REMEMBRANCE DAY CAME AND WENT in just three minutes for workers at Tim Hortons in Nova Scotia. That’s all the time off the law allows them.

Remembrance Day in Nova Scotia is not a “general paid holiday” under Labour Standards and it’s not a “designated closing day.” That means workers are faced with three possibilities: the good, the bad and the ridiculous. Workers will get the day off with pay, or get the day off without pay, or get three minutes of free time on the job to stop and remember.

Day off with pay

Not all businesses are required to close on Remembrance Day in Nova Scotia. Bars and restaurants can open after noon. Gas stations, shops with fewer than three staff, and drug stores can also open. If you work in any of them you will get your regular day’s pay along with an extra day off with pay. But there’s a catch. You will only get that day off with pay if you worked for pay 15 of the last 30 days!

If you work for a business that does have to close, but are lucky enough to be in a union or covered by a collective agreement, it’s likely November 11 is a paid holiday like other statutory holidays.

Day off without pay

Nova Scotia law requires shops in malls, big box stores, major grocery stores, liquor stores and other retail venues to be closed. That means if you work there you get the day off—but without pay! Your pay cheque for Remembrance Day week will be 20% less than for a regular 5-day week.

‘Ridiculous mockery’

The Remembrance Day Act wants to be sure everyone who does have to work on November 11—such as those who work in coffee shops like Tim Horton’s—gets a chance to honour our fallen. The act calls for the boss to “suspend operations for three minutes starting at 10:59 am on November 11”.

“That makes a ridiculous mockery of the whole day,” said one Tim Hortons worker in Kentville, Nova Scotia. “If that’s all a big money maker like Tim Hortons can manage, they’d be better off to do nothing at all.

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