Statutory Holidays & Pay in Ontario 2022 – An Employee Reference

Statutory Holidays Ontario and Statutory Holiday Pay

There are 9 statutory holidays in Ontario in 2022 for provincially regulated employees (90% of employees). Statutory holidays are also known as public holidays. These days are officially recognized by the provincial government as a holiday. 

Most employees in Ontario are entitled to take the day off on a statutory holiday and receive statutory holiday pay. Employees who work on a statutory holiday are entitled to statutory holiday pay plus premium pay, or they can opt to receive their regular wages for all hours worked on the public holiday plus a substitute holiday for which they must be paid statutory holiday pay.

Not being paid the correct statutory holiday pay and entitlements is a violation of the Ontario Employment Standards Act (ESA) and can lead to fines and penalties. It is important that your employer has a stat holiday policy outlining your holiday pay.

If you are a federally regulated employee and live in Ontario, you are entitled to federal public holidays. Federal public holidays and provincial public holidays are not always the same.

9 Ontario Statutory Holidays in 2022 Applicable to Provincial Employees

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

  1. New Year’s Day: Saturday, January 1, 2022
  2. Family Day: Monday, February 21, 2022
  3. Good Friday: Friday, April 15, 2022
  4. Victoria Day: Monday, May 23, 2022
  5. Canada Day: Friday, July 1, 2022
  6.  Labour Day: Monday, September 5, 2022
  7. Thanksgiving Day: Monday, October 10, 2022
  8. Christmas Day: Sunday, December 25, 2022
  9. Boxing Day: Monday, December 26, 2022. Ontario is the only province in Canada where Boxing Day is a statutory holiday for provincially regulated employees.

Employees in Ontario who are provincially regulated should be aware of the following:

  • Remembrance Day (November 11, 2022) is not a statutory holiday for provincial employees in Ontario, which is controversial, and some employers still give employees the day off.
  • Civic Holiday (August 1, 2022, or the first Monday in August) is an optional holiday, and provincially regulated employers are not required to give it off, although many do.

Employers may choose to give employees a day off even if they are not required to. For instance, while Civic Holiday is not a statutory holiday in Ontario, many employers choose to give their employees the day off anyway. 

12 Statutory Holidays in 2022 Applicable to Federally Regulated Employees in Ontario

Federally regulated employees who live in Ontario are entitled to federal public holidays. Federal public holidays and provincial public holidays are not always the same. The designated paid holidays for federal employees are:

  1. New Year’s Day: Saturday, January 1, 2022
  2. Good Friday: Friday, April 15, 2022
  3. Easter Monday: Monday, April 18, 2022
  4. Victoria Day: Monday, May 23, 2022
  5. Canada Day: Friday, July 1, 2022
  6.  Labour Day: Monday, September 5, 2022
  7. Day of Mourning: Monday, September 19, 2022
  8. National Day for Truth and Reconciliation: Friday, September 30, 2022
  9. Thanksgiving Day: Monday, October 10, 2022
  10. Remembrance Day: Friday, November 11, 2022
  11. Christmas Day: Sunday, December 25, 2022
  12. Boxing Day: Monday, December 26, 2022
  13. Provincial or civic holiday in the area where you are employed

Is September 19 a national holiday in Canada?

Yes. The government of Canada has declared September 19 a federal holiday and a day of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II. September 19 will be a holiday for federal government employees.

Is September 19 a statutory holiday in Ontario?

No. September 19 is not a provincial statutory holiday in Ontario under the Employment Standards Act, 2000. Instead, the province will mark the day of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral as a provincial Day of Mourning.

What is Statutory Holiday Pay or Public Holiday Pay?

Statutory Holiday Pay is the most common way employees refer to the pay on a Statutory Holiday. Sometimes they will also use the term Public Holiday Pay.

Most Ontario employees are entitled to statutory holiday pay for the 9 holidays listed above. This is different than vacation pay. Check out Vacation Pay in Ontario: What You Need to Know for information on vacation pay in Ontario. 

Do I qualify for Statutory Holiday Pay or Public Holiday Pay?

Not all Ontario employees will receive public holiday pay. Whether a worker receives public holiday pay will depend on whether they qualify for public holiday pay. Generally, employees qualify for public holiday pay unless: 

  1. they fail to fulfill the “Last and First Rule”, or 
  2. they fail to work the entire shift they agreed to work or were required to work on the public holiday. 

According to the “Last and First Rule”, an employee must work their “last regularly scheduled day of work before the public holiday” and the “first regularly scheduled day of work after the public holiday”. Therefore, to receive public holiday pay, an employee would be required to work their first and last scheduled shift before and after the statutory holiday. 

For example, if an employee ordinarily works Monday to Friday and a public holiday falls on a Wednesday, the employee must work the Tuesday before and the Thursday after to qualify for public holiday pay. 

However, even if an employee does not qualify for public holiday pay, they should still receive premium pay for any time worked. 

What is Premium Pay?

Premium pay is an employee’s entitlement to 1.5 times their regular rate for every hour worked. Premium pay is given when an employee works on a public holiday. 

For example:

John makes $15 an hour working as a server. He is scheduled to work an eight-hour shift on Family Day. If it were any average day, John would make $120 for his shift. However, because it is a statutory holiday, he will make $180. His earnings are calculated as follows:

  • Regular wage: $15/hour
  • Premium pay: $15/hour x 1.5 = $22.50/hour
  • Total wages earned: $22.50 x 8 hours = $180

What is a Substitute Holiday?

A substitute holiday is a working day that is designated as a substitute to replace a public holiday. On a designated substitute holiday, the employee is entitled to receive public holiday pay.  This is often used when a public holiday takes place during an employee’s vacation period. The substitute holiday must be taken no more than three months after the actual public holiday. 

Special Rules for Certain Industries: Hotels, Restaurants and More 

Some industries and professions have special rules that apply to Statutory Holidays in Ontario. These include:

  • Hotels, motels and tourist resorts;
  • Restaurants and taverns;
  • Hospitals and nursing homes;
  • Continuous operations (which are operations, or parts of operations, that do not stop or close more than once a week – such as an oil refinery, alarm-monitoring company or the games part of a casino if the games tables are open around the clock).

If an employee in one of these industries is required to work on a statutory holiday and fails to do so with reasonable cause, they are entitled to public holiday pay or a substitute holiday with public holiday pay. Similarly, if an employee is required to work on a public holiday but fails with reasonable cause to work some of the hours they are scheduled to work, they are entitled to either their regular rate plus a substitute holiday with pay or public holiday pay for the holiday and premium pay for every hour worked. For either option, the employer decides which will apply. 

However, if an employee in these industries is required to work on a public holiday and fails to do so without reasonable cause, they are only entitled to premium pay for every hour worked on the public holiday but have no right to substitute holiday or public holiday pay.

If an employee works in any of these special industries, they may be required to work on a public holiday if it falls on a day that they would typically work. However, this is subject to any employment contract and religious observances under the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Employees Should Receive Holiday Pay When Terminated

Upon termination, the employer must provide the employee with their public holiday pay. For example, if an employee were terminated before they could take their substitute holiday, the employer would be obligated to compensate the employee.

Speak to an Employment Lawyer

If you believe you have been wrongfully denied your statutory holiday pay in Ontario, consider speaking with an employment lawyer. The lawyers at Monkhouse Law have experience pursuing unpaid or underpaid holiday pay, including class actions, and can help ensure you do not miss out on any of your legal entitlements. 

Monkhouse Law is an employment law firm located in Toronto focusing on workers’ issues. Give us a call at 416-907-9249 or fill out this quick form. We offer a free 30-minute phone consultation.

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