Canada Day: What Are Your Rights?

In the News

Canada Day, July 1st, is a public holiday. Even if you have the day off, your employer must still pay you something. But how much? 


The rules mentioned in this article apply to employees covered by the Act Respecting Labour Standards.

These rules set out the minimum to which you’re entitled by law. Your employer could pay you more.

Compensation for a public holiday  

The law says your employer must compensate you even if you don’t work. This compensation is usually an amount of money. 

The compensation is equal to 1/20th of the wages you earned during the four complete work weeks leading up to the week of the holiday. Tips are included in your wages, but overtime pay is not. 

For most people who work full-time, this simply means a day’s worth of pay! For someone who works part-time, the amount is less than a full day’s pay. 

For employees paid by commission (in full or in part), the compensation equals 1/60th of the salary earned during the 12 weeks leading up to the holiday.  

The Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST or labour standards, pay equity and workplace health and safety board) has an online tool for calculating the amount you’re entitled to.   

Important! To be entitled to compensation, you must have worked on your usual workday before or after July 1st, unless you had your employer’s permission or a valid reason to be absent. 

If you must work on July 1st    

Your employer could require you to work on a public holiday. In this case, they must pay your regular wages for all the hours you worked. In addition, they must: 

  • pay you the compensation mentioned above, or  
  • give you a replacement holiday. This is not an unpaid holiday. Your employer must pay you the compensation mentioned above. You must take the replacement holiday during the three weeks before or after July 1st

To be entitled to this additional compensation or paid time off, you must have worked on your usual workday before or after July 1st, unless you had your employer’s permission or a valid reason to be absent 

These rules apply to part-time workers as well.