Public Holidays in Ontario Employers Should Know About

The holiday season is quickly approaching, and employers might soon have workers asking them which days they get off. There are nine official public holidays in Ontario, in which employees are either entitled to take off or receive paid public holiday pay. Employers can offer additional days off, but here are the public holidays that workers are entitled to have off.


Public Holidays

Public holidays, also known as statutory holidays or stat holidays, are national, cultural, and religious holidays that Canada’s government has determined people should be off of work. Some of these vary by province, but in Ontario, there are nine recognized public holidays.


  • New Year’s Day (Jan 1)
  • Family Day (Third Monday in Feb.)
  • Good Friday (Friday before Easter)
  • Victoria Day (Second to last Monday in May)
  • Canada Day (July 1)
  • Labour Day (First Monday of Sept)
  • Thanksgiving Day (Second Monday of October)
  • Christmas Day (Dec 25)
  • Boxing Day (Dec 26)


Additional Holidays

In addition to the nine official holidays, the country celebrates a few extra holidays. On these days, the majority of businesses close down, and many employers opt to give employees the day off, however, it is not required.


These include:

  • Remembrance Day (Nov 11)
  • Civic holiday (First Monday of Aug)
  • Easter Monday (Monday after Easter)


Holiday Pay

Not all businesses are able to close down for holidays. When employees are required to work on public holidays, most are eligible for public holiday pay. Employers are responsible for ensuring they are calculating and paying the appropriate amount of holiday pay. Some industries and employees are exempt from holiday pay, and companies should know if their workers are or not.


Substitute Holiday

If a business is open only on Monday to Friday and a holiday falls on a weekend, then employers are required to provide an additional day off still. In Ontario, the substitute holiday can be observed either the day before or after the public holiday.


Alternatively, if an employee and employer both agree, instead of receiving the public holiday off or accepting public holiday pay, an employee can take a substitute holiday. This is when workers accept another working day off that is designed to replace a public holiday.


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