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Is the Civic Holiday a Statutory Holiday in Ontario? 10 Aspects which you should Not Miss Out on

is the civic holiday a statutory holiday in ontario

Ontario is located in Canada. It is famous for its natural beauty, and it’s the nation’s wealthiest province. Ontario is large; in fact, it is bigger than Spain and France combined. Canada’s best farmland is in Ontario. The highest point in the province is Ishpatina Ridge and the lowest is on Hudson Bay.

What are Civic Holidays?

Civic holidays are nonpartisan days on which action happened that led to the strengthening of the country’s democracy. The purpose of the civic holiday is to celebrate democratic and government achievements and reforms. These holidays bring communities and people together for voting and participation in the celebration. It can be simply described as a public holiday in any area.

In Canada, a civic holiday is on the first Monday of August. Specifically, in Ontario, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut, a “civic holiday is a public holiday, which means that schools and most businesses are closed. The civic holiday is an optional holiday, and employers can choose to give their workers a holiday. This civic holiday is called by different names in different parts of Canada, but one of the most common names is the August civic holiday.

Some other cases are: in Alberta, it is known as Heritage Day; in some parts of Nova Scotia, the civic holiday is called Natal Day; and in New Brunswick, it is called New Brunswick Day. On this holiday, pay is given to workers along with a bonus, and hence, employees use this holiday for vacation, which is why the civic holiday is also called the second long weekend in the summer.

civic holiday
by AmandaArnason / pixabay. copyright 2014

In Ontario, 2008 was the year when the Ontario Legislature passed a law identifying the first of August as “Emancipation Day” as a civic holiday. This is the day the British parliament abolished slavery on August 1, 1834. In addition to the nine holidays, employers in Ontario should also know about Remembrance Day (November 11, 2023) and the Civic Holiday (August 7, 2023, or the first Monday in August).

This is a much-awaited holiday as it lets the employees blow off some steam with a paid holiday and is a good time to spend time with friends or have a family day. Public holiday pay is calculated by adding the number of hours that the employee has worked in the 4 work weeks prior to the holiday and dividing that by 20. People also take this time to travel or spend time in country houses. The Civic Holiday is a time of fireworks, celebration, and relaxation all over Canada.

To check whether the civic holiday is a statutory holiday in Ontario, we must know what a statutory holiday is.

What is a Statutory Holiday?

Statutory holidays are also a type of public holiday or stat holiday. In Canada, a statutory holiday” is one that is legislated by the federal government or a provincial or territorial government; in other words, these are holidays set aside for special occasions. Most workers, public and private, are entitled to take the day off with regular pay. They are mostly compulsory, as the government announces them as public holidays.

Ontario’s Employment Standards Act (ESA) has minimum standards that employers must meet to get statutory holiday pay. Remembrance Day is not a statutory holiday in Ontario, thus it is a non-statutory holiday.

The following holidays are recognised as statutory holidays in Ontario:

1. New Year’s Day

New Year’s in Ontario is celebrated just like anywhere else in the world. Although one must know that Ontario recognizes January 1 as a statutory holiday but not New Year’s Eve. Here you can observe many concerts taking place both indoors and outdoors on New Year’s Eve.

There are many parties that are meant for people to countdown the previous year and look forward to the year ahead. The fireworks, carnivals, parties, dances, and concerts add to the excitement of a new year. Everyone gets holiday pay to enjoy this worldwide celebration. Indeed, Happy New Year to everyone in Ontario, right?

2. Canada Day

Canada Day is celebrated to mark the birth of Canada on July 1, 1867. Governor General Lord Monck signed a proclamation that asks all of Her Majesty Queen Victoria’s supporters across Canada to celebrate July 1. This day was formerly known as Dominion Day.” By the Canada Act of 1982, the British North America Act was given by the British to the Canadian Parliament, and Canada became a fully independent country. At the same time, the name of the statutory holiday was changed to Canada Day.

This day is celebrated with parades, flag hosting, and national song singing. Canada Day can also be called a national holiday as it is celebrated similarly all over Canada and not just in Ontario. Let the patriotic songs flow through you.

3. Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving in Canada is celebrated on the 2nd Monday of October every year, and it is a statutory holiday except in these provinces: PEI, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, but all the regulated and official institutions follow the holiday and remain shut. Thanksgiving Day was started to celebrate harvesting, but now it is more about spending time with family or friends and visiting close family to have a big turkey dinner with a little apple cider along with it. This holiday is also major in the US and is celebrated with very similar enthusiasm.

thanksgiving feast
by PublicDomainPictures / pixabay. copyright 2014

The first time it was celebrated was in 1872 in Canada to celebrate the survival of the Prince of Wales from a serious illness, and since then it has become a tradition for the people of Canada.

4. Family Day in Canada

Family Day is not a national statutory holiday. It is only celebrated in New Brunswick, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia. Other provinces have holidays in February on the same day, but these holidays aren’t similar to the family day celebrated in Ontario.

PEI Islander Day is celebrated on the third Monday of February, and similarly, in Manitoba, the third Monday of February is the Louis Riel Day holiday. Also, in Nova Scotia, family day is called Heritage Day. Family Day was a day to give everyone in a family a chance to spend some time together. It was also celebrated to get a break between New Year’s and Good Friday.

5. Christmas Day

Christmas is celebrated enthusiastically worldwide, so it is no surprise that Christmas Day is the most popular holiday among Canadians. This holiday is celebrated by both Christians and non-religious people alike as everyone enjoys the lights, eggnog, and an excuse to spend time together and have a holly jolly Christmas. Christmas is a time for happiness and cheer all over Canada and also allows children to enjoy themselves.

The streets of Canada are lit up, and Christmas trees are placed in the middle of the streets.All the families in Canada start planning for Christmas in early December and decorate both the inside and outside of their houses using Christmas lights, ornaments, and other decorative objects that are sometimes family heirlooms. Similarly, families also use traditional Christmas recipes, outfits, and songs to make their kids’ Christmas even more special.

6. Good Friday

Good Friday occurs two days before Easter Sunday. It is a very religious day for Christians, and this day plays an important part in the Christian faith. It is a statutory holiday all over Canada except Quebec. There are special services in churches that are attended by all Christians. Even people who are not very religious attend this service.

Hot cross buns, a delicacy made of bread, raisins, and more, are very popular on this day. The bun is marked with a cross to bless it with holiness. As this day signifies the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus, this is an important holiday all over the world. It also overall makes a 3-day holiday as it is on Friday.

7. Labour Day

Labour Day is celebrated to honour workers and labour unions, but most people see it as an opportunity to take advantage of a long weekend holiday and go on vacation. A perfect occasion for a good BBQ and a good canoe trip.

Many seasonal attractions and vendors close after the long Labour Day weekend as it is a sign of a change in weather and the welcoming of the season of fall. This day also marks the start of the new school year in Canada. It is also an occasion to celebrate labour laws, movements, and the benefits of having a union working in the country.

8. Boxing Day

Boxing Day is similar to Black Friday in the US and is the day with the best offers in the market. You can buy anything at a reasonable price on Boxing Day. Though many believe it to be a good day to be spent with the family and keep shopping for some other day, This holiday is celebrated one day after Christmas.

It is believed that the name Boxing Day comes from the fact that people throw or remove many boxes after opening Christmas presents the next day, hence the day being named Boxing Day. Of course, there are way too many theories about the name of the day, but none of them are confirmed anywhere other than the fact that if you plan on shopping from Ontario, it should be on Boxing Day.

9. Victoria Day

As the name of the day suggests, this day is meant to celebrate the birthday of Queen Victoria. Victoria Day is also known as “May 2-4” weekend, and this marks the beginning of a relaxing season for workers in Canada called the cottage season.

The workers sit back and drink beer as a break from their daily lives. Victoria Day is a non-statutory holiday in the maritime provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and PEI. In Quebec, National Patriots Day is celebrated on this day. This is the time when the citizens honour the great people who have sacrificed for the country or province.

Is the Civic Holiday a Statutory Holiday in Ontario?

The major difference between these holidays is that on a civic holiday, the employer chooses whether or not they want to shut their business and give holiday pay to its workers to have some fun. Civic Day is celebrated just to give the citizens a break from working, while statutory holidays are meant for national holidays that must be celebrated countrywide with unity and strength.


So the answer to the question of whether the civic holiday is a statutory holiday in Ontario is no, it is not. Both holidays have their own importance in the lives of the people of Ontario. Statutory holidays have their own traditions and evolution. The civic holiday is a holiday meant to provide the citizens with a break and time to spend with family.

The civic holiday can be seen as a reward to the hardworking workers, as not all workers receive stat pay, but those who have worked the whole week before the holiday and promise to come Monday after the holiday do.

The Best Places to Visit in Ontario During the Holidays:

Niagara Falls definitely tops the list for everyone who is thinking of travelling somewhere in Ontario. There are three groups of waterfalls with huge amounts of water flowing from such high altitudes. Most of the high-altitude waterfalls don’t have a good volume of water flowing, and that is what makes Niagara Falls different from others.

Niagara Waterfalls
by Martajozsa / pixabay. copyright 2013

Some other places that are famous in Ontario are:

  • CN Tower: It was once the tallest building and now is second to Burj Khalifa. The height of the tower is 553 metres in the air.
  • Royal Ontario Museum: This is the largest museum in Canada and attracts millions of tourists every year.
  • Casa Loma: The best place to play your royal fantasy The place with a castle and the most beautiful garden
  • Parliament Hill: If you enjoy unique architecture and aesthetic buildings, this is the place for you.
  • Blue Mountain Ski Resort is the best destination for skiing all over Ontario.
  • Canada’s Wonderland: Time to enjoy some rides, have the time of your life, and many more.

I hope now everyone gets why the holidays in Ontario are the way they are. We can see that Canada really focuses on the health and well-being of its workforce, and most of the holidays are arranged with that in mind. Want to know more about Ontario? Read the following articles:


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