The B.C. government will observe the national day of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II next week and keep schools closed across the province.
Premier John Horgan made the announcement Tuesday afternoon, hours after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed there would be a federal holiday on Sept. 19 marking the day of the Queen’s funeral in the U.K.
“Our government will follow the lead of the federal government and join with other provinces in observing the national day of mourning,” Horgan said in a statement.
“We have advised provincial public-sector employers to honour this day in recognition of the obligations around federal holidays in the vast majority of provincial collective agreements.”
Most Crown corporations will be closed, along with all public schools from kindergarten through post-secondary.
Horgan said the B.C. government is also encouraging private-sector businesses to “find a way to recognize or reflect on the day in a way that is appropriate for their employees,” though there is no obligation for them to do so.
Bruce Hallsor of the Monarchist League of Canada said the government should have declared a general holiday for all workers next Monday.
“It’s very unusual to have a part-holiday that only really applies to public-sector workers,” Hallsor said. “She was everybody’s Queen – she wasn’t only the Queen of public-sector workers.”
The Surrey Board of Trade was relieved to learn Sept. 19 would not be a statutory holiday, but called the government’s announcements confusing, and said keeping children home from school would create significant difficulties for many parents.
Teachers weren’t “clamouring” for another September holiday either, said Winona Waldron of the Victoria Teachers’ Association.
“We have two non-instructional days already in September, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and then Labour Day,” Waldron said. “It’s a very busy month for us starting up with new classes. Although everybody loves a holiday, the timing isn’t great.”
When the federal government declared next Monday a holiday for federal employees, officials noted it would be up to individual provinces to decide whether to declare a full holiday of their own.
At the time, Trudeau said he was “working with the provinces and territories to try and see what we’re aligned,” but noted there were “still a few details to be worked out.”
The governments of Quebec and Ontario have since confirmed they will treat the day of the Queen’s funeral as one of commemoration and mourning, similar to Remembrance Day, but not a provincial holiday.
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador have declared a one-time provincial holiday on Monday, which applies to all workers who are provincially regulated.
With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Shannon Paterson and CTV News Atlantic’s Stephen Wentzell
This content was originally published here.