays: New Years’ Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day (Canada Day), Labour Day, Remembrance Day and Christmas Day.

• If you have to work on a holiday, you can opt to receive twice your regular wage or an additional day off with pay within 30 days or an additional vacation day.

• To calculate holiday pay in Newfoundland and Labrador, multiply your hourly rate by the average number of daily hours worked in the preceding three weeks.

• In order to be paid for it, you must have been employed at least 30 calendar days and worked your scheduled shifts immediately before and after a holiday.

Nova Scotia

Read Legislation

Holidays: New Year's Day, Heritage Day, Good Friday, Canada Day, Labour Day and Christmas Day.

• If you have worked at least 15 of the 30 days prior, you might be entitled to Remembrance Day, which may be taken along with your annual vacation or at another time agreed to by your employer.

• To qualify in Nova Scotia, you must have “been entitled to receive pay” at least 15 of the 30 days before a holiday and worked your scheduled shifts immediately before and after it.

• If the holiday falls on your normal day off, your employer must provide you with a substitute paid day off.

• You receive your normal wages plus 1.5 times your regular rate for each hour worked on a holiday.

Ontario

Read Legislation

Holidays: New Year's Day, Family Day (third Monday in February), Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

• Provided you have a written agreement with your employer, you may work a holiday and receive your normal wages plus 1.5 times your regular rate for each hour worked or another day off in lieu.

• In Ontario holiday pay is calculated by adding up your regular wages (including vacation pay but not overtime or shift premiums) earned in the preceding four weeks and dividing by 20.

• Unless you can demonstrate reasonable cause for your absence, you must work your scheduled shifts on either side of a holiday in order to be paid for it.

• If your job ends prior to you receiving a substitute paid holiday that you previously earned, your employer must still pay you for that holiday.

Prince Edward Island

Read Legislation

Holidays: New Year's Day, Islander Day (third Monday in February), Good Friday, Canada Day, Labour Day, Remembrance Day and Christmas Day.

• You must have been employed a minimum of 30 days and earned wages on at least 15 of those to be eligible for a paid holiday.

• You must work your scheduled shifts immediately before and after a holiday in order to be paid for it.

• Holiday pay in P.E.I. is normally a regular day's wages. If you don't receive a regular wage, your holiday pay is calculated by averaging your wages over the preceding 30 days.

• If you are required to work on a holiday, you should be paid your daily wage plus 1.5 times your regular rate for each hour worked. Alternatively, your employer could give you a regular day's pay plus a substitute paid holiday at a later date.

• If you have an arrangement with your employer in which you can decline to work  if asked to do so, you are not entitled to holiday pay.

Quebec

Read Legislation

Holidays: New Year's Day, Good Friday or Easter Monday (employer’s choice), Patriots' Day (Monday preceding May 25), June 24 (St-Jean Baptiste or Fête Nationale), Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

• You must be working at the time to qualify for holiday pay.

• Unless you can provide a valid reason for your absence, you must be present the work day immediately preceding and following the holiday in order to be paid for it.

• In Quebec holiday pay or "indemnity" is based on the preceding four-week period.

Saskatchewan

Read Legislation

Holidays: New Year’s Day, Family Day (third Monday in February), Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Saskatchewan Day (first Monday in August), Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day, Remembrance Day and Christmas Day.

• If you work on a holiday, your employer must pay you your normal daily wage plus 1.5 times your regular rate for all hours worked.

• In Saskatchewan during a week in which there is a holiday, employees will be paid overtime after working eight hours in a day or 32 hours in the week.

• Holiday pay is one twentieth of the wages you earned in the preceding four weeks.

• If a majority of employees agree, an employer can seek approval from Saskatchewan's Director of Labour Standards to designate an alternative day for the holiday to be observed.