'Deeply unfair': Business groups against statutory holiday for Queen's funeral

Pallbearers from the Queen's Colour Squadron (63 Squadron RAF Regiment) carry the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II to the Royal Hearse having removed it from the C-17 at the Royal Air Force Northolt airbase on September 13, 2022, before it is taken to Buckingham Palace, to rest in the Bow Room. - Mourners in Edinburgh filed past the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II through the night, before the monarch's coffin returns to London to Lie in State ahead of her funeral on September 19. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth / POOL / AFP) (Photo by KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Business lobby groups are urging provincial governments not to declare Monday a paid holiday in honour of the Queen's funeral, saying it would be detrimental to businesses.

Canada will mark the death of Queen Elizabeth II with a national holiday and day of mourning on Sept. 19, the day of the monarch's funeral, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a press conference on Tuesday.

That means Monday will be a holiday for federal government employees. Canada's Minister of Labour Seamus O'Regan said on Twitter that federally regulated employees, such as those in the banking and airline sectors, are welcome to follow suit "but they are not required to do so." It will be up to provincial and territorial governments to determine whether they will declare Monday a holiday for other workplaces and schools.

CFIB president Dan Kelly urged provincial governments not to declare Monday a statutory holiday, saying it would be "extremely costly."

"With a six-day notice, it would be deeply unfair for small businesses and cost the economy billions," Kelly said in a statement.

"For many small businesses, such as restaurants, hotels and movie theatres, this would mean paying more in order to stay open. Small businesses are already struggling with labour shortages and requiring them to close or pay time and a half to their employees with no notice would be extremely costly or result in a day's lost productivity."

The Retail Council of Canada (RCC) also urged provinces to ensure that retail closures will not be mandated as part of the holiday.

"Doing so would present a significant cost and short-notice challenge to employers, particularly during a time in which many businesses are still working hard to get their operations back to pre-pandemic levels," RCC spokeswoman Michelle Wasylyshen said in a statement.

Both the CFIB and RCC say the provinces and territories should follow the United Kingdom's approach, which declared Sept. 19 a national bank holiday, meaning workers are not entitled to time off.

With files from The Canadian Press

Alicja Siekierska is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow her on Twitter @alicjawithaj.

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