UPDATED version of a blog we first posted in 2014:
The Manitoba government is following through on its promise to rename the Civic Holiday as Terry Fox Day, in honour of the heroic Canadian who was actually born in Winnipeg in 1958 (his family moved to BC in 1966). Premier Greg Selinger hopes that this change will be picked up Canada-wide.
Considering the fact that Terry Fox continually is placed near the top of any list of Canadian heroes, there would likely be a high level of support for this change. This would be in addition to long-standing Terry Fox Run that raises funds for cancer research each year in September and is about to mark its 35th anniversary.
However, a closer look at this particular holiday might make a name change rather complicated. It also reveals a number of oddities related to the day.
Hodgepodge Across the Country:
First off, the holiday on the first Monday of August is not observed across the entire country. It is a statutory holiday in B.C. (known as "B.C. Day"), Saskatchewan (known as "Saskatchewan Day"), New Brunswick (known as "New Brunswick Day"), Northwest Territories (known as "Civic Holiday") and Nunavut (also known as "Civic Holiday").
The day is an optional holiday in Ontario (generally known as "Civic Holiday," though there are local naming variations), Alberta (known as "Heritage Day), Manitoba (currently known as "Civic Holiday"), Nova Scotia (known as "Natal Day"), and PEI.
The holiday is not generally observed in the provinces of Quebec, Newfoundland & Labrador, and the Yukon, at least not on that date. "Regatta Day" is celebrated in NL on the first Wednesday of August and "Discovery Day," commemorating the start of the Klondike Gold Rush, is celebrated on the third Monday of August in the Yukon.
If it's optional, why do businesses in Ontario observe it?
Although Ontario's Employment Standards Act does not require employers in provincially-regulated industries to give their workers a paid day off, it is definitely common practice to do so. Not offering the holiday would probably lead to employee frustration and decreased morale. For federally-regulated industries (such as trucking, air transport, telephone and cable systems), many observe the federal Remembrance Day holiday (November 11th) on the first Monday of August in order to give employees another summer long weekend.
What's in a name?
Did you know that the Civic Holiday in Ontario goes by many different names, depending on where you live? Here is a list of some of the local names:
Considering the historical significance of many of the local names for this holiday, do you think there would be resistance to renaming the day "Terry Fox Day?"
Questions for HR managers:
Regardless of the strange facts about this holiday, we hope everyone enjoys the long weekend!
Remember that if you have any questions about this or any other HR topic, you can contact us at (519) 624-0800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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