Whether they originate from an act of Parliament, religious custom or just social tradition, there are several special days of celebrations in Canada for Canadians.
A “legal holiday” in Canada (also known as a statutory or “stat” holiday) is a day when Canadian employers are legally required to give all their workers a day off. Although the legal holidays in Canada are rooted in Christianity, note that anyone in Canada, whether you’re a visitor or a resident, can honour the holiday of your choice without discrimination and judgement.
There are five nationwide statutory holidays and six additional holidays for federal employees. Each of the 13 provinces and territories observes a number of holidays in addition to the nationwide days, but each varies in regard to which are legislated as either statutory, optional, or not at all. Currently, the provinces of Alberta and Prince Edward Island have the most legislated holidays in comparison to other provinces and territories, with 12 days off. Here’s a breakdown of the holiday celebrations in Canada:
Nationwide statutory holidays in Canada
|January 1||New Year’s Day||Jour de l’An||Celebrates the first day of every year in the Gregorian calendar.|
|Variable date between March 20 and April 23||Good Friday||Vendredi saint||Commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus, on the Friday before Easter.
In Quebec, non-federally regulated employers must give either Good Friday or Easter Monday as a statutory holiday, though some give both days.
|July 1||Canada Day||Fête du Canada||Celebrates Canada’s 1867 Confederation and establishment of dominion status.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, observed concurrently with Memorial Day.
|First Monday in September||Labour Day||Fête du travail||Celebrates economic and social achievements of workers.|
|December 25||Christmas Day||Noël||Celebrates the nativity of Jesus.|
Statutory Holidays for Federal Employees
In addition to the nationwide holidays listed above, the following holidays are mandated by federal legislation for federally regulated employees. All banks and post offices commemorate these holidays, and they are statutory in some provinces and territories.
|Easter Monday||Variable date between March 23 and April 26. Celebrates the resurrection of Jesus.|
|Victoria Day||Monday before May 25|
|August Civic Holiday||First Monday in August|
|Thanksgiving Day||Second Monday in August|
|Remembrance Day||Nov 11th|
|Boxing Day||Dec. 26th|
|March Break||One full week during the month of March (timing varies)|
Other Common Holidays
|Family Day||Feb. 14th|
|Valentine’s Day||Feb. 14th|
|March Break||week-long closure for schools during the second week of March|
|Mother’s Day||first week of May|
|Father’s Day||Second week of June|
|All Saints Day||Nov 1st|
|All Souls Day||Nov. 2nd|
Regardless of the holiday, celebrations in Canada have one commonality: spending time with loved ones and enjoying good food and good company.