Public Holiday Policy - Ontario | McEvoy Lelievre & Associates

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Public Holiday Policy – Ontario

Business owners often are confused or challenged by the Public Holiday Policies. This is a quick overview of Ontario’s policies. If you would like more clarification, please give us a call.


Employees who qualify for public holiday pay shall receive holidays with pay as per the following procedures.


The following procedures are in accordance with the Ontario Employment Standards Act, Public Holiday Pay.

Permanent full-time employees who qualify for public holiday pay shall receive the following public holidays with pay:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Family Day
  • Good Friday
  • Victoria Day
  • Canada Day
  • Labour Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day

NOTE:  While some employers give their employees a holiday on Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, the first Monday in August (Civic Holiday), or Remembrance Day, employers are not required to do so under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA).  As such, Companies will advise employees prior to these specific holidays if they will be observed.  These holidays, if observed, will be unpaid days off.

Any Company staff member who is required to attend and perform work on a recognized statutory holiday shall be paid at a rate of 1.5 times his/her regular wage for all hours worked and receive holiday pay for the day or receive a substitute paid day off.

In the event that an employee fails to provide reasonable cause for his/her inability to work, either in part or in full, his/her last regularly scheduled day prior to the holiday, or the first regularly scheduled day following the holiday, the employee will be ineligible for statutory holiday pay.

Part-time employees will be provided with statutory holiday pay as outlined in the ESA.  The amount of public holiday pay to which an employee is entitled is all of the regular wages earned by the employee in the four work weeks before the work week with the public holiday plus all of the vacation pay payable to the employee with respect to the four work weeks before the work week with the public holiday, divided by 20.  Regular wages does not include any overtime or premium pay payable to an employee.

In the event that a recognized public holiday occurs during an employee’s vacation period, it shall not be counted as a vacation day.

In the event that an employee is away on an unpaid leave of absence, away while receiving WSIB benefits or on Long Term Disability at the time of the holiday, the employee shall not be eligible for statutory holiday pay.

Companies that offer their employees the opportunity to request the substitution of a standard public holiday to an alternate date that coincides with a religious holidays of their faith.

Substitute holidays must be scheduled for a day that is no later than three (3) months after the public holiday for which it was earned.  Employees of Companies may elect to take the substitute day off up to twelve (12) months after the public holiday; this must be agreed to and requested in writing by the employee prior to the public holiday occurring.  If an employee leaves prior to using the deferred public holiday, they will be paid for the holiday on their final pay.

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