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Family Day (Canada)

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In parts of Canada, Family Day French: Jour de la famille is a statutory holiday occurring on a Monday in February In the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island PEI and Saskatchewan, it is observed on the third Monday of February; in the provinces of Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, the holiday is instead termed Louis Riel Day, Nova Scotia Heritage Day and Islander Day respectively British Columbia BC observes Family Day on the second Monday of February Two-thirds of Canadians live in a province that observes a February statutory holiday Except in British Columbia, Family Day coincides with Presidents' Day in the United States

The second and third Mondays in February are regular working days in Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the territories As Family Day is not recognized in the federal sphere, federal employees in all provinces such as public servants and postal workers work on this day In Yukon, one Friday in February is deemed Yukon Heritage Day


  • 1 Family Day
    • 11 Alberta
    • 12 Saskatchewan
    • 13 Ontario
    • 14 British Columbia
    • 15 New Brunswick
  • 2 Other names
    • 21 Louis Riel Day Manitoba
    • 22 Islander Day Prince Edward Island
    • 23 Nova Scotia Heritage Day
    • 24 Yukon Heritage Day
  • 3 Elsewhere
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links

Family Day


The holiday was first celebrated in 1990 Alberta was the only province to have a statutory holiday in February until Saskatchewan began observing it in 2007

The holiday was proclaimed by Lieutenant Governor Helen Hunley, on the advice of her premier, Don Getty Premier Getty said it was important for Albertans to spend time with their families, and that this holiday would emphasize the importance of family values

Getty faced considerable criticism at the time; many employers felt an additional statutory holiday was an unnecessary financial burden In response, Heritage Day was downgraded to a civic holiday, meaning employers would not be required to observe it Under Alberta law, the employer may choose to observe Heritage Day as a general holiday, under which rules applying to general holiday pay will be used


In October 2006, Saskatchewan's Premier, Lorne Calvert, proposed the holiday for the province, starting in 2007 The bill for the Labour Standards Amendment Act, 2006, was introduced in the legislature on November 1, 2006, and received Royal Assent on December 6 The act officially declares Family Day on the third Monday of each February; the first Family Day in Saskatchewan was February 19, 2007

The annual number of days off remains unchanged for many, as Easter Monday is no longer considered a holiday by private businesses Businesses suggested the new holiday might cost them as much as $140 million a year, and have requested tax breaks to soften the economic impact The Saskatchewan government has provided $95 million in corporate tax cuts, but most of the companies benefiting have adjusted the official days off such that the annual allotment remains the same


During the Ontario provincial election in 2007, Dalton McGuinty, of the Liberal Party, promised that, if re-elected premier, he would establish a provincial holiday in February On October 12, 2007, the provincial government established Family Day on the third Monday in February, to be first observed on February 18, 2008 Its creation raised Ontario's number of statutory holidays to nine per year However, this holiday does not necessarily add to the number of holidays Ontarians receive because employers can substitute any non-statutory holidays that employees may already be receiving in lieu of this day Many employers have substituted the popular Civic Holiday, which falls on the first Monday in August Although the Civic Holiday is enjoyed by millions every year, it is not public statutory, and workers may have to choose one holiday or the other, based on their contract, union negotiations, service requirements, etc

British Columbia

A private member's bill to establish Family Day on the third Monday in February was introduced in the British Columbia Legislature by Liberal MLA Bob Chisholm in 1994 but failed to pass Although there were renewed calls to introduce Family Day in BC between 2007 and 2011, it was opposed by the British Columbia Chamber of Commerce and the Campbell government

On January 10, 2011, while running for the leadership of the BC Liberal Party, Christy Clark proposed establishing a Family Day holiday on the third Monday of February Clark subsequently became premier; the Speech from the Throne, delivered on October 3, 2011, said that BC would observe its first Family Day on February 18, 2013

In 2012, a two-week consultation process was held in order to determine if British Columbians preferred the holiday to fall on the second or third Monday in February On May 28, 2012, it was announced that Family Day would be observed on the second Monday in February each year, starting February 11, 2013 As this does not coincide with Presidents Day, it also provides two consecutive long weekends for tourism, particularly at BC's many ski resorts

New Brunswick

On September 5, 2010, while campaigning for re-election, New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham promised to establish Family Day in his province if his Liberal Party was returned to government, Graham did not win re-election

The Liberals won re-election in September 2014, and in February 2016 the Liberal Government started studying the implementation of Family Day On April 26, 2017, Premier Brian Gallant announced that New Brunswick would become the newest province to observe Family Day, beginning on February 19, 2018

Other names

Louis Riel Day Manitoba

In February 2007, it was reported that the Manitoba government was considering a February holiday Legislation proclaiming the third Monday in February as Louis Riel Day was passed by Manitoba's Legislative Assembly on April 17, 2007, and first celebrated February 18, 2008 The day is known as Louis Riel Day, a name suggested by Manitoba school students, in honour of Louis Riel, the Métis leader who lead the fight to maintain aboriginal rights

Islander Day Prince Edward Island

The provincial government of Prince Edward Island introduced Islander Day in 2009, due to the rising trend of a holiday in February It was first held on the second Monday of February in 2009, rather than the third Monday, as in other provinces This incongruity effected much controversy, as businesses suffered as a result of being out of sync with their partners in other provinces, as well the United States, which celebrates Presidents Day on the third Monday of February In April 2009, Provincial Attorney General Gerard Greenan moved the holiday to the third Monday in February

Nova Scotia Heritage Day

After the Nova Scotia Liberal Party was elected in 2013, its leader Stephen McNeil said he planned to create a February statutory holiday in Nova Scotia In December 2013 the government introduced a bill to create a holiday on the third Monday in February, starting in 2015 The permanent name for the holiday, Nova Scotia Heritage Day, was announced on June 26, 2014 Each year it will honour a different person, the first was Viola Desmond The first 12, which covers 2015 – 2026, were chosen by a three-member government appointed panel from suggestions from Nova Scotian school children Other days will recognize Mi'kmaq heritage, Africville, Joseph Howe, Edward Francis Arab, Nora Bernard, Carrie Best, J Willie Comeau, Grand-Pré National Historic Site, William Hall, Rita Joe, Maud Lewis, and Mona Louise Parsons

Yukon Heritage Day

In Yukon, Yukon Heritage Day is a holiday observed on the Friday before the last Sunday of February Although the government and many businesses are closed on this day, it is not a statutory holiday


Governments in the remaining jurisdictions without February holidays have come under some pressure to harmonize Ontario's enactment of Family Day has meant the Canadian financial sector, including the Toronto Stock Exchange, largely shuts down on this date In 2008, federal NDP leader Jack Layton proposed that it be made a federal holiday Not being a federal holiday, federally regulated workplaces such as the post office work on Family Day regardless of the day's status in the respective provinces


  1. ^ "Family Day Act, RSA 2000, c F-4" Canadian Legal Information Institute March 12, 2007 Archived from the original on September 29, 2007 Retrieved April 26, 2007 
  2. ^ "Family Day Alberta" wwwsoftprintnet 
  3. ^ "Alberta General Holidays and General Holiday Pay" October 12, 2007 Archived from the original on October 11, 2007 Retrieved October 12, 2007 
  4. ^ "Saskatchewan plans a new paid holiday called Family Day" National Union of Public and General Employees October 30, 2006 Retrieved November 23, 2006 
  5. ^ "Progress of Bills in the Saskatchewan Legislature 2006–2007" PDF Journals Branch of the Legislative Assembly Archived from the original PDF on September 26, 2010 Retrieved February 14, 2010 
  6. ^ "The Labour Standards Amendment Act, 2006" Government of Saskatchewan Retrieved February 14, 2010 
  7. ^ "Discover Ontario on Family Day" Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture 
  8. ^ "Ontario's Family Day Holiday: Can We Afford It" Wired 
  9. ^ "BILL M 212 – 1994;FAMILY DAY ACT" Government of British Columbia Retrieved February 14, 2010 
  10. ^ "B C goes without Family Day long weekend" February 16, 2008 Archived from the original on April 26, 2009 Retrieved February 14, 2010 
  11. ^ "B C Family Day holiday idea nixed" Daily Commercial News February 24, 2006 Archived from the original on July 28, 2011 Retrieved February 14, 2010 
  12. ^ Point, Hon Steven L October 3, 2011 "Speech from the Throne, 4th Session, 39th Parliament" Archived from the original on March 1, 2014 Retrieved January 8, 2013 
  13. ^ Cassidy Oliver, The Province May 8, 2012 "British Columbians asked to weigh in on date of February's new Family Day" Archived from the original on June 11, 2012 Retrieved May 28, 2012 
  14. ^ Terri Theodore May 28, 2012 "Yay! Another holiday!" The Canadian Press Retrieved May 28, 2012 
  15. ^ "Graham promises new NB holiday" CBC News September 5, 2010 Retrieved September 5, 2010 
  16. ^ "Family Day for New Brunswick The government is considering it" Global News February 15, 2016 Retrieved February 25, 2017 
  17. ^ "New Brunswick winter holiday" Government of New Brunswick April 26, 2017 Retrieved May 2, 2017 
  18. ^ "Manitoba's new holiday: Louis Riel Day" Canadian Broadcasting Corporation September 25, 2007 Retrieved August 6, 2017 
  19. ^ "McNeil hits the ground running on first day as NS premier-designate" Global News October 9, 2013 Retrieved October 17, 2013 
  20. ^ "What should Nova Scotia name its new February holiday" CBC News December 5, 2013 Retrieved February 2, 2014 
  21. ^ "February Holiday Act Will Give Nova Scotians Break" Government of Nova Scotia December 5, 2013 Retrieved February 2, 2014 
  22. ^ "Nova Scotians to mark new Heritage Day in February" CTV News Canadian Press June 26, 2014 Retrieved June 26, 2014 
  23. ^ "Viola Desmond 1st Nova Scotian honoured on new holiday" CBC News February 17, 2014 Retrieved February 18, 2014 
  24. ^ "History of Heritage Day" Government of Nova Scotia February 2017 Retrieved February 8, 2017 
  25. ^ "February holiday dubbed Nova Scotia Heritage Day" CBC News June 26, 2014 Retrieved June 26, 2014 
  26. ^ "Public holidays" Canada Revenue Agency Retrieved February 20, 2015 
  27. ^ "Heritage Day" Encyclopædia Britannica Retrieved March 3, 2016 
  28. ^ "Employment standards" Government of Yukon Retrieved March 3, 2016 
  29. ^ "Layton wants 'Family Day' a national holiday" CTV News February 18, 2008 Archived from the original on March 4, 2010 Retrieved February 14, 2010 

External links

  • Government of Alberta – Family Day
  • Government of British Columbia – Family Day
  • Government of Manitoba – Louis Riel Day
  • Government of New Brunswick – Employment standards
  • Government of Nova Scotia – Nova Scotia Heritage Day
  • Government of Ontario – Family Day
  • Government of Prince Edward Island – Islander Day
  • Government of Saskatchewan – Designated holidays
  • Government of Yukon – Employment standards

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