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Labour Day in Canada

Labour Day in Canada is celebrated on the first Monday of September. It originally gave workers the chance to campaign for better working conditions or pay. The day is now part of a long weekend for many Canadians.

Labour Day is a time when many Canadians can relax and unwind from work or studies.
Labour Day is a time when many Canadians can relax and unwind from work or studies.

What do people do?

Traditionally, Labour Day was an occasion to campaign for and celebrate workers' rights during parades and picnics organized by trade unions. These still play a role in Labour Day for some Canadians, but many people see the first Monday in September as an opportunity to take a late summer trip, perhaps to their country cottage, or enjoy the company of family or friends at picnics, fairs, festivals and fireworks displays. For teenagers and other students, the Labour Day weekend is the last chance to celebrate with a party or to go on a trip before school re-opens for the new academic year.

Canadian football fans may spend a large proportion of the weekend watching the Labour Day Classic matches live or on television. The Labour Day Classic consists of three games between high ranking teams in the Canadian Football League. One match is played on the Sunday before Labour Day and two on Labour Day.

Public life

Post offices, many businesses, and many organizations are closed on Labour Day in Canada. Schools and other educational establishments are also closed, as Labour Day falls at the end of the summer holiday period. Many public transport services run to a reduced or "Sunday" service, although others may not run at all. There may be some local disruption to traffic around parades, particularly in Toronto, and some congestion on highways and at airports as people return form late summer vacations or trips.


The origins of Labour Day can be traced back to April 15, 1872, when the Toronto Trades Assembly organized Canada's first significant demonstration for worker's rights. The aim of the demonstration was to release the 24 leaders of the Toronto Typographical Union who were imprisoned for striking to campaign for a nine-hour working day. At this time, trade unions were still illegal and striking was seen as a criminal conspiracy to disrupt trade. In spite of this, the Toronto Trades Assembly was already a significant organization and encouraged workers to form trade unions, mediated in disputes between employers and employees and signaled the mistreatment of workers.

There was enormous public support for the parade and the authorities could no longer deny the important role that the trade unions had to play in the emerging Canadian society. A few months later, a similar parade was organized in Ottawa and passed the house of Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John Macdonald. Later in the day, he appeared before the gathering and promised to repeal all Canadian laws against trade unions. This happened in the same year and eventually led to the founding of the Canadian Labour Congress in 1883.

Labour Day was originally celebrated in the spring but it was moved to the fall after 1894. A similar holiday, Labor Day is held on the same day in the United States of America. Canadian trade unions are proud that this holiday was inspired by their efforts to improve workers' rights. Many countries have a holiday to celebrate workers' rights on or around May 1.

About Labour Day in other countries

Read more about Labour Day.

Labour Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is a statutory holiday
MonSep 62010Labour DayNational holidayAll
MonSep 52011Labour DayNational holidayAll
MonSep 32012Labour DayNational holidayAll
MonSep 22013Labour DayNational holidayAll
MonSep 12014Labour DayNational holidayAll
MonSep 72015Labour DayNational holidayAll
MonSep 52016Labour DayNational holidayAll
MonSep 42017Labour DayNational holidayAll
MonSep 32018Labour DayNational holidayAll
MonSep 22019Labour DayNational holidayAll
MonSep 72020Labour DayNational holidayAll

Quick Facts

Labour Day in Canada is a holiday to campaign for workers' rights. It celebrates the achievements of these rights.

Labour Day 2015

Monday, September 7, 2015

Labour Day 2016

Monday, September 5, 2016


Name in other languages

Labour DayEnglish
La fête du TravailFrench
Tag der ArbeitGerman

List of dates for other years

Other holidays in September 2015 in Canada

Fun Holiday on September 7, 2015

Other Calendars

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