FAQ: What Does Remembrance Day Mean for Employers in Atlantic Canada?

NFBQ: What is the difference between federal and provincial statutory holidays?

A: A statutory holiday is a public holiday created and recognized by statute. There are federal and provincial statutory holidays depending on whether the holiday is recognized by federal or provincial statute.

Q: What kind of holiday is Remembrance Day?

A: Remembrance Day is one of nine federal statutory holidays: New Year's Day, Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day, Remembrance Day, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Federal statutory holidays are governed by the Canada Labour Code and the federal Holidays Act.

Q: Do all employers have to recognize federal statutory holidays like Remembrance Day?

A: No, federal statutory holidays only apply to federally-regulated workplaces, including banks, fisheries, and of course, federal government employees themselves (among others).

It is up to the provinces to adopt the federal statutory holidays they wish to recognize as provincial statutory holidays. Typically, provinces state which holidays will be observed in provincial labour standards legislation, retail business holiday closing legislation, or in standalone legislation like the Nova Scotia Remembrance Day Act. Holiday pay provisions may apply in provincially-regulated workplaces on public holidays (although there are exceptions, for instance in a unionized workplace covered by a collective agreement, or in a business where it is typical to work on Sundays and holidays). It is up to employers to stay informed about how these holidays and holiday pay provisions apply in their workplaces. 

Poppies Photo by Javier Canada on UnsplashQ: This year Remembrance Day falls on a Sunday. What does this mean for employers?

A: Nova Scotia

For most weekday businesses, when Remembrance Day falls on a Sunday it will be business as usual on Monday November 12th unless the employer decides to close.

This is because in Nova Scotia, Remembrance Day is not a statutory holiday. Instead, it is governed by the Remembrance Day Act, which prohibits engaging in business for gain or reward in any industry on November 11th (subject to a list of exceptions which includes hospitals, day cares, and small businesses with scheduled operating staff of no more than three people, among others). For certain employees who are required to work Sunday, the Act states that they are entitled to a holiday with pay in lieu on another day.

Newfoundland, New Brunswick and PEI

Unlike Nova Scotia, Remembrance Day is a paid public holiday in the other three Atlantic provinces according to their respective provincial employment standards statutes. In each of these jurisdictions, the legislation states that when Remembrance Day falls on a day that an employee is not required to work, the holiday is typically granted on the next working day. Most employers in PEI, New Brunswick and Newfoundland will be closed on Monday November 12th.

Do you have questions about Remembrance Day or how statutory holidays apply in your workplace?

Nancy Barteaux, Q.C. is the Managing Partner of Barteaux Durnford. She acts for employers in all manner of employment-related issues, including complex disputes and collective bargaining negotiations. As a senior labour and employment lawyer with a proven track record of success, she is recognized in Nova Scotia and across Canada.

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