British Columbia joins February holiday club

First provincial Family Day will take place in February 2013

British Columbia workers will be getting a long weekend in February, starting next year.

British Columbia premier Christy Clark and Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Labour, Citizens’ Services and Open Government were joined by local families at the Vancouver Aquarium to announce that B.C.’s Family Day will take place on the second Monday in February each year, beginning in 2013.

“Creating a Family Day in B.C. was an important priority for me. Today, my government is following through on that commitment and I am proud and delighted to let families across B.C. know that our very first Family Day will be on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013,” said Premier Christy Clark.

The decision to select the second Monday in February comes after government followed through on a commitment to consult with the public and private sectors, as well as hear from citizens directly.

“We heard a lot of thoughtful points of view from British Columbians about which day they’d prefer. The response we had from the public was outstanding – it’s great to see people know we want to hear from them, and that we’re listening,” said MacDiarmid.

Record numbers of British Columbians participated in online discussions by sharing their thoughts and registering their preference. The web poll component of the Family Day website gathered a total of 31,146 selections, along with 3,069 comments, with the choice of the second Monday registering a total of 18,202 selections, 9,436 selections for the third Monday, and 3,508 selections of no preference.

Family Day will be the 10th statutory holiday for B.C. workers, matching the number in Saskatchewan and Ontario. Some business advocates expressed concern over the pressure another holiday could put on small businesses.

“We surveyed our membership more than a year ago when we were told this might be coming, and the overwhelming majority of small business owners didn’t want to see Family Day coming because of the labour costs involved,” Shachi Kurl, provincial director for the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses, told the Vancouver Sun.

However, the new holiday was viewed in a more positive light by other businesses who could be helped by more vacationers.

“We are very pleased with the outcome and we are confident that this decision will drive significant benefits for the tourism industry, the provincial economy and the people of British Columbia,” said David Lynn, president and CEO, Canada’s West Ski Areas Association.

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