Canada: St. John The Baptist Day – A Primer On Employers' Obligations

Last Updated: June 20 2017
Article by Geneviève Beaudin and Paule Veilleux

Summer is at hand (almost) and summer vacations as well. Every year at this time, employers become concerned about their obligations in connection with the St. John the Baptist Day National Holiday.

The Quebec legislator considers this statutory holiday to be very important and it is governed by a specific statute, namely the National Holiday Act, with stricter rules than the Labour Standards Act, which governs all other statutory holidays. In other words, the legislator clearly intended that Quebec employees who normally work do not on this national holiday. This intention is evident from the provisions on whether or not the holiday can be postponed and its general conditions of application. 

Who can be required to work

While employers can generally ask an employee to work on a statutory holiday, it is more difficult to do so when it comes to St. John the Baptist Day. 

This is because the National Holiday Act specifies that the only employees who can be required to work on St. John the Baptist Day are those who work for a business that "by reason of the nature of its activities" cannot dispense with their services on that particular day. 

The expression "by reason of the nature of its activities" is interpreted relatively narrowly by the Commission des normes, de l'équité et de la santé et de la sécurité du travail. Only businesses that can show that they cannot interrupt their activities because doing so would be incompatible with the very nature of those activities, or who can show that interrupting their activities would be truly detrimental to the sound operation of the business, can remain open and require their employees to work on St. John the Baptist Day. Here are some examples of such businesses: 

  • hotels;
  • restaurants;
  • convenience stores;
  • factories that operate 24 hours a day where the employer can show that restarting the factory's machinery after a shutdown would take an inordinately long time. 

Thus, in principle an employer cannot justifiably require its employees to work on St. John the Baptist Day in order to finish urgent work or merely to maintain productivity. It should also be noted that retail businesses can interrupt their activities. Moreover, the Act respecting hours and days of admission to commercial establishments provides that commercial establishments governed by that statute must close on June 24th, with some exceptions.

Employees who must work on June 24th because of the nature of the business activities of their employer are entitled to a full day's pay for that day as well as the statutory indemnity. However, in lieu of the indemnity the employer may, at its discretion, give such employees a compensatory holiday on the working day immediately preceding or following June 24th.

Conditions of application

June 24th, St. John the Baptist Day, is a statutory public holiday. The only condition employees must satisfy in order to benefit is that they were in your employment on the day of the holiday. There is no obligation similar to the one in the Labour Standards Act that requires employees to report for work on the day preceding or following the holiday in order to benefit. If the National Holiday falls on a day that is a regular working day for the employee, the employee is therefore entitled to a holiday on the day itself as well as the statutory indemnity.

In addition, when June 24th falls on a day that is not a regular working day, the employee is still entitled to a compensatory holiday equal to a regular day of work or the statutory indemnity, at the employer's discretion. In all cases, the compensatory holiday must be taken on the working day preceding or following June 24th.

Also note that if the day falls on a Sunday, an employee who does not normally work on Sunday is entitled to the holiday on June 25th. When June 24th falls on a Saturday, the National Holiday is a statutory public holiday for an employee who regularly works on Saturday and he will be entitled to a holiday on the day itself as well as the statutory indemnity. An employee who does not regularly work on Saturday is entitled to either a compensatory holiday equal to a regular day of work or the statutory indemnity, at the employer's discretion. In all cases, the compensatory holiday must be taken on the working day preceding or following June 24th.

Last, if the employee is on annual leave (vacation) during St. John the Baptist, the compensatory holiday is to be taken on a date agreed upon by the employee and the employer. 

Calculating the holiday indemnity

  • Employees with standard remuneration
    An employee entitled to a paid holiday on St. John the Baptist Day is thereby entitled to an indemnity equal to 1/20th of the wages earned during the four complete weeks of pay preceding the week of June 24th, excluding overtime. 
  • Commission employees
    However, the indemnity for an employee remunerated in whole or in part through commissions must equal 1/60th of his or her wages, including tips, earned during the 12 complete weeks of pay preceding the week of June 24th


It should be noted that some employees are excluded from the application of the National Holiday Act, particularly employees of businesses that are subject to the Canada Labour Code.

Public order

The National Holiday Act is a public-order statute. Nevertheless, employee benefits more attractive than those under the Act may be provided for in individual employment contracts or in collective agreements.

Finally, an employer's failure to comply with a provision of the Act constitutes an offence and can result in a fine of from $325 to $700.

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.

Geneviève Beaudin
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.