Sept. 19 will be federal holiday for Queen’s funeral; provinces asked to make it a day off nationally

By Cristin Schmitz

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 13, 2022 @ 6:25 PM

Law360 Canada (September 13, 2022, 2:59 PM EDT) -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that Sept. 19 will be declared a federal holiday to mark the state funeral in London of Queen Elizabeth II.

“We will be working with the provinces and the territories to try and see that we're aligned on this — there are still a few details to be worked out, but declaring an opportunity for Canadians to mourn on Monday is going to be important,” Trudeau told reporters Sept. 13 during the federal Liberal caucus treat in St. Andrews, N.B.

“So for our part we will be letting federal employees know that Monday will be a day of mourning where they will not work.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Speaking in French, Trudeau acknowledged that it is up to the provinces to decide for themselves whether to also declare a holiday for workers falling under their jurisdiction. Most private sector workers fall under provincial jurisdiction.

Several hours after the prime minister spoke, Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan Jr. clarified that employers in federally regulated industries and workplaces, such as banking, air travel, cross-border trucking, telecommunications, radio and TV and others, do not have to provide their workers a paid holiday.

“September 19, 2022 will be a holiday for federal government employees,” he tweeted. “Federally regulated employers are welcomed to follow suit, but they are not required to do so.”

Ontario and Quebec have both said they are not going to declare a paid statutory holiday.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford indicated in a Sept. 13 statement that Ontario will treat the day of the queen’s funeral as a provincial day of mourning, with Ontarians able to observe a moment of silence at 1:00 p.m. Sept. 19 to reflect on the queen’s “remarkable life” and her “unrelenting commitment to service and duty.”

Nova Scotia announced Sept 13 it is following the federal government's lead. Provincial government offices, public schools and regulated child care will be closed in Nova Scotia. Healthcare services, appointments and procedures will remain operational across that province.

Nova Scotia businesses will have the choice to remain open.

Prince Edward Island said it is making a regulation change to declare Sept. 19 a statutory holiday for all workers who are provincially regulated. Provincial government offices, schools in the Public Schools Branch, and la Commission scolaire de langue française will be closed for the day.

The PEI government said September 19 will be treated like other statutory holidays as outlined in the Employment Standards Act for all provincially regulated employees. “Islanders are encouraged to spend the day commemorating the life of Queen Elizabeth II in whatever manner they choose,” the PEI government said in a statement. “The province also recognizes that many essential services and some employers will need to continue to operate as scheduled and the Employment Standards Act has provisions for those employees who work on statutory holidays.”

New Brunswick also announced Sept. 13 that government offices and schools there will be closed, but that observing a holiday is optional for private-sector businesses and employers. “The day will be treated as any other holiday for management and non-union employees in Parts I, II and III of the provincial public service,” the New Brunswick government said in a statement. “This includes central government departments and agencies, as well as the anglophone and francophone public school systems. Collective agreement terms and conditions for holidays will apply to unionized employees in Parts I, II and III. While government offices and public schools will be closed, this holiday will be optional for private sector businesses and employers.”

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business issued a statement Sept. 13 urging provinces not to declare a statutory paid holiday, citing unfairness to pandemic-hit small businesses and billions in costs.

Trudeau and other Canadian political leaders and representatives are planning to attend the state funeral in London Sept. 19. There will also be televised commemoration ceremonies in Ottawa to mark the day.

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