Boxing Day in Canada

In 2016 Boxing Day is on Monday, December 26th.

Boxing Day is a day after Christmas Day. It is called "Boxing Day" because - starting in medieval Britain - servants had a day off and would receive a gift box on this day.

There are many other explanations and theories about the origin of this day - which explanation do you favour?

Is Boxing Day a stat holiday?

Our readers often ask and leave comments to find out whether Boxing Day is a statutory holiday. It is a provincial stat holiday in Ontario only - in other provinces and territories it's not a statutory holiday. It is, however, a stat holiday for federally regulated workers and banks across the country.

Retail stores will open early on Boxing Day and you can expect large discounts and large crowds. If you don't like large crowds and parking lot battles then try shopping on the 27th - the majority of stores will still have discounts and a good selection of merchandise to choose from.

Share your holiday story, idea or comments

Share your Boxing Day traditions with us - what do you do on Boxing Day? Do you stay-in? Go shopping? Visit relatives?

Post your comments

Posted by John R.:

It sounds like its a fight. Why not "Box Day"?

Posted by AJ:

In medieval times in eastern europe people would've been worked so hard for the rich elite and with poor living conditions and poor wages along with the cold they would succomb. Many wooden boxes were made in those times.


I find it ludicrous that people are mandated to get paid on days they don't contribute to the profit of the company they choose to work for. Just another example of the government taxing the system. What ever happened to earning your keep

Posted by JP:

Kay, Boxing Day is not a stat holiday in Saskatchewan or BC. Your employer can choose to give you a paid (or unpaid) holiday, but they are not required to do so i.e. it's not a legal holiday.

Posted by DS:

I cannot believe how many people are bitching about boxing day. First, in BC it is not a stat holiday, but as a small business owner I used to always give my employee's the day off with pay, until the government in it's infinite stupidity brought in "Family Day" as a stat holiday. Problem with this holiday it is in the shortest month of the year, it is very difficult for small business owners to absorb the cost of paying employee's and being closed on that day. Every holiday costs my business at least $5000 a day in lost business and wages paid out. So now while I still give Boxing day off to my employee's, they no longer get paid for it.

Posted by Philip:

Is Dec 27, 2016 a statutory holiday in Ontario?

Posted by rik:

I have always been taught that it is the day you re-box your unwanted gifts to return or exchange. You can then take advantage of the sale pricing of un-sold items.

Posted by RMR :

I couldn't agree more with some of the comments my mortgage is coming out of my acc. Tuesday but my cheque wasn't deposited on the Monday and what about my bills this is total bullshit

Posted by Darcey:

I'm happy to say Boxing Day is now very special to me. My Fiance proposed to me on this day, this year 2015! I didn't know it was a gift giving day in some places. He didn't want to have our engagement on Christmas, to take away from the meaning of Christmas & celebrating with family. But, he was ready to propose on this Special Boxing Day along the beautiful American River Bike Trail in Folsom, CA


For those saying that boxing day is a General holiday and posting links to websites. Read the pages before posting links. That link applies to "employers and employees under federal jurisdiction". Boxing day is a Stat in Ontario only. Now if it falls on a weekday do the right thing and give the day off(With or Without per means) If it falls on a weekend, then it is what it is.


Why are bank s closed on monday dec 28th? This is none sence !!!! I get mail and banks are open christmas eve but because boxing day (witch is not a tradition obseved in canada religously ). So boxing day is on a saterday so banks just close monday anyway !!! So you close boxing day and then what monday s a holiday because??? Btw boxing day is just a conglamorite sale day so why its a stat holiday only in ontario just shows how messed up only ontario can be!!!!!!!!! Sorry but aside from my feels i just dont understand why ?

Posted by Tres:

A statutory holiday is a holiday in which an employer is obligated by law to pay you for that day. Employers can give their employees Boxing Day off, but they are not obligated to PAY you for that day off!!

Posted by Michele:

What the hell is wrong with people that out of 365 days a year if a store is closed on dec 25 and 26 they lose there minds because they can't shop on the 26th. No wonder this world is in financial crisis. People have not much time off now to spend with family, children, to have time to visit, and rest. It's because of greedy, selfish people who shoot there mouth off about people buying presents at christmas for there family and friends and then they turn around and complain because they cant shop on boxing day. This world is so selfish and greedy it's shameful.


Boxing Day is a federal statutory holiday across Canada, as per:


Of course all Government employees get Monday off! I live in Alberta and my ei will be late so any payments due on tuesday following christmas wont be there which totally screws me up. Im hoping loan payment is late on the other end due to Christmas or I will be in trouble.Bounce Bounce Bounce! Not right...not fair...Government employees get too much payed time off!!!

Posted by M Wyles:

I live and work in B.C. For the first time I am working in retail, and Boxing Day, which I have enjoyed off for all my life up until now, is just gone! I wonder what percent of Canadian's will get Monday off in each province/territory.

Posted by no name:

i have a question.26 saturday is my working day.but the company is giving off on 26 dec and 28 monday.but they are asking to make up the working hours for it legal ask like that????i badly need a answer


Why is Ontario so special the whole country should have the Monday off. Funny how gouvernment and banks are closed. The workers who don't even know what work is.


I think Monday should be a holiday in lieu of Boxing day falling on a saturday! It is in the UK why should we not observe this tradition! we always celebrate by going to the theatre


I think Boxing Day should be a quiet day spent with family. We are lucky enough to have this extra day off after the busy that is Christmas so take the time, stay home and enjoy your family. There are plenty of shopping days in the year to spend your money but your kids grow up to fast. Boxing Day Stat Holiday take it be thankful relax and enjoy.

Posted by Raj:

My understanding of boxing day as taught in school back when I was a kid in England, it is called boxing day because the day after Christmas day, the poor would go around homes of the well off collecting their empty gift boxes to sell and make some money.


I'm not sure where exactly this information comes from, but if you check the GNB website, Boxing Day is listed as a statutory holiday for New Brunswick.


In Ontario, The Employment Standards Act states "When a Public Holiday Falls on an Employee's Non-Working Day or During an Employee's Vacation When a public holiday falls on a day that is not ordinarily a working day for an employee, or during the employee's vacation, the employee is entitled to either: a substitute holiday off with public holiday pay; or public holiday pay for the public holiday, if the employee agrees to this in writing (in this case, the employee will not be given a substitute day off)." . . . therefore, Boxing Day 2015 in Ontario is a PAID Stat Holiday.


Boxing Day is a statutory holiday in Ontario. To me this means it falls on a Saturday in 2015 and therefore for those working a traditional five day week the holiday will be celebrated on Monday as it has been during my many working years. But I cannot find this information anywhere. Is it a secret? What a confusion this holiday business is.

Posted by J Miller:

@Kay No, Boxing Day is not a statutory holiday in BC. However, many employers give their employees the day off, and I suspect that it is enshrined as a holiday in most labour agreements. And, as stated above, it is a holiday for banks and other federally regulated jobs. I suppose that's why many people, even some employers, mistakenly think it is a statutory holiday; they've always had the day off. In a similar vein, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday are not statutory holidays; the official stat is Good Friday. @Kay (again) Alas, I think much of the "50% or more % off" deals have been relegated to our memories. There are some deals, to be sure, but the news segments on Boxing Day seem to show a lot of shoppers coming out of whichever store is the trendiest at the moment and gushing how they managed to save 10% (or worse). These customers never actually seem to do the percentage-off calculation; I'm not sure they would be so proud to proclaim their great deal of 11% off.

Posted by L. Chambers:

We don't have remembrance day off here in Ontario but at least we have boxing day as a stat!

Posted by Lisa:

I would to see all store be closed on Boxing day. Giving families two days off. all governments talk about family time, how important it is. Yet the majority of people have to work on boxing day. Oh I know that most retail stores say its a volunteer to work, enticed by the time and half wage. All stores will have boxing WEEK sales,just like the Black Friday sales lasting four to five days. Both levels of government can change this.


I believe that many workplaces - in provinces where Boxing Day is not a statutory holiday = Remembrance Day is traded in its place.

Posted by Erica:

My understanding is that it's only a provincial stat holiday in Ontario (as this website states). Everywhere else in the country it's still a holiday for federal employees, postal workers, banks, etc. but it isn't a provincial statutory holiday by law as, for example, Canada Day is.

Posted by Kay:

I have lived in Saskatchewan and British Columbia all my life and Boxing Day has always been a Stat Day no matter where I work so I am not sure why this site says it is only in Ontario. Is there a different definition of Statutory Holiday?


Those who complain about any holiday being another retailers' paradise, avoid the complaints and exercise your right not to participate. If retailers got a clear message then maybe we can celebrate all holidays for their true meaning.


I heard it started in churches where there was a box for donations and on this day they opened the box and gave its contents to the poor people.

Posted by Kay:

My memories of boxing day always include a hour in the parking lot, an hour in various lineups, a huge credit card bill and a ton of "stuff" that we buy 50% or more % off ;-)

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