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In Ontario, as of 2024, there are statutory holidays recognized for provincially regulated employees, which cover approximately 90% of the workforce. Understanding these holidays and the associated public holiday pay is important for both employers and employees to ensure compliance with the Ontario Employment Standards Act (“ESA”).

Statutory Holidays in Ontario for 2024

For provincially regulated employees in Ontario, the following are the statutory holidays:

New Year’s DayJanuary 1, Monday
Family DayFebruary 19, Monday
Good FridayMarch 29, Friday
Victoria DayMay 20, Monday
Canada DayJuly 1, Monday
Labour DaySeptember 2, Monday
Thanksgiving DayOctober 14, Monday
Christmas DayDecember 25, Wednesday
Boxing DayDecember 26, Thursday

It is noteworthy that Boxing Day is a statutory holiday only in Ontario for provincially regulated employees.

Optional Holidays in Ontario for 2024

There are also optional holidays which are not mandated as statutory holidays in Ontario, but employers may choose to provide them. These include:

  • Easter Monday: April 1, Monday (Optional)
  • Civic Holiday: August 5, Monday (Optional)
  • National Day for Truth and Reconciliation: September 30, Monday (Optional)
  • Remembrance Day: November 11, Monday (Optional)

Statutory Holiday Pay

Most employees in Ontario are entitled to take the day off on a statutory holiday and receive statutory holiday pay. If an employee works on a statutory holiday, they are generally entitled to receive holiday pay plus premium pay. Alternatively, they can opt for regular wages for the hours worked on the holiday, plus a substitute holiday with statutory holiday pay.

Federally Regulated Employees

For federally regulated employees residing in Ontario, their statutory holidays may differ, including additional holidays, like Easter Monday and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Legal Considerations

Failing to adhere to these rules can be considered a violation of the ESA, resulting in potential fines and penalties. Employers are advised to have a clear statutory holiday policy in place to avoid any legal issues.

In addition to the statutory holidays and their regulations in Ontario for 2024, it is important to note the following:

Eligibility: Most employees, including salaried, seasonal, contract, casual, and part-time, are entitled to public holidays and pay. Some roles may be exempt; refer to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 for specifics.

Last and First Rule: Employees must work their last scheduled day before and first scheduled day after a holiday to qualify for holiday pay unless there’s a reasonable cause for absence.

Holiday Pay Calculation: This is based on regular wages earned in the four weeks before the holiday week, plus vacation pay, divided by 20. Overtime and other specific pay are excluded from this calculation.

Non-Working Day Holidays: If a public holiday falls on a non-working day, employees can either take a substitute holiday with pay or, if agreed in writing, just receive public holiday pay.

PUBLIC HOLIDAY RULES DO NOT APPLY TO ALL INDUSTRIES

If you are employed in certain types of businesses, your employer has the authority to request you to work on a public holiday, but this applies only if the holiday falls on a regular workday for you and you are not on vacation. These businesses include, for example:

  • Hotels
  • Motels
  • Tourist resorts
  • Restaurants
  • Taverns
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing Homes
  • Continuous operations (such as those that do not cease or close more than once a week, like an oil refinery or an alarm-monitoring company).

In most instances within these sectors, your employer would choose one of the following options:

  • Provide you with public holiday pay along with premium pay (at a rate of 1.5 times your regular pay) for the hours worked on the public holiday; or
  • Compensate you with your standard wages for all hours worked on the public holiday and grant you an alternative substitute holiday, for which you must receive public holiday pay.

For information regarding the formula for calculating public holiday pay, or if you have any questions about how public holiday rules apply in your situation, please contact employment lawyers, Sultan Lawyers, by telephone at (416) 214-5111 or online here. Our team of knowledgeable employment lawyers regularly helps employees navigate the legal aspects of their employment relationship.


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