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Do I have to work on public holidays?

In most jobs, you have the right to get public holidays off work with holiday pay. Some people call them statutory holidays.

Ontario's Employment Standards Act (ESA) has minimum standards that employers must follow. This includes rules about public holidays.

If the ESA rules about public holidays apply to your job, they apply:

  • if you work full-time or part-time
  • no matter how long you've worked in the job
  • whether or not the public holiday falls on a day that you'd usually work

If a public holiday falls on a day that you don't usually work or when you're on vacation, you get another day off with holiday pay.

For example, if you work Monday to Friday and July 1 is on a Saturday, your employer can decide that you'll get Monday, July 3 off with holiday pay.

Or, if you agree in writing, you can get holiday pay for the public holiday. In that case, you don't get another day off.

Working on a public holiday

Some people have to work on public holidays. For example, you might have to work on a public holiday if you work in:

  • a hotel, motel, or tourist resort
  • a hospital or nursing home
  • a business that stays open for 24 hours each day over a period of 7 days

And if you don't have to work, you can agree to work on a public holiday. You would do this by putting it in writing for your employer.

There are special rules about getting paid for working on a public holiday.

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Find out if you're covered by the Employment Standards Act

Ontario's Employment Standards Act (ESA) has rules about minimum standards that employers must follow. These include rules about time off on public holidays.

But not all jobs are covered by the ESA. And, for some jobs, only parts of the ESA apply.

Use the Ministry of Labour's online tool called Industries and Jobs with Exemptions or Special Rules to find out:

  • if your job is covered by the ESA
  • which ESA rules apply to you

You can also call the Ministry's Employment Standards Information Centre at 1-800-531-5551, 416-326-7160, or 1-866-567-8893 (TTY).

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Learn which days are public holidays in Ontario

In Ontario, there are 9 public holidays each year. Some people call these "stat holidays".

New Year's Day

January 1

Family Day

third Monday in February

Good Friday

Friday before Easter Sunday (falls either in March or April)

Victoria Day

Monday before May 25

Canada Day

July 1

Labour Day

first Monday in September

Thanksgiving Day

second Monday in October

Christmas Day

December 25

Boxing Day

December 26

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Find out if you're covered by federal laws

Some industries are covered by federal laws. These are laws made by the Government of Canada and they apply throughout the country.

These industries include banks, airlines, some trucking businesses, and broadcasting.

Workers in these industries are covered by the Canada Labour Code. Like the Employment Standards Act, the Canada Labour Code sets out minimum standards employers must follow.

The Canada Labour Code gives gives most workers 9 paid holidays each year. They're called "general holidays".

Learn which days are holidays under federal laws

The Canada Labour Code gives gives most workers 9 paid holidays each year. They're called "General holidays".

New Year's Day

January 1

Good Friday

Friday before Easter Sunday (falls either in March or April)

Victoria Day

Monday before May 25

Canada Day

July 1

Labour Day

first Monday in September

Thanksgiving Day

second Monday in October

Remembrance Day

November 11

Christmas Day

December 25

Boxing Day

December 26

You may need
Reviewed: 
January, 2016

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