New Federal Statutory Holiday and What It Means For Employers

September 23, 2021 — The federal government has made September 30, an annual, federal statutory holiday to be marked as the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation to recognize the history and trauma of the residential school system.

This new holiday is specifically a federal holiday, impacting only those businesses which are federally regulated or are subject to the Canada Labour Code.

The vast majority of BC businesses are regulated provincially and are subject to the BC Employment Standards Act, which has not been amended to make September 30 of this year a statutory holiday.  Therefore, for private BC businesses, recognizing this year’s holiday will be at the discretion of individual employers.

Businesses which are not federally regulated may still choose to close and not operate on September 30, or they may choose to operate for either normal hours or reduced hours.  Regardless of whether a business closes or remains open in this case, there would be no obligation on the employer to offer either statutory holiday pay to employees (if they are not working) or time-and-a-half to employees (that do work on September 30).

The Government of BC has announced it is marking September 30, 2021 and as a result  many provincial public services will remain open but may be operating at reduced levels. In addition, post-secondary institutions, some health sector workplaces, Crown corporations, and, notably, public K-12 schools will be closed.

Going forward, the BC Government has announced it will consult with business, labour, and Indigenous leaders on the best way to recognize this holiday going forward, which could include making it a provincial statutory holiday.

Questions, thoughts or comments on the new holiday?   Burnaby Board of Trade members can contact our Director of Policy by email.