Canada: Holiday Rules In Canada

With the Christmas season around the corner, many are looking forward to the statutory holidays. To give a quick breakdown, Christmas Day (Dec. 25) and New Year's Day (Jan. 1) are statutory holidays across all provinces in Canada. However, Boxing Day (Dec. 26) is only listed as a statutory holiday in Ontario.

When these statutory holidays arrive, some businesses will close up shop, while others will remain open. For those that do carry on business, employees will be required to work. What are these employees entitled to if they must work on these dates?

Although most provinces are required to pay a premium rate to their employees working on a statutory holiday, each province differs as follows:


Only eligible employees are entitled to statutory holiday pay. Eligible employees are those that have been employed for 30 days and have worked on at least 15 of the 30 calendar days preceding the statutory holiday. One caveat – employees who work under an averaging agreement, which permits hours of work to be averaged over a period of up to four weeks, do not have to meet the 15-day minimum requirement.

Any employee who is given the day off on a statutory holiday must be paid an "average day's pay."  That amount is determined by dividing the amount that was paid or payable to an employee during the 30 days preceding the statutory holiday (including vacation pay but less amounts paid or payable for overtime) by the number of days the employee worked within that same 30-day period.

If an employee works on the statutory holiday, he or she must be paid the average day's pay (as outlined above) plus 1.5 times his or her regular wage for time worked on the statutory holiday up to 12 hours and double time for any hours thereafter.


Only eligible employees are entitled to statutory holiday pay. Eligible employees are those that have worked at least 30 days in the 12 months before the holiday. An employee is not eligible for statutory holiday pay if the employee does not work on the holiday when required or scheduled to do so, or is absent from employment without the consent of the employer on the employee's last regular workday preceding, or the employee's first regular workday following, a holiday. Eligible employees will receive a regular day of pay if they did not work. Those who do work on the holiday will receive time-and-a-half or another paid day off. Employees who do not normally work on the day the holiday falls on and are asked to work will receive time-and-a-half.

Unless otherwise arranged, employees who do not normally work the day the holiday falls on and are not requested to work on the holiday will not be paid for the holiday. If an employee works an irregular schedule and there is doubt about whether a holiday is on a day that would normally have been a workday for the employee, the doubt is resolved as follows: if in at least five  of the nine weeks preceding the work week in which the holiday occurs the employee worked on the same day of the week as the day on which the holiday falls, the employee is entitled to the holiday.


The pay for a statutory holiday is 5% of an employee's wages earned four weeks (28 days) before the holiday. Employees earn this pay whether or not they work on the holiday. One caveat – hourly paid construction workers will receive 4% of their annual wage (overtime not included). The employer can also request a permit to observe a statutory holiday on an alternative day. Employees who work on the statutory holiday receive time-and-a-half in addition to their holiday pay. Employees who operate well-drilling rigs receive their holiday pay on top of their regular pay only.


In Manitoba, all employees are eligible for statutory pay unless the employee is scheduled to work on a general holiday, but are absent without the employer's permission, or the employee is absent without the employer's permission from his or her last scheduled workday before the holiday, of his or her first scheduled workday after the holiday. Employees who work consistent hours receive a regular day's pay and those who have varying hours receive 5% of their wages over the course of the four weeks prior. One caveat – those in the construction industry receive 4% of their gross earnings.

Employees who work on the statutory holiday are paid a rate of time-and-a-half. Employees who work on a general holiday are normally entitled to time-and-a-half for the hours worked on the day in addition to his or her holiday pay. However, exempt employers do not have to pay employees who work on a general holiday time-and-a-half for the hours worked on that day in addition to the employees holiday pay if the employer provides another day off with general holiday pay within the next 30 days.


Eligible employees, whether full-time or part-time, are generally entitled to a paid holiday on each public holiday recognized under the Employment Standards Act, 2000, including Christmas, Boxing Day and New Years' Day. However, an employee will not be eligible for a paid day off on the holiday if the employee either: (i) failed without reasonable cause to work his or her last regularly scheduled shift before and first regularly scheduled shift after the public holiday; or (ii) agreed to or was required to work on the public holiday, but failed without reasonable cause to work his or her entire shift on that day.

Public holiday pay is equal to the total amount of regular wages earned and vacation pay payable to the employee in the four work weeks before the work week in which the public holiday occurs, divided by 20. An employee who agrees or is required to work on a public holiday is entitled to be paid at his or her regular rate for all hours worked on the holiday, and be given a substitute holiday with public holiday pay. Alternatively, if the employee and the employer agree in writing, the employee may receive public holiday pay plus a premium rate of pay (1.5 times the employee's regular rate) for the hours worked on the public holiday. Only employees employed in a hospital, a "continuous operation," or a hotel, motel, tourist resort, restaurant or tavern may be required to work on a public holiday. Most retail employees generally have the right to refuse to work on a public holiday. The Ontario Minister of Labour offers a public holiday pay calculator on its website.


All employees are eligible for holiday pay except those that miss work the day before or after. Those who do work will receive double time or a day off with pay in addition to their regular wage.

About Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP

Norton Rose Fulbright is a global law firm. We provide the world's preeminent corporations and financial institutions with a full business law service. We have 3800 lawyers and other legal staff based in more than 50 cities across Europe, the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

Recognized for our industry focus, we are strong across all the key industry sectors: financial institutions; energy; infrastructure, mining and commodities; transport; technology and innovation; and life sciences and healthcare.

Wherever we are, we operate in accordance with our global business principles of quality, unity and integrity. We aim to provide the highest possible standard of legal service in each of our offices and to maintain that level of quality at every point of contact.

For more information about Norton Rose Fulbright, see

Law around the world

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.