The National Day of Mourning: Is it a Holiday?

Following the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on September 8, 2022, the federal government announced earlier this week that September 19, 2022, will be a National Day of Mourning in Canada. This coincides with Her Late Majesty’s State Funeral in London and signifies the end of the official period of mourning in Canada. The full press release can be found here.

As clarified by Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan, federally regulated employers are not required to recognize the holiday, but the day will be a holiday for federal government employees. The language of an Orders in Council Proclamation issued on September 13, 2022, requests “that the people of Canada set aside September 19, 2022, as the day on which they honour the memory of Her late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Second.” Accordingly, the National Day of Mourning is not a formal statutory holiday under the Canada Labour Code.

Over the past few days, provincial and territorial governments across Canada released their individual responses to the National Day of Mourning. A few eastern provinces announced that September 19, 2022, will be a provincial holiday for their respective province but British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario are not recognizing Monday as a statutory holiday. Therefore, private sector employers in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario, and several other provinces and territories, are not required to treat the day like a statutory holiday.

Employers should check the specific terms of their contracts and collective agreements with respect to paid holidays. Some agreements contain provisions that recognize a list of specific days as paid holidays and any other day declared or proclaimed by the federal government. Typically, that will not capture September 19, since it has not been declared a federal holiday (only a federal government workers holiday), but the exact language in the contract will govern.

If you have any questions about how the National Day of Mourning may apply in your workplace, please contact a member of our Labour, Employment & Human Rights Group.


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Lawson Lundell's Labour and Employment Law Blog provides updates on the most recent legal developments impacting the Canadian workplace and offers practical tips for employers. We cover a range of topics, including labour relations, employment law, collective bargaining, human rights, employment standards, employment equity, workers' compensation, business immigration, privacy, occupational health and safety and pensions and employee benefits. 

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