Religion, Holidays Observed, Celebrations

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 1New Year’s DayJour de l’AnCelebrates the first day of every year in the Gregorian calendar.
Variable date between March 20 and April 23Good FridayVendredi saintCommemorates 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 1Canada DayFête du CanadaCelebrates Canada’s 1867 Confederation and establishment of dominion status.In Newfoundland and Labrador, observed concurrently with Memorial Day.
First Monday in SeptemberLabour DayFête du travailCelebrates economic and social achievements of workers.
December 25Christmas DayNoëlCelebrates 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 MondayVariable date between March 23 and April 26. Celebrates the resurrection of Jesus.
Victoria DayMonday before May 25
August Civic HolidayFirst Monday in August
Thanksgiving DaySecond Monday in August
Remembrance DayNov 11th
Boxing DayDec. 26th
Family DayFamily Day
Louis Riel Day (Manitoba)
Islander Day (Prince Edward Island)
Heritage Day (Nova Scotia)
March BreakOne full week during the month of March (timing varies)

Other Common Holidays

Family DayFeb 14th
Valentine’s DayFeb 14th
March Breakweek-long closure for schools during the second week of March
Mother’s Dayfirst week of May
Father’s DaySecond week of June
HalloweenOct. 31st
All Saints DayNov 1st
All Souls DayNov. 2nd

Regardless of the holiday, celebrations in Canada have one commonality:  spending time with loved ones and enjoying good food and good company.

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