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The Government of Canada has formally designated September 30 as a public holiday. National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will be observed to honour First Nations, Inuit and Métis survivors and their families and communities, and ensure the public commemoration of their history and the legacy of residential schools.

BILL C-5, AN ACT TO AMEND THE BILLS OF EXCHANGE ACT, THE INTERPRETATION ACT, AND THE CANADA LABOUR CODE (NATIONAL DAY FOR TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION)

Originally proposed in 2015, Bill C-5, An Act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code (National Day for Truth and Reconciliation), received Royal Assent on June 3, 2021, creating a new public holiday under the Canada Labour Code (the “Code”). This Bill will officially come into force on August 3, 2021, which means that this will be the first year that this new holiday will be in effect.

The new statutory holiday applies to all federally regulated public and private sectors, including employers that are subject to the Code. Sectors that are federally regulated include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Air transportation, including airlines, airports, aerodromes, and aircraft operations;
  • Banks, including authorized foreign banks;
  • Most federal crown corporations, such as Canada Post Corporation;
  • Radio and television broadcasting; and
  • Telecommunications, such as telephone, Internet, telegraph and cable systems.

This new holiday applies to federally regulated employers which are subject to the Code exclusively. This means that the holiday does not apply to provincially regulated employers at this time. However, the provincial legislatures may follow suit.

WHAT IF I AM REQUIRED TO WORK ON A STATUTORY HOLIDAY?

Employees in Ontario who are required to work on a public holiday are entitled to receive a pay rate of time-and-a-half of their regular wage or a substitute holiday with holiday pay regardless of their tenure with the employer. It is important to note that an employee who is scheduled to work a holiday, but is absent, will not be paid for the holiday.

Holiday pay is calculated based on how much an employee has earned in the four (4) weeks before the holiday, per day. More specifically, the employee is entitled to all of their regular wages earned in the four (4) week period preceding the work week with the public holiday plus all of the vacation pay payable to the employee in the four (4) week period, divided 20.

Generally, employees will qualify for the public holiday entitlement unless they:

  • Fail without reasonable cause to work all of their last regularly scheduled day of work before the public holiday or all of their first regularly scheduled day of work after the public holiday; or
  • Fail without reasonable cause to work their entire shift on the public holiday if they agreed or were required to work that day.

It is important to note that employees can qualify for holiday pay regardless of whether they are full-time, part-time, or on a contract. Additionally, it does not matter when the employee was hired or how much they have worked prior to the holiday.

WHAT IF THE STATUTORY HOLIDAY FALLS ON A NON-WORKING DAY?

If September 30 falls on a non-working Saturday or Sunday, then federally regulated employees must be given time off on the work day immediately preceding or following the holiday.

If you have any questions in relation to statutory holidays and/or holiday pay, or if you otherwise feel you have not been treated appropriately by your employer, we encourage you to reach out to us. Please contact Toronto employment lawyersSultan Lawyers, at 416-214-5111 or khayward@sultanlawyers.com.


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