Whether you are a business owner or an employee in Canada, it’s important to know how many working days there are in a year. Working days and working hours are regulated by Canada Labour Code.

Employers violating the code may be fined, so it’s crucial to know everything about working days, what holidays are non-working days, and how working hours are regulated.

What is the average number of working days per year in Canada?

The average number of working days per year in Canada is 251 days. This means that the average person works about five days a week. However, this varies depending on the industry and the province.

General holiday dates may change slightly from year to year; however, their number remains relatively constant. In 2022, there are 10 paid general holidays for federally regulated employees in Canada: 

HolidayCommon celebration date
New Year’s Day January 1
Good FridayThe Friday before Easter
Victoria DayThe last Monday preceding May 25
Canada DayJuly 1
Labour DayThe first Monday in September
National Day for Truth and ReconciliationSeptember 30
Thanksgiving DayThe second Monday in October
Remembrance DayNovember 11 at 11 a.m
Christmas DayDecember 25
Boxing DayDecember 26

In addition to general holidays, there are 105 weekend days (Saturdays and Sundays) in 2022. That gives us a total of 250 working days in 2022.

Let’s assume you are working an 8-hour day. That would give you an average of 2,000 working hours in 2022. Canadian provinces and territories may have their own sets of rules and regulations regarding working days. Hence, it is crucial to know the labor code and provincial laws of the province or territory where your business is located.

The number of work weeks in Canada per year

The work week in Canada usually starts on Monday and ends on Friday. It consists of five working days. There are a total of 52 weeks in a year. However, the work week may vary depending on the industry and the province.

In Alberta, for example, the work week is set at 44 hours, while in British Columbia, it is set at 40 hours. As for a month, there are 4 work weeks, making a total of about 20 working days.

Overtime laws in Canada

The overtime laws are quite similar across Canada. Every employee is entitled to 1.5 times their regular wage for working overtime, and this must be paid no later than the next pay period.

The overtime hours are usually worked beyond the standard working day or week. For example, if you normally work 8 hours a day, and you work 10 hours one day, you would be working 2 hours of overtime.

There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, some provinces as Manitoba, don’t compensate overtime work if you make twice the amount of the Manitoba Industrial Average Wage.

What are statutory holidays in Canada?

Statutory holidays are regulated by the Canadian government, and most businesses are required to give their employees a day off. Statutory holidays are also known as public holidays.

Different provinces in Canada have provincial statutory holidays in addition to national holidays. This is the main reason why the total number of working days in a year may vary depending on the province. 

For example, in Newfoundland and Labrador, Orangeman’s Day is a statutory holiday, while in other provinces, it is not. Depending on the province, statutory holidays may be referred to as general holidays or public holidays. 

Most businesses are not operating during statutory holidays, and many employees have the day off. On statutory holidays, there are usually no classes at schools and colleges, and government offices are also closed. Some businesses, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations, may be open on statutory holidays, but they usually have reduced hours.

Who are federally regulated employees?

Federally regulated employees are those who work in businesses under federal jurisdiction. The Canada Labour Code applies to most employers and employees under federal jurisdiction, including those working in:

  • banks,
  • federal Crown corporations
  • interprovincial and international transportation
  • port service
  • uranium mining
  • vital businesses and operations, and many others.

If you’re not sure whether your business is under federal or provincial/territorial jurisdiction, you can check The Canada Labour Code. About 10% of Canadians are working under the federal government. 

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How do Canadian provinces differ in working days?

Canada is a federal country comprising 10 provinces and 3 territories. The Constitution of Canada gives provincial legislatures the power to make laws regarding working days and hours. Therefore, the working days and hours may vary from one province to another.

Working days in Alberta

According to Alberta Employment Standards Rules, there are 9 general (statutory) holidays in this province. In addition, there 4 optional holidays in the province.

HolidayCelebration date
New Year’s DayJanuary 1
Family DayThe third Monday in February
Good FridayThe Friday before Easter
Victoria DayThe last Monday preceding May 25
Canada DayJuly 1
Labour DayThe first Monday in September
Thanksgiving DayThe second Monday in October
Remembrance DayNovember 11 at 11 a.m
Christmas DayDecember 25

As for National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Alberta hasn’t recognized it as a general holiday yet. Easter Monday, Heritage Day, and Boxing Day are also optional holidays in the province, which means that employers can decide whether to give their employees a day off or not.

Hence, there are 251 working days in a year in Alberta. However, in some organizations, working days may be reduced to 247 working days due to the optional holidays.

Working days in British Columbia

There are 10 statutory holidays in B.C. So, let’s take a look at these holidays and when they are celebrated.

HolidayCelebration date
New Year’s DayJanuary 1
Family DayThe third Monday in February
Good FridayThe Friday before Easter
Victoria DayThe last Monday preceding May 25
Canada DayJuly 1
B.C. DayThe first Monday of August
Labour DayThe first Monday in September
Thanksgiving DayThe second Monday in October
Remembrance DayNovember 11 at 11 a.m
Christmas DayDecember 25

Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and Boxing Day are not considered statutory in B.C., but some organizations may still provide their employees with a day off. This makes 250 working days in a year in B.C. for most employees, while federal employees may have one additional day off.

Easter Monday is a bank holiday, which means that most financial institutions are closed. Federal employees also get an additional floating holiday.

Grocery stores, most malls, and many businesses are open on the Easter long weekend. However, their working hours may be reduced. 

B.C. Day is unique to this province and is celebrated on the first Monday of August. Public transportation services, libraries, post offices, and government offices are usually closed on this day, but some stores and businesses remain open.

Working days in Manitoba

Manitoba has 8 general holidays. All employees in Manitoba receive holiday pay unless they are absent without having the employer’s permission.

HolidayCelebration date
New Year’s DayJanuary 1
Louis Riel DayThe 3rd Monday in February
Good FridayThe Friday before Easter
Victoria DayThe last Monday preceding May 25
Canada DayJuly 1
Labour DayThe first Monday in September
Thanksgiving DayThe second Monday in October
Christmas DayDecember 25

Additionally, there are 5 optional holidays in Manitoba, including Easter Sunday, Terry Fox Day, National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, Remembrance Day, and Boxing Day. While some employees may have a day off on optional holidays, organizations don’t have to pay for them.

That gives us a total of 252 working days in a year in Manitoba.

Louis Riel Day commemorates the contributions of Métis leader Louis Riel to the province. Leisure centres, libraries, and government offices are usually closed on this day. Most stores, as well as malls, remain open, but their working hours may be reduced.

During Remembrance Day, most industries in Manitoba are not allowed to operate. Some exceptions include health care, public transportation, food services, retail, and others.

Retail businesses can’t be open between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Terry Fox Day is a statutory holiday in Winnipeg, so administrative offices, public libraries, and public recreational facilities are closed.

Working days in New Brunswick

Employees in New Brunswick have 8 paid public holidays. These holidays are identified by the Employment Standards Act of New Brunswick.

HolidayCelebration date
New Year’s DayJanuary 1
Family DayThe third Monday in February
Good FridayThe Friday before Easter
Canada DayJuly 1
New Brunswick DayThe first Monday of August
Labour DayThe first Monday in September
Remembrance DayNovember 11 at 11 a.m
Christmas DayDecember 25

New Brunswick Day is celebrated on the first Monday of August. This holiday commemorates the arrival of the British settlers in the province. Most grocery and retail stores are closed on this day. However, some critical stores, such as pharmacies, remain open. Tourist attractions are usually open during the day.

Boxing Day, Victoria Day, and Thanksgiving Day are prescribed days of rest according to The Days of Rest Act, and many businesses are not allowed to be open on those days. Retail businesses are not allowed to operate unless they meet exemption criteria, such as being operated by not more than 3 people or having a liquor license. So, there are 252 working days in a year in New Brunswick.

Working days in Newfoundland and Labrador

This Canadian province has 14 paid holidays. So there are 246 working days in a year in Newfoundland and Labrador.

HolidayCelebration date
New Year’s DayJanuary 1
St. Patrick’s DayMarch 17
Good FridayThe Friday before Easter
St. George’s DayThe Monday closest to 23rd April
Victoria DayThe last Monday preceding May 25
June HolidayThe nearest Monday to June 24
Memorial DayJuly 1
Orangeman’s DayThe Monday closest to July 12th
Labour DayThe first Monday in September
National Day for Truth and ReconciliationSeptember 30
Thanksgiving DayThe second Monday in October
Armistice Day (Remembrance Day)November 11 at 11 a.m
Christmas DayDecember 25
Boxing DayDecember 26

The Shops Closing Act prohibits retail stores from operating on public paid holidays. Hence most businesses are closed on those days.

There are exceptions for stores that sell drugs, liquor, or gasoline, stores located in hotels, airports, and hospitals. It is also interesting that The Shops Closing Act recognizes only 10 days as holidays, including:

  • Easter Sunday
  • Labour Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Remembrance Day (November 11
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day
  • New Year’s Day,
  • Good Friday
  • Victoria Day
  • Memorial Day or Canada Day (July 1)

Working days in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia has only 6 paid holidays. Additionally, some employees can have a day off on Remembrance Day.

Employees who work during Remembrance Day in Nova Scotia in trade, business, or profession other than farming, fishing, aquaculture, forestry or an industrial undertaking, and Christmas tree operations, are entitled to an alternative day off with pay.

HolidayCelebration date
New Year’s DayJanuary 1
Nova Scotia Heritage DayThe third Monday in February
Good FridayThe Friday before Easter
Canada DayJuly 1
Labour DayThe first Monday in September
Christmas DayDecember 25

In addition to 6 paid holidays, there are 3 more days when certain retail businesses are not allowed to operate, including Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, and Boxing Day. Considering 6 paid holidays, there are 254 working days in a year in Nova Scotia.

Working days in Ontario

The number of statutory holidays in Ontario is regulated by the Employment Standards Act of Ontario. Employees who agree to work on public paid holidays in Ontario receive premium pay in addition to public holiday pay or can have regular pay and receive a substitute holiday.

HolidayCelebration date
New Year’s DayJanuary 1
Family DayThe third Monday in February
Good FridayThe Friday before Easter
Victoria DayThe last Monday preceding May 25
Canada DayJuly 1
Labour DayThe first Monday in September
Thanksgiving DayThe second Monday in October
Christmas DayDecember 25
Boxing DayDecember 26

In Toronto, the number of statutory holidays is a little bit higher and equals 12 due to 3 more holidays, including Easter Monday, Simcoe (Civic) Day, and Remembrance Day. In general, most people in Ontario have 251 working days.

Working days in Prince Edward Island

According to the Employment Standards Act of Prince Edward Island, employees can enjoy 8 paid holidays in the province. Salespersons and farm labourers are not entitled to holiday pay. So, there are 252 working days in the province.

HolidayCelebration date
New Year’s DayJanuary 1
Islander DayThe 3rd Monday in February
Good FridayThe Friday before Easter
Canada DayJuly 1
Labour DayThe first Monday in September
National Day for Truth and ReconciliationSeptember 30
Remembrance DayNovember 11 at 11 a.m
Christmas DayDecember 25

Working days in Quebec

There are 8 statutory holidays in Quebec. Employers may choose between Good Friday and Easter Monday as a paid holiday.

There are also 2 optional holidays: Remembrance Day and National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. Some employees can have a day off on these days if they are covered by the Canada Labour Code. The vast majority of employees in Quebec have 252 working days.

HolidayCelebration date
New Year’s DayJanuary 1
Good Friday The Friday before Easter
Easter MondayThe Monday after Easter Sunday
National Patriots’ DayThe Monday before May 25
Saint-Jean-Baptiste DayJune 24
Canada DayJuly 1
Labour DayThe first Monday in September
ThanksgivingThe second Monday in October
Christmas DayDecember 25

Working days in Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan has 10 statutory holidays. Some employees may work on statutory holidays in Saskatchewan and receive public holiday pay. This applies to employees working in educational institutions, nursing homes, commercial hog operations, well-drilling rigs, hospitals, hotels, and restaurants. 

HolidayCelebration date
New Year’s DayJanuary 1
Family DayThe third Monday in February
Good FridayThe Friday before Easter
Victoria DayThe last Monday preceding May 25
Canada DayJuly 1
Saskatchewan DayAugust 1
Labour DayThe first Monday in September
Thanksgiving DayThe second Monday in October
Remembrance DayNovember 11 at 11 a.m
Christmas DayDecember 25

Saskatchewan employees working on a holiday are entitled to holiday pay of at least time and a half if they worked their regular shift on that day or a minimum of 7 hours pay if they did not work their regular shift. If an employee works on a holiday, they are entitled to either the holiday with pay or another day off with pay. So, the number of working days in the province equals 249.

Working days table by province

Province# of working days# of working days with optional holidays
Alberta251247
British Columbia250246
Manitoba252247
New Brunswick252249
Newfoundland and Labrador246246
Nova Scotia254250
Ontario251248
Prince Edward Island252249
Quebec252250
Saskatchewan249246

The most working days in a year are in Nova Scotia, with 254 working days. The fewest working days are in Newfoundland and Labrador, with 246 working days.

Of course, these numbers can change depending on the occupation and working conditions. According to the table above, the average number of working days in a month in Canada varies from 20.5 to 21.5, or from 164 to 172 hours a month.

Sick days, parental leave, and vacation in Canada

The working days in Canada may vary depending on the province, but most employees are entitled to 5 personal/sick days and 2 weeks of vacation. After 5 years of working for the same employer, employees are entitled to 3 weeks of vacation.

The paid vacation is regulated by the Employment Standards Act in each province. All provinces provide at least 2 weeks of paid vacation, but Saskatchewan gives 3 weeks of paid vacation.

In addition to paid vacation, most employers offer their employees holiday pay. This means that employees are paid their regular wage for working on a holiday, even if they don’t work their regular shifts. In general, holiday pay is 1/20th of the employee’s total wages for the 4 weeks prior to the holiday.

The Canadian government also offers paid parental leave for parents who have recently had or adopted a child. Parental leave is typically offered for a period of up to 35 weeks and is up to $638 a week.

Frequently asked questions about working days in Canada

What is the average number of working days in a month in Canada?

The average number of working days in a month in Canada is 20.5-21.5, depending on the province.

How many working days are there in a year in Ontario?

Most people in Ontario have 251 working days. Some employees may have 247 working days due to optional holidays.

How many working days are there in a year in Quebec?

There are 252 working days in a year in Quebec. The number of working days can be reduced in some organizations to 250 because of optional holidays.

How many working days are there in a year in BC?

There are 250 working days in BC. If an organization provides days off on optional holidays, the number of working days can be reduced to 246.


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