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Human ResourcesJanuary 1, 2021by Supriya Sharma2021 Statutory Holidays in Ontario – An Employer Reference

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*This blog was updated on August 17, 2021.

9 Ontario Statutory Holidays in 2021 Applicable to Employers

In Ontario, there are nine public holidays that employers need to know. It is an employer’s obligation to provide employees the appropriate statutory holiday entitlement and pay, as defined by the Employment Standards Act (ESA). Time off and compensation are applicable to the following statutory holidays in Ontario:

  1. New Year’s Day: Friday, January 1, 2021
  2. Family Day: Monday, February 15, 2021
  3. Good Friday: Friday, April 2, 2021
  4. Victoria Day: Monday, May 24, 2021
  5. Canada Day: Thursday, July 1, 2021
  6.  Labour Day: Monday, September 6, 2021
  7. Thanksgiving Day: Monday, October 11, 2021
  8. Christmas Day: Saturday, December 25, 2021
  9. Boxing Day: Sunday, December 26, 2021

In addition to these nine holidays, employers in Ontario should also be aware of Remembrance Day (November 11, 2021) and Civic Holiday (August 2, 2021, or the first Monday in August). Remembrance Day is not a statutory holiday in Ontario, which is controversial and some employers still give employees the day off. Civic Holiday is an optional holiday and provincially regulated employers are not required to give it off, although many do. It is also important that employers know that Ontario is the only province where Boxing Day is a statutory holiday, which may cause confusion for a nation-wide companies.

Quick facts about Ontario statutory holidays 2021: Entitlement and pay for stat holidays 
  • Employee rights: An employee is generally entitled to take all statutory holidays off work, and be paid public holiday pay.
  • Compensation: Public Holiday pay is calculated by an employee’s regular wage earned plus vacation pay payable, divided by 20.  This means, if an employee has earned $1000.00 in the four weeks prior to the statutory holiday, the compensation would equal to $50.00
  • Premium pay: If an employee agrees to work on a statutory public holiday with written consent, compensation can be made as holiday pay plus premium pay for all hours worked on the public holiday; this does not allow another day off
  • Substitute holiday pay: If an employee agrees to work on a statutory public holiday with written consent, compensation can be made as regular wage pay for all hours worked on a public holiday; this allows another day off in lieu, with holiday pay
  • Vacation leave: Statutory public holiday days are in addition to vacation time off

It is important to note that the rate for statutory holidays is only applicable to employees having worked four work weeks prior to the work week to which the holiday occurs. However, with reasonable cause, an employee is legally allowed to be absent from work and still qualify for public holiday entitlements. Regular wages do not include overtime or premium pay.

Does your employee handbook include a policy for statutory holiday time off?

Ask Peninsula for a holiday pay and entitlement policy that’s custom-tailored to your business. Call our complimentary 24-hour employer advice helpline at 1 (833) 247-3652 for immediate access to our library of resources. We’ve got you covered.