Statutory Holidays in Canada | Guide for Newcomers
Having an extra day off from time to time is important to rest, have time to yourself, spend time with family or do other tasks. These extra days off are known as statutory holidays (or ‘stat’ or ‘public’ holidays’) in Canada. During these holidays, most people have a day off from work or school. As a newcomer, it’s good to know the calendar of events and dates so that you can plan for them.
What is a Statutory Holiday in Canada?
Much like in your country of origin, there are a number of public holidays that Canadians celebrate. A stat holiday observes different cultural, national, and religious holidays. Some of these days are national holidays. However, there are also holidays that only some provinces observe.
During a ‘stat holiday’ most employees can take a day off of work and still receive their regular pay. In most provinces, when a statutory holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the vacation day will usually fall on the following workday. Most stores and banks are closed on stat holidays, and there is no mail service.
Stat Holiday Long Weekends
Some of the stat holidays in Canada including Family Day, Victoria Day, Canada, and Thanksgiving mean long weekends where people plan special activities. For Family Day in February, many people plan weekend get-aways to ski resorts or enjoy other outdoor activities such as skating or tobogganing. Family Day is also a great chance to take in many of Canada’s winter festivals.
Victoria Day marks the unofficial arrival of summer in Canada. And people look forward to barbeques with friends and family, watching firework displays, or heading to a cottage or campground.
Canadians celebrate Canada Day on July 1. So the holiday can fall on any day of the week. For example, if July 1 falls on a Saturday or Sunday, people will take either the proceeding Friday or the following Monday as the holiday. Or, if July 1 falls on a Thursday, many people will take another vacation day on Friday to enjoy an extra-long weekend! Canadians look forward to big parties, parades, concerts, fireworks and so much more in cities and towns all across Canada!
Labour Day is another long weekend. This holiday is bittersweet for Canadians. It marks the unofficial end of summer and the return to school for kids. During this stat holiday in Canada, people will take in fall festivals, hikes along nature trails, or sneak in one last visit to the beach!
National Statutory Holidays in Canada
These are holidays that Canadians in all provinces and territories observe:
New Year’s Day (January 1): celebrates the first day of the calendar year.
Good Friday (occurs on the Friday before Easter. This holiday usually falls between March 23 and April 26): commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus.
Canada Day (July 1): celebrates the day Canada formed as a country and its birthday.
Labour Day (first Monday in September): celebrates economic and social gains of workers.
Christmas Day (December 25) celebrates the birth of Jesus.
In addition to national holidays, there are other statutory holidays that many provinces (but not all) will observe.
Family Day (third Monday in February): promotes spending time with family. It’s also known as Louis Riel Day in Manitoba, Islander Day in Prince Edward Island, and Heritage Day in Nova Scotia.
Easter Monday (occurs on the Monday after Easter. This holiday usually falls between March 23 and April 26): celebrates the resurrection of Jesus.
Victoria Day (the last Monday each May): recognizes the birthday of Queen Elizabeth. In Quebec, it’s called National Patriots Day.
Civic Holiday (occurs on the first Monday in August): It goes by other names in some provinces.
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (September 30): honours survivors of Canada’s residential schools.
Thanksgiving (second Monday in October).
Remembrance Day (November 11): honours veterans who served during World War I, and World War II.
Boxing Day (December 26): This is a holiday unique to Canada. Some refer to it as the second day of Christmas or St. Stephens Day.
Learn more about public holidays in:
For more information, tools, and free webinars about living in Canada visit our Settling in Canada resource page. We’ll help you to settle in Canada successfully.