Many Ontario employees will be surprised to learn that the Civic Holiday on the first Monday of August is not a statutory holiday in Ontario.  If your private sector workplace offers the day off, it is a perk, not a requirement.  The Ontario Employment Standards Act is silent on this holiday, and while many collective agreements and employment contracts may recognize the day, it is a negotiated extra day, not one of the 9 statutory holidays set out in the Ontario ESA.

Having said that, Ontario seems to widely recognize the Civic Holiday, but that is more of a collective desire to have a long weekend between Canada Day on July 1 and Labour Day at the beginning of September.

For the other provinces and territories, only British Columbia, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, the North West Territories and Nunavut officially recognize the Civic Holiday as a statutory holiday.

Not Just A Camping Holiday

While I have always considered this Monday one of the more important Camping Holidays of the season, according to Wikipedia (the source of all wisdom), the Civic Holiday in fact has a long history, tracing back to a holiday to mark the abolition of slavery in the British Empire in 1834.  In Toronto, “Simcoe Day” traces back to a municipal holiday in honour of Lord Simcoe, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, the colonial governor who is credited for ending slavery before Queen Victoria did, setting up our judicial system, creating Yonge Street, and setting up the Royal Agricultural Fair.  (What have you done lately?)

These are rather notable roots that make the Civic Holiday that much more gratifying in the middle of our particularly hot and sunny Canadian summer.