Stat holidays ("stat" is short-form for "statutory") in Canada are those days deemed by either the federal or provincial government to be a holiday for the general population. On stat holidays, employees are entitled to a day off with pay.
If employees do not get the day off (for example, tourist attractions, restaurants and some popular shopping malls may stay open on stat holiday), then they may be entitled to pay at a higher rate.
Stat holidays occur on both a federal, or nationwide, level and on a provincial level; thus, Canadian provinces do not necessarily share all the same stat holidays.
Each stat holiday in Canada is generally associated with particular themes and activities. For example, Victoria Day, a unique Canadian celebration, represents the start of the summer season and Canadians tend to garden or go camping. Fireworks are part of the fun, as they are on other summer stat holidays.
Canada Day gets the country wearing its national pride in the form of red and white clothing and Labour Day is when we bid adieu to the summer and send the kids off to school. Parades are common for both of these holidays as well.
Thanksgiving is celebrated earlier than in the United States, giving us some time to breath before Christmas hits. Like our American friends, we give thanks by stuffing ourselves silly.
The following holidays are celebrated across Canada and appear with their 2016 and 2017 dates.
- New Year's Day - Friday, Jan. 1, 2016 / Sunday, Jan , 2017
- Good Friday - Friday, March 25, 2016 / Friday, April 14, 2017 (Easter Monday is the stat holiday in Quebec. Easter Sunday and Monday are not holidays nationwide - see Easter in Canada)
- Victoria Day - Monday, May 23, 2016 / Monday, May 22, 2017 (National Patriots' Day in Quebec; optional in Maritime provinces, Newfoundland)
- Canada Day - Friday, July 1, 2016 / Saturday, July 1, 2017
- August Civic Holiday - Monday, August 1, 2016 / Monday, August 7, 2017 (optional in some provinces)
Boxing Day (December 26) is not a stat holiday, except in Manitoba. Retailers are open, but most other people have the day off across the country.
March Break is a week or two weeks holiday given to students in grades kindergarten to 12 and occurs at some point in March.