Earlier this year the federal government amended the Holidays Act to include Remembrance Day as a legal holiday. You can read more about this in our past post Remembrance Day Enacted as a Legal Holiday. In Ontario, Remembrance Day has not been added to the Employment Standards Act as a public holiday and consequently, workers governed by provincial legislation do not get the day off.

Why Don’t We All Get the Same Days Off?

The answer to this question goes back to our Constitution and the division of powers. Different spheres are governed by the provinces versus by the federal government. This is why workers in Ontario (or any province) do not all get the same days off. Workers in Ontario (or any province) also do not all have the same employment rights because federal and provincial spheres are governed by different laws.

Federal Holidays

Spheres governed by federal legislation are those that concern “national interest.” This encompasses areas that cross provincial borders like mail, shipping, banking, telecommunications and fisheries. Federal industries are governed by the Canada Labour Code. The Canada Labour Code provides for nine “general holidays”:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Good Friday
  • Victoria Day
  • Canada Day
  • Labour Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Remembrance Day
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day

This is why banks are closed on Remembrance Day!

Provincial Holidays

The majority of workplaces in Ontario are governed by the Employment Standards Act. This rapidly evolving piece of legislation provides for nine public holidays. Instead of Remembrance Day, Ontario workplaces have Family Day.

  • New Year’s Day
  • Family Day
  • Good Friday
  • Victoria Day
  • Canada Day
  • Labour Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day