As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared Monday September 19 to be a federal public holiday and a national day of mourning as Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral would take place in the UK, Labor Minister Seamus O’Regan said later clarified that the designation only applies to federal government employees.
The Prime Minister’s comments at a press conference on Tuesday morning have many wondering if they will have a day off next week, as provinces take a piecemeal approach to whether schools and venues will be closed in their jurisdictions.
Trudeau declared Monday to be a “federal statutory holiday.” It will apply to federal government employees, but not automatically to those working in federally regulated industries – like banks, airlines, post offices and crown corporations, the labor minister later tweeted. Seamus O’Regan.
“Federally regulated employers are encouraged to follow suit, but are not required to do so,” O’Regan wrote.
A press release clarified that statutory holidays can only be granted by legislation and that provinces and territories will determine how the Day of Mourning will be observed in their regions.
PROVINCES AND TERRITORIES
Quebec Premier Francois Legault told reporters on Tuesday that the day of the Queen’s funeral will be a day of remembrance, but not a public holiday in the province. He added that he would continue his campaign before Quebeckers go to the polls on October 3.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford also said there would be no holiday in his province, opting instead for a provincial “day of mourning” with a moment of silence at 1 p.m.
“It will give all Ontarians an opportunity to reflect on the remarkable life of Queen Elizabeth II and her unwavering commitment to service and duty,” he wrote in a statement. “It also allows students to be at school to learn about the many contributions the Queen has made to the people of Ontario, Canada and across the Commonwealth, as well as the accession of King Charles III. “
On the East Coast, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick will have a one-off Monday.
British Columbia Premier John Horgan said the province will close public schools, post-secondary institutions and most crown corporations on Monday in honor of Queen Elizabeth II.
“Our government will follow the lead of the federal government and join other provinces in observing the National Day of Mourning to mark the Queen’s funeral,” he said in a press release.
“We encourage private sector employers to find a way to recognize or reflect on the day in a way that is appropriate for their employees.”
Saskatchewan has confirmed that although its government proclaims September 19 a day in honor of Queen Elizabeth II, it will not designate Monday as a public holiday for the province.
Manitoba will close non-essential government services and offices for the day Monday, but schools and daycares will remain open and operate as usual.
“I encourage all Manitobans to take a moment to reflect on Her late Majesty’s special relationship with our province and her innumerable contributions to our country and the Commonwealth as a whole,” Premier Heather Stefanson said in a statement. Tuesday press release. “Queen Elizabeth II had a remarkable reign and an unwavering commitment to service and duty. May she rest in peace.”
The release adds that schools are encouraged to observe a minute of silence on Monday and that a 21-gun salute will take place on the south field of the Manitoba Legislative Building in conjunction with the memorial service at Ottawa.
Other provinces and territories have yet to say whether they will designate the day as a statutory holiday.
“We will work with the provinces and territories to try to see that we are aligned on that,” Trudeau said at a news conference in New Brunswick on Tuesday. “There are still a few details to work out, but it will be important to declare an occasion for Canadians to grieve on Monday.”
“So, for our part, we will let federal employees know that Monday will be a day of mourning,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business is calling on provinces not to make Monday a statutory holiday because it would be “deeply unfair to small businesses” on such short notice.
“Small businesses are already struggling with labor shortages and forcing them to close or pay their time-and-a-half employees without notice would be extremely costly or result in a day’s lost productivity,” wrote CFIB President Dan Kelly in a statement released Tuesday.
CTVNews.ca asked the Privy Council Office if September 19 will be a recurring federal holiday, or if it will be a one-time event for the Queen’s state funeral and other memorial events, and has not yet received a response.
Both Trudeau and Governor General Mary Simon are due to travel to the UK for the funeral, but the Prime Minister said details of who would join them were still being sorted out. He said the federal government was in talks with the UK government and opposition leaders’ offices to decide who would make up the delegation of Canadian officials.
Other Commonwealth countries have already announced public holidays to commemorate the Queen’s passing: the UK will have a public holiday on Monday for the funeral, marking the last day of the 10 Days of Mourning, and Australia and New Zealand will have public holidays on September 22. and 26 respectively.
Canada is still in the midst of its official mourning period for the country’s longest-reigning monarch, with several memorial events planned in Ottawa following Monday’s funeral. There will be an invitation-only memorial service at Christ Church Cathedral, with government officials, dignitaries and other guests, as well as a parade with the Canadian Armed Forces and RCMP, a 96-gun salute and a CF-18 fighter jet overhead.
MPs will return to Ottawa earlier than scheduled for a “special session” to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday, September 15.
This special reminder from the House of Commons comes ahead of the opening of the fall sitting, which was postponed a day to September 20 to accommodate Canadian funerals and memorials.
With files from Tom Yun and Rachel Aiello of CTVNews.ca