The Canadian province of New Brunswick has a public holiday celebrating the birthday of Queen Victoria, but it is not recognized in Canada or the United States.
This may be confusing and lead to questions as to whether this holiday is a paid day off. Victoria Day, also called Queens Day in New Brunswick, is not recognized by Canada or the United States as a public holiday that are legally mandated for employers and employees.
Mainly because it’s not internationally endorsed, many provinces maintain that their public holidays are regulated at an individual province level. As such, while Christmas Day would be celebrated on December 25th in every province except Alberta and Saskatchewan due to time zone differences between eastern regions of Canada and US states on the same day. Neither Canada nor the United States has a federal law mandating any type of days off for public holidays.
New Brunswick’s public holiday is not a “statutory holiday” under New Brunswick labour law, and therefore employment standards do not apply to it.
The minimum standards for wages in New Brunswick are set out by the Wage Regulation and Orders of the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour. Employees should consult this publication before making complaints under the Employment Standards Act.
Not all holidays celebrated in Canada are registered on Employment and Social Development Canada’s list of statutory holidays (see Public holidays in Canada). This list is meant to be inclusive, but it is not exhaustive.
Victoria Day originated as a holiday in the Canadian province of Ontario to celebrate the birthday of Queen Victoria on May 24, 1819. It was renamed “Loyalty Day” after the First World War in order to remove those connotations. The tradition of having a holiday on this date continued in Ontario and New Brunswick, but it became less popular over time and was then abolished as a paid public holiday in Ontario in 1970. In 1987, Canadians who wanted to keep celebrating Queens day formed a private organization called “The Loyalist City Society”, which has been holding celebrations every year since then on May 24th.
In 1989, New Brunswick’s provincial government decided to reinstate Victoria Day as the public holiday. Its first celebration was on May 24, 1990. However, this decision was not universal backed by all New Brunswickers; in fact, it was quite controversial at the time. In particular, many Acadians did not want to celebrate this holiday because they felt that it was not relevant to them. This view is still held by some today. However, Victoria Day has been accepted and embraced by a majority of New Brunswickers over time and it is now widely celebrated every year in both official languages of the province: French and English.
what’s open on Victoria Day in New Brunswick?
According to the Tourism Bureau of New Brunswick, there are approximately 4000 businesses open on Victoria Day across the province. However, public institutions and other public services will be closed in both official languages of New Brunswick:
In these institutions and public services, employees may take paid leave or unpaid leave depending on their needs. The following is a list of those institutions throughout the province that will be closed on Victoria Day.
Victoria Day is not a statutory holiday under New Brunswick’s employment standards legislation. This means it isn’t mandatory for employers to grant paid time off to their employees.