As most of us know, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, has declared the day of the Queen’s funeral—Monday, September 19—as a day of mourning and has granted federal staff a day off. He has encouraged federally regulated employers to provide a day off and has asked the provinces to do the same. The province of Saskatchewan has decided not to declare September 19 a provincial holiday or to grant provincial employees the day off.

Naturally, many members have asked the Member Resource Centre (MRC) if SEIU-West members will get the day off from their Employers to mourn and show respect to our late Queen.

We can say that some employers have agreed to provide the day off and some have not. Your employer will let you know what they have decided. Our biggest employer—the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA)—has decided it will not grant employees the day off. Staff are asked to recognize the significance of the Queen’s legacy and passing in their own ways, as they feel appropriate.

SEIU-West has obtained a legal opinion with respect to the applicability of collective agreement language around one-time declarations of a day off where the day in question is not proclaimed a holiday. Where a proclamation does not create a “holiday” and where there has been no amendment to the federal statutory holidays set out in section 166 of the Canada Labour Code; this makes September 19th distinguishable from federal holidays such as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The Union’s initial position was that if your employer has not declared the September 19 statutory holiday status before next Monday, then “obey now, grieve later.” Based on the further information we received, and the legal opinion, we do not believe grievances filed on the matter will be successful. So, please follow your posted and confirmed schedule and remember the Queen and her service to us.

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