The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau has averred that Monday, Sep. 19, the day of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, will be a federal holiday and a national day of mourning in the country.
Recall that British officials had earlier announced that the Queen’s funeral would take place at Westminster Abbey on Sept. 19.
“We have … chosen to move forward with a federal holiday on Monday [Sept. 19],” Trudeau said in New Brunswick, during a Liberal caucus retreat.
Trudeau added that his government is working to coordinate with the provinces and territories.
“We will be working with the provinces and the territories to try and see that we’re aligned on this. There are still a few details to be worked out, but declaring an opportunity for Canadians to mourn on Monday is going to be important.”
It was clarified that the federal holiday will be for federal employees but it will be up to provincial and territorial governments to declare the holiday for the remaining workers.
Also, the Labour Minister’s office clarified that federally regulated private companies, like airlines or telecoms, are encouraged to give employees the day off but it is not mandatory.
In a swift reaction, the President of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), Dan Kelly urged provinces not to make next Monday a statutory holiday, saying it would cost the economy billions of dollars.
He said “It would cost the economy billions of dollars if every province were to give every single employee a day off. That in terms of lost productivity or additional pay in lieu of overtime would be significant for small firms that are already dealing with an incredible labor shortage on top of two years of limited income”.
The CFIB President, however, recommended that Canada should be following the U.K.’s lead in declaring it a holiday but not mandating that employers must close or pay extra if they are required to stay open.
While the federal government picks up the tab for civil servants who have the day off, Kelly said other businesses would have the whole cost borne on them.
“If Ontario decides to make this a statutory holiday, other businesses would be just shut down altogether and they would lose the day of productivity at a critical time.”
Reacting to the development, Quebec Premier François Legault stated that while the day will be commemorated, it will not be a statutory holiday in the province and he will continue campaigning in the provincial election.
Ontario, Saskatchewan and Manitoba also have decided not declare Sept. 19 a statutory holiday.
Meanwhile, Nova Scotia, N.B., P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador have disclosed that they will join the federal government in making Sept. 19 a provincial holiday.
In a statement, B.C declared the day a holiday for public sector employees, while private sector employers being are encouraged to mark the day in a way that is “appropriate for their employees”.
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