Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day Holiday : NS Labour and Advanced Education, Employment Rights


Remembrance Day is not a general paid holiday under the Labour Standards Code and it is not a designated closing day under the Retail Business Designated Day Closing Act. It has its own legislation, the Remembrance Day Act, which includes rules prohibiting many businesses from operating on November 11 and rules about holiday pay for employees who work on that day. 

Key Features of the Remembrance Day Act:

  • Remembrance Day must be observed on November 11.
  • Most grocery stores, big box stores and retail malls must close on November 11.
  • Employees who work on November 11 may be entitled to another day off with pay.  This benefit does not apply to all employees as some businesses are exempt from the Act.
  • Employees who do not work on November 11 do not get paid for the day unless the employer offers pay as an added benefit.
  • If November 11 falls on a Saturday or Sunday, some people (e.g., government employees, bank employees, students) may be off the following on Monday.


The Remembrance Day Act does not apply to the following types of businesses:

  • farming, fishing and aquaculture
  • Christmas tree operations
  • tree harvesting, logging and forest industry as defined by the Labour Standards Code
  • industrial undertakings as defined by the Labour Standards Code - e.g., mines, factories (including ship building), power generation, construction and inbound call centers.

This means that November 11 is a regular business day for these types of businesses.

Retail businesses

Many retail businesses must be closed on November 11; however, the following retail businesses are allowed to operate that day:

  • drug stores (but not those in department stores)
  • service stations
  • hospitality industry businesses
  • stores with no more than three people operating the store at any one time
  • bakeries baking products for sale on the next day

Note, other retail businesses can operate until 6 am on Remembrance Day to finish a regular shift that started the previous day and they can operate after 9:00 pm on Remembrance Day to begin a regular shift that continues into the next day. 

Non-retail businesses

The Act also prohibits non-retail businesses and services from operating on Remembrance Day, with a variety of exceptions including, for example, hospitals, policing, fire services, transportation, fish and meat packing, dairy production and direct delivery to customers, newspaper publishing, and brokers licensed under the Securities Act

Sale of Alcohol and Entertainment

The Act prohibits the sale of alcohol and performances (e.g., sports, entertainment) before 12 o’clock noon on Remembrance Day.

Period of Silence

Business and services that are permitted to operate on Remembrance Day must suspend operations for 3 minutes starting at 10:59 am on November 11. 

Holiday with pay rules

Employees of businesses to which the Act applies earn a day off with pay if:

  • they work on November 11 and
  • they are entitled to receive wages for at least 15 of the 30 calendar days immediately preceding November 11

Employees do not earn premium pay (e.g., time and a half) for the time worked on the holiday under the Remembrance Day Act.  However, employers may provide a greater benefit of premium pay under a contract of employment (e.g., a collective agreement). 

The Remembrance Day holiday rules are quite different than the general holiday rules in the Labour Standards Code.  For example, employees have to actually work on Remembrance Day to qualify for the holiday.  This is not the case for general holidays under the Code.  Another example, employers cannot substitute a different day than November 11 for the Remembrance Day holiday.  Employers can substitute different dates for the general holidays under the Code provided they meet certain criteria.  

Administering the Remembrance Day Rules

The Labour Standards Division is responsible for administering the holiday with pay provisions of the Act. If you have questions about these provisions, please call us at toll free 1-888-315-0110; or 424-4311.

The Department of Justice is responsible for administering the closing provisions of the Act.  Businesses with questions about whether they can operate on Remembrance Day should consult the Remembrance Day Act, and seek legal advice if necessary. 


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