The day of the funeral of Elizabeth II will be a federal holiday, says Justin Trudeau

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The day ofÉlisabeth II’s funeral will be a federal holiday, says Justin Trudeau

This does not will not be the case in Quebec, retorts the outgoing Prime Minister François Legault.

Such a measure could cost Canada's GDP between $2 and $4 billion (archives).

As the date of Queen Elizabeth's funeral approaches, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed Tuesday morning that this day will be a statutory holiday for federal employees.

A government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told CBC News that the decision to make September 19 a holiday for federally regulated businesses was being considered, among other options, and that x27;a decision would soon be made public.

Tuesday morning, on the sidelines of a press conference, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed that next Monday, the day of the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, will be an exceptional holiday for federal employees.

The Prime Ministers Office, however, made it clear that only federal government employees are affected, not all those under federal jurisdiction.

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However, 85-90% of Canadian workers will not be affected by such a decision, unless the provinces decide to follow suit with the federal government. According to Mr. Trudeau, discussions are underway for the provinces to do so.

We hope [provincial] governments don't go that route because the costs would be enormous, said Dan Kelly, president and CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, in an interview with CBC News.

Companies are already struggling to pay their employees and find enough people to operate. For those who can close, it would mean the loss of a day of productivity.

Dan Kelly, President and CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (archives)

For those that must remain open, such as a restaurant, cinema or similar business, this would mean that employees would receive additional pay for working, a salary that employers would have a hard time finding, he continues .

Mr. Kelly believes that even if a holiday cost the economy billions of dollars, small and medium-sized businesses would escape this impact if the provinces decided to let the federal government act alone, since most federally regulated businesses are big companies.

Bank of Montreal Chief Economist Douglas Porter estimates that the cost of an additional public holiday to the Canadian economy is 0.1 to 0.2% of annual GDP, or $2-4 billion. He clarified that this figure is only an estimate.

Mr. Porter believes that while the cost may seem high, it should not be a major factor in the government's decision. An opinion shared by the Monarchist League of Canada.

We would obviously like the government to announce a national holiday on [September 19], league spokesman Robert Finch told CBC News before the decision was confirmed by Mr. Trudeau.

I think that would be a huge sign of respect. I think it would give people an opportunity to watch the funeral and think about it in their own way and have a day off to do so.

While he says he understands Mr. Kelly's arguments, Mr. Finch also stresses that cost should not be the primary factor.

I think those are very concrete concerns, absolutely. You have to take that into account. But I also like to think that it's not an annual event, it's a one-time event, he recalls.

La Nouvelle- Zealand and Australia have also said they will institute a special public holiday to mark the occasion.

New Zealand will hold its Queen Elizabeth II Remembrance Day celebration on September 26. Australia will hold this unique national holiday on September 22.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said his government has contacted regional governments and that they all agree with this idea.

The federal government has already announced that Parliament will return for a day of sitting on September 15 to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II, and then sit again full time on September 20 instead of September 19, as planned.

In the UK, a public holiday has been announced for the date of the funeral, which will see the closure of government services and schools. Businesses, however, will not be required to close or compensate their employees.

Mr. Kelly says he hasn't received firm signals that any of the provincial governments are considering making the Queen's funeral a public holiday.

The Premier of Quebec, François Legault, has already announced that this day will not be a public holiday in Quebec. It will be a simple day of remembrance, he said.

For its part, the Prime Minister's Office ;Ontario, Doug Ford, says September 19 will instead be a provincial day of mourning. The people of Ontario will be able to observe a minute of silence at 1 p.m. that day.

Keeping September 19 as a working day, Finch said, could also be good news for monarchists.

The other side of the coin is that if it is not a public holiday, and if the students are at school, it provides an opportunity to learn more about the subject, which might not necessarily be the case if it is a public holiday, he said.


With information from Peter Zimonjic, CBC News , by Rémi Authier and Sébastien Bovet

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