OTTAWA: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has declared Monday, the day of Queen Elizabeth's funeral, a federal holiday to mourn the monarch's death.
"On September 19, Canadians from across the country will pay their respects to Canada's longest-reigning sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II," Trudeau said in a statement on Tuesday. "For most Canadians, she was the only monarch we ever knew and many of us felt a deep affection and appreciation for her dedication to Canada."
Monday will be a holiday for all federal government employees. Other employers, including provincial and territorial governments, are not required to follow suit.
The premiers of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador issued statements declaring Monday a one-time holiday.
Ontario will observe a day of mourning on Monday but provincially regulated places like schools will remain open, Premier Doug Ford, a Conservative, said in a statement. The decision allows "students to be in school learning about the many contributions the Queen made to the people of Ontario, Canada, and the entire Commonwealth," Ford said.
Canada announced a 10-day mourning period after Elizabeth died at her holiday home in Scotland on Thursday. Trudeau, who has said the queen was among his favourite people, is scheduled to attend her funeral.
Canada remained in the British Empire until 1982. It is still a member of the Commonwealth of former empire countries which hold the British monarch as head of state.
Trudeau's declaration was opposed by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. "Given it would allow only 6 days notice & cost the economy billions, CFIB is urging provincial governments to NOT declare next Monday as a statutory (paid) holiday," CFIB Chief Executive Dan Kelly said on Twitter.
Canada's Labour minister, Seamus O'Regan, said private sector employers are welcome to give workers a day off but they are not required to do so. (Reporting by Ismail Shakil and Steve Scherer in Ottawa Editing by Matthew Lewis)