Toronto MP calls for national paid holiday in February

National Flag Day should be a statutory holiday for Canadians across the country, says a Toronto NDP MP.

National Flag Day should be a statutory holiday for Canadians across the country, says a Toronto NDP MP.

Peggy Nash, MP for Parkdale-High Park, was expected to table on Thursday a private member's bill that asks the federal government to make Flag Day, Feb. 15, a legal federal holiday.

There are no national statutory holidays in February, and Flag Day would serve as a good break for Canadians between New Year's Day and Easter, she said at a news conference in Ottawa.

"Flag Day is a great day to have that break, especially in the middle of winter," Nash said. "It's a good way to get over the February blahs."

Ron Mayer, an Ottawa-based author who has lobbied for Flag Day to bea nationalholiday for years, said the day could become a special time for Canadians to reflect on their values and to think about their country. Mayer spoke alongside Nash.

"I think this bill is going to be a great success. I can't see anyone not supporting it. We need something to perk us up," he said.

Holidays vary across country

Each jurisdiction in Canada provides for statutory holidays through labour standards legislation. Public holidays are considered days of special significance established by governments to mark certain events.

Employees who qualify are entitled to a paid holiday, or, if required to work, to wages paid at a premium rate.

The number of statutory holidays enjoyed by workers, however, varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Some provinces have created their own special paid holidays that they celebrate.

Alberta and Saskatchewan, for example, enjoy Family Day on the third Monday in February. This is the first year that Saskatchewan will mark the day.

Quebechas long celebrated St-Jean-Baptiste Day, or Fête nationale, on June 24.

The Northwest Territorieswas the first jurisdiction to make National Aboriginal Day onJune 21 astatutory holiday.

Under the Flag Daybill, Nash said, the statutory holiday would fall on Feb. 15, the actual date that marks the first time the Maple Leaf was raised on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.