Nova Scotia Heritage Day



What is Nova Scotia Heritage Day?

Nova Scotia Heritage Day is a new statutory holiday that has been added to the Labour Standards Code. There are now six statutory (paid) holidays for employees who qualify. Nova Scotia Heritage Day will fall on the third Monday in February each year, starting in February 2015.

Heritage Day is an annual reminder of our province's storied past and an opportunity to honour the remarkable people, places and events that have contributed to our unique heritage. To learn more about Heritage Day, as well as the cultural and historical contributions that will be honoured each year, please visit

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Why the third Monday in February?

Many other places also have holidays on the third Monday in February, including the U.S. where it’s President’s Day.

Adding the holiday on the third Monday in February ensures Nova Scotia businesses are in sync with other places that have a February holiday.

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How many other provinces have a February holiday?

Six. Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario, PEI, and British Columbia

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So what does a statutory holiday really mean? How will employees benefit exactly?


  • Employees who qualify for the holiday will get a day off with pay.
  • If they work on the holiday, they’ll get holiday pay, plus extra pay for the time actually worked on the holiday; OR they’ll get regular pay for the day plus another day off with pay.

See our holiday with pay page for more explanation.

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Does the new holiday apply to all employees?

It applies to most employees who work for provincially regulated businesses.  It does not apply to federal government employees or employees of federally regulated businesses like banks, airlines and railways. 

Also, the holiday pay provisions of the Labour Standards Code do not apply to unionized employees who work under collective agreements. However, many unionized employees will get the holiday because many collective agreements will automatically add a new statutory holiday.  In some cases, where the holiday is not automatically added to the collective agreement, employers will agree to add the holiday through a letter of understanding with the union. In other cases, the new holiday may be added when the employer and the union negotiate a new collective agreement.

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Will retail businesses have to close on the new holiday?

Retail businesses that have to close on holidays like Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, will have to close on the February holiday too.

Retail businesses that are allowed to be open on those days, like gas stations, restaurants, convenience stores, and drug stores, will be allowed to open on the February holiday.

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Will employees who work in retail have the right to refuse to work on the February holiday as they do with other holidays?

Yes, they will. Employees who work for retail businesses that are not allowed to open on holidays will have the right to refuse to work on the February holiday.  For example, if an employer wanted to schedule an employee to stock shelves or take inventory while the store was closed on the holiday, the employee could refuse to work.

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I have other questions

If you have any questions, please contact Labour Standards.

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Key Document


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