The public holiday legislation your biz needs to know for National Indigenous Peoples Day



June is National Indigenous History Month, when each of us is invited to recognize and reflect upon the heritage and contributions of Indigenous Peoples from coast to coast. As the first day of the summer solstice, June 21 holds special spiritual significance for many Indigenous communities and, as such, has been designated as National Indigenous Peoples Day.

From a payroll compliance perspective, it’s also important that Canadian businesses understand the statutory holiday legislation surrounding National Indigenous Peoples Day. There are two territories that legislatively recognize June 21 as a public holiday.

We’ve broken down the legislation in more detail below:

Northwest Territories

National Indigenous Peoples Day is one of the 11 statutory holidays in the Northwest Territories Employment Standards Act.

Qualifying employees are entitled to a day off while receiving an average day’s pay. If an employee is required to work on that day, they must receive payment for their hours worked at a rate of time and a half; alternatively, their employer may offer them a paid day off to be taken another day.

For more information on statutory holidays and holiday pay in the Northwest Territories, visit:


National Indigenous Peoples Day is a general holiday in the Yukon.

Employees who qualify are entitled to a paid day off from work with regular pay. If an employee is required to work on a general holiday, they must receive payment for their hours worked at the overtime rate (time and a half); alternatively, they may be offered a paid day off to be taken another day.

If the holiday falls on a non-working day, the employee is entitled to a holiday on their next working day immediately following the holiday.

Visit the Government of Yukon’s page on the Employment Standards Act for more information on general holiday pay and legislation:


According to the Canada Labour Code, National Indigenous Peoples Day is not designated as a statutory holiday and thus remains a typical working day for federally-regulated businesses (banks, mail delivery services, and federal government offices, to name a few), unless specified otherwise in a workplace’s collective agreement.

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