Do Canadian workers need more vacation time?

By Jenna Charlton

Canadians need more vacation time Tracy Nesdoly recently wrote an article about 12th century serfs having a better work-life balance than we do today, having taken 170 days of vacation a year.

Sounds good to me!

There is no doubt, in my mind, that Canadian labour laws are not up to date on mandated paid vacation time. Our laws provide workers with 10 days a year.

10 days out 365 is nothing. Compare that to almost every other country in the world, our vacation time is dismally, almost embarrassingly low.

According to a Mercer report comparing global employee statutory and public holiday entitlements, “employees in Canada are amongst those with the lowest entitlement with only 10 days”.

What’s worse is that generally speaking, you have to have worked one year before you’re entitled to vacation time, and unless otherwise stated in a contract, your company may be able to dictate when you take your vacation.

So, no vacation for a year, and then you’re told when you can take it? Seems ridiculous.

I once worked for a company that dictated when employees could take one week of their two-week vacation. The mandatory one-week period was over Christmas. This was fair in the sense that often not much is realistically accomplished over the holiday, but unfair since not everyone celebrates Christmas.

Needless to say, I didn’t feel much loyalty to the company since their policies didn’t seem to respect or appreciate employees’ work/life needs.

This takes me to my next point regarding vacation time. There seems a fine line between company needs and respecting employee needs.

Would offering more vacation, and the ability to schedule your own vacation increase loyalty to a company?

It would for me. Knowing that your workplace won’t dictate when you can vacation and spend time outside the office offers a level of consideration and respect for employees while also demonstrating that an employer values their contribution and wants employees to maintain a balance.

I also don’t understand the why an employer would want an employee to go without any time off for an entire year. Is that not just asking for burn out?

While ranting away on Canada’s mandatory vacation allowance, I should point out that there are many companies that offer more than the two-week minimum and allow their employees to schedule vacation long before the one year working mark.

In the meantime, a quick glance at the Mercer report makes Canada look a little backwards on the work/balance scale.

Here is a sneak peak of the Mercer report on holiday offerings around the world:

    • Brazil: mandates 30 days a year
    • Britain: a global financial hub, mandates 28 days a year
    • Russia: mandates 28 days a year
    • Japan: mandates 20 days a year
    • South Africa: mandates 21 days a year

What do you think? Are you offered a reasonable amount of vacation time? Should Canada take a page from the Brazilian holiday handbook and mandate more time off for employees?

106 Responses to “Do Canadian workers need more vacation time?”

  1. Frustrated says:

    Hi Jenna,

    This is an excellent text, and thanks for publishing.
    I think there should be a national debate about this point.
    We are amongst those with the lowest paid vacation and public holidays entitlement in the world. Therefore, we should be the most competitive and productive country in the world. Are we?

    40 hours/week, 10 days vacation per year and a minimum legal wage that is not enough to live in dignity…. I’m not sure if all the sweatshops are in south east Asia….


  2. Two weeks is really nothing. It’s more an insult than a reward. Especially when you just graduated and need to use many of those days to study for a professional title. Having the chance to leave for many weeks and not think about your work is really good for your health and you are happy to come back to work after.

  3. Graham Innes says:

    Britain mandates 28 days a year? I assume you include public holidays in this otherwise you might want to check your research. Before I left for Canada (2009) I had 25 days holiday a year, I was a local government worker and 25 days was seen as generous. Previous employment to that was 20 and subsequently 22, which again was still fine by me.

  4. Just to be clear, I am brazilian, lived there for 30 years and recently moved to Canada. Brazil mandates 30 days per year, yes. But those are not business days, are every single day in the calendar. So let’s say you want to take january off… You will take 30 days, counting from January 1st to January 30th. In practical terms, there are 4 weeks, or 20 days. Many Canadian companies offer something close to 20 days vacation per year. So it is not as bad as it sounds.

  5. Becky says:

    No, I do not think Canada offers enough vacation. Many companies that offer more than 10 days of vacation offer UNPAID vacation, which is almost just as bad. They’re allowing us to take time off, knowing that we’ll suffer financially for it. And I’m sorry, but 4% annual vacation pay does not make up for it. In my case, I’m allowed 10 days unpaid. Considering North America has the highest rates of heart disease and other similar illnesses, often associated with poor diet and stress, I’d say Canada is NOT up to par.

  6. jai-a-lai says:

    We have in Finland 30 days, which people normally take 4 weeks during summer and 1 week during winter. Saturdays are counted as holidays. If been in a job less than a year holiday ‘earning’ is days per month and more than a year ‘earning’ is 2,5 days per month. This in private sector, public sector has even more if you’ve been in job more than 10 years. I think in Sweden figures are even more but I’m pleased what we have.

  7. HMM! says:

    The question is do we live to work or do we work to live ? In Europe, several countries have at least 4 weeks holidays a year. When working overseas, some companies also had mental health days !!

  8. Duncan says:

    I’m sure there are thousands of small-business owners who would love 10 days paid vacation handed to them on a platter. Stop complaining. Go out and change your situation if you don’t like it. BTW – what does the US get for mandated paid time off?

  9. Marco says:

    Hi Jenna,

    I’ve worked both in Brazil and UK (and now in Canada). Having immigrated from the UK, where I had 30 business days vacation in my last job, it was really a shock to find out that over here it is only 10 days, so I negotiated 15 with my current employer. In regards to Brazil you are right about the 30 days however weekends count too, so in the end it is about 22 working days. They have a lot of statutory holidays (Carnival/Mardy Gras, religious, civic holidays, etc) though which means a lot of long weekends. The other thing is that in Brazil they expect you to take the 30 days all in one go, or at the most break it down into two blocks of 15 days each.

  10. European says:

    Coming from Europe and now living in Canada I have to say, 2 weeks vacation is not only insulting, but counterproductive. Somehow the European countries that offer 30 vacation days and many more stats than Canada are amongst the best economies of the world (i.e. France, Germany, Skandinavian countries). That should make Canadians think twice and fight for their right to proper vacation and other social services. Instead of comparing Canada to the US where the situation is even worse, we should compare to countries that have better systems in place and aspire to match or surpass them.

  11. Mark says:

    Wow – I had forgotten how low holidays are in North America (Canada). I’m a Canadian working in the UK. I worked for a North American firm in the UK. My counterparts in the US got 10 days. I got 25 days plus bank holiday’s. Some of the senior US guys where shocked that this was normal and all employees got this. Funny we (UK) see Europe as having more holidays. I would find it hard to return to 10 days.

  12. Geoff says:

    Of course, this begs the question – where do we stack up against the U.S.?

  13. Jack says:

    It’s all a question of competition. Our biggest competitor is the USA. Their vacations are even less than ours. So if we increase vacations, we’ll just lose jobs and exports to companies south of the border. Not a good choice.

    Sure, we can mandate benefits like Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy, and we can join them in having few jobs (except working for the government or tourism. they are essentially bankrupt. As is Brasil. Japan has had little or no economic growth for a generation. Who would want to move to Russia or South America. Not many and they all want to come here. Of all the examples given, only Britain has a decent economy and they’ve lagged us for decades. I wouldn’t want to trade Canada for Britain either.

    So stop whining and ask what you can do to make whatever organization you work for more productive. Then go and ask them for a reward. Not the other way around. Too many people seem to think that they are doing companies a favour by showing up for work. They need a reality check.

  14. Penny says:

    As much as I’d love more vacation time, and I believe any company that only offers the minimum is shooting itself in the foot by losing loyalty and risking burnout, I think this study may not go deep enough to really compare. Yes we get 10 days vacation but you also get 10 paid stat days (this changes depending on what province you live in). Also, unless otherwise stated in a contract you only work 44 hours a week before the company must pay you over time at a rate of 1.5x. Also there is a cap on how many hours you can work in a week.
    So, on the surface it might seem we have less – but I’d be interested to see how we would fare once all of those aspects are considered

  15. Companies aren’t worrying about employee burn out. We tend to be treated like interchangable parts that are easily replacable when we break.

    I was dealing with both parents in the hospital and had to travel on business for 3 days. Well those 3 days stretched into 10 days because things that were supposed to be ready when I got there weren’t and then there was more work they wanted accoplished ‘while I was there’. When I finely got back after 10 – 18 hour days my boss complained that my cell phone bill was too high and I should have taken a company cell phone with me. I did explain that it was the only number the doctors at the hospital had to get in touch with me. He then said he was goiing to approve the expense this time but never again.

    Then when it came time for layoffs when times were tough, well I was laid off as I didn’t have the company spirit. I was devistated at the time but have come to realize that getting out of there was the best thing ever.

    The really sad part is that isn’t the only story I have and everyone who worked with me has several similar stories. I ran into one and he’s just hoping he won’t be laid off before he can retire from there. I suggested looking for another job but there was not way he’s sticking it out and hoping that it all works out.

    Now that I’m out it’s like I was suffering from the Stockholm Syndrome or maybe it just because being beaten emotionally was such a daily occurance it started to feel like that was how it should be.

    Way too many employees are being treated this way Former Employee

  16. Hardworker says:

    With the difficult winters that we go through for every half a year, most of us experience depressions and physical problems. We definitely need to update minimum mandatory vacation times. No wonder so many people call in sick, but they have even started to being tougher on sick leave! Like work is all our priority…. So what about human rights…

    A few years ago, I had a friend visiting from Europe and he stayed in my place for a few days. I told him that I could only afford staying with him for 1 day as I only have total 15 days vacation for the year and I am planning to use them up when my baby is born. He thought that I am lying, and to this date he cannot believe the low standards of work for a country like Canada!

  17. BRL says:

    I believe the issue here is what our government mandates. As long as the minimum is 10 days you can bet most business will only allow their employees to take the 10 days. Sure you have the few ‘corporate’ exceptions .. but those are exceptions and should be treated as such!

    I would love to see a petition on this, I would sign it with no second thoughts!

    Cheers & power to the people :-)

  18. Thomas says:

    I just migrated to Canada from Germany (But i’m a Brit). In Germany, I ended up with 32 business days vacation, on top of many many statutory vacation days.

    Then I came here and was offered a pathetic 15 days. Realising this is actually *good* for here, I accepted it. Not long after, I negotiated for more days (I asked for 5 more days, unpaid) and managed to get 20 paid business days off.

    Twice the Canadian requirement but it’s still a pathetic amount of vacation. What is up with everyone? Is everyone a freaking workaholic?

  19. I loved this article. I’ve been saying for years that it’s simply not fair how Canada is so behind with their vacation compared to England, where a few of our friends live. Is there a way we can petition this? I would be the first to sign up. As a Mother and wife looking for a new job in a new town, it’s terrible that I will have to settle for 2 weeks vacation as opposed to 4 weeks vacation had I stayed at my previous company when I celebrated my 5th year. I would accept a job if they offered me at least a 3 week vacation period. That helps a little more and would make me want to stay at that job. Great article!!

  20. The company I worked for required you to accrue your vacation time. Even after working with the company 5 years, their expectation was that you accrue your vacation time. In the meantime the family owned business- related to each other members, took vacation at will. Time to stand up to employers, create paid mandatory vacation time comparable to the rest of the world!

  21. Beverley says:

    I noticed that the comparison did not include the USA. Down in the USA, according to my many friends and my (late) boyfriend, vacation time is not only low priority, it is seen as being disloyal to the company. My boyfriend who was a manager of a major restaurant was allowed only 2 weeks of vacation time. He had to take that two weeks as split time, meaning he was allowed one week off, then later another week off. At the same time, if some emergency rose at the restaurant, he was called in regardless if it was his vacation or not. In fact, he carried a cell phone during a trip we took together “in case” an issue rose. Mind you being he was just over 1000 miles from his work, I wasn’t sure what he could actually do. Yet he had been directed to carry the phone.

  22. Joanna says:

    Hi Jenna!

    The Goverment should take some action becouse we are working like slaves here.
    Where is the freedom and equal rights in the one of the world’s highly developed country!

    Some employers allowed there workers have at least 4 weeks vacation (Government jobs), where others give them just mandatory 2 weeks?

    Don’t you think that this is wrong here!

  23. Silly North America!

  24. Jamie says:

    Thank you for this article, I have always believed this to be one of the worst elements of our Canadian lifestyle. Even the more “generous” employers offer only 3 weeks paid vacation. At that rate you really have a hard time choosing how to use it – should you take time at Christmas with your extended family, a winter getaway to the tropics or a break during our good summertime weather. You have to pick and choose – you can’t do it all with such a short amount of vacation time.

    Having worked in Canada, Ireland, Britian and the USA, I can tell you that Canada is amongst the worst in this aspect. Foreign co-workers were always shocked to hear how little vacation time we get. On the flip side, our maternity benefits are amongst the best (if not the best) in the world.

  25. If you think vacation time in Canada is stingy and antiquated, check out the USA. (At least we have a decent healthcare system compared to theirs). I’m in transportation, an Owner/ Operator truck driver. I’m leased on with a good company so I take off as much time as I need to prevent prematurely burning out. It took my wife over 15 years with her company to ‘earn’ 5 weeks vacation/year. Many trucking companies in the US allow their drivers 1 day off for every 7 days worked. As for taking holidays, many of them can’t afford it. My son lives and works in Luxembourg. First year there and he got 4 weeks off. Just thought I’d offer some different perspectives to an issue that needs rectifying.

  26. bimjim says:

    I have worked (as a citizen or having right to work) in four countries, and in each job the starting vacation leave was 4 weeks. In time (not alot, maybe three years) that increased to a maximum of 6 weeks, but more unpaid leave could be taken upon request at the “exigencies of the employer” (if they could spare you) if you had a pressing need or just felt burned out.

    When I immigrated here and eventually found a job (after 8 years of “sorry, no Canadian experience”) I started with just two weeks (your 10 days) a year – in a unionised environment, no less. That 2 weeks vacation increases after an incredible 9 years to 5, then maybe 4 years later to 6.

    My employer actually goes as far as to account for my vacation in hours – 40 hours to the vacation week – and I’m not even sure at any point they could explain why.

    So yes, Canada is way behind the times when it comes to working conditions… but I have never seen a country that so loves a monopoly, and there is no doubt that big business runs this country as it sees fit from the Prime Minister on down. That is why employees will always get the shaft in every area and business will always get the breaks – also in every area.

    Let me also add that I have found Canada the country with the cheapest employers around… they now seem to prefer to circumvent the already-lax labour laws by hiring people as “contractors” or “temps” so they don’t even have to pay EI, pension or any other benefits. And they get away with it.

    I just came off Employment Insurance that I have been paying into all these years. It does nit even begin to pay the bills, even when you are pared to the bone. And I’m looking at my Pension benefits – they don’t pay the bills either. In both cases you have paid in, but they don’t want to pay out. And in both cases you get a tiny fraction of what you need to live, and if you earn anything they take that away from your benefit. Needless to say, there is a maximum to the benefit, and that’s almost not worth the paper it’s printed on.

    It’s a public swindle, plain and simple.

    In my humble opinion, Political and Civil Service costs and expenditure now exceed taxation… in simple budgetary terms, they are now spending more than they earn – and they will be back for more. In Toronto all but one of the politicians are boasting of new ways they will spend our money – just ONE is talking of cutting waste and reducing spending.

    Canada? In my experience the worst country around for prospective immigrants and government ineptitude, arrogance, stupidity and corruption. The poor taxpayer has to foot the the bill, of course, and with direct and indirect taxation now exceeding 50% of income I’m wondering when they will storm the political buildings and physically “throw the bums out”.

    The UK used to be famous for having more citizens outside of its borders earning their livings abroad… I think it reasonable to say that Canada has surpassed the UK, and for the same reasons – extremely burdensome taxation and the sheer arrogance and stupidity of its leaders.

    Realistically, if you are a potential immigrant, go somewhere else. If you are a skilled potential immigrant, don’t expect to have your qualifications recognised here until you have completed ALL of your training and experience again in Canada – again, go somewhere else.

    And if you are born a Canadian, get your training and head for somewhere else, where you will get a fair wage and decent working conditions – and a reasonable vacation.

  27. I have moved hear from Australia two years ago and I am shocked by the working conditions in Canada. In Australia you get a minimum of four weeks annual leave, three weeks of sick days or parental leave which you can accumulate from one year to the next and a lot of companies as well as the government sector have a 35 or 38 hour week which means you only work 4 days a week or
    9 day fortnight. If you are asked to work on your day off you are paid at double time or the choice of having a day off at your convenience. I will be defiantly be moving back.

    Keep up the good work


  28. Berny says:

    My wife and I lived and worked in Sweden for two years. From the first day, I had five weeks vacation, not counting two extra weeks at Christmas time. Additionally, when our son was born in our second year there, I got two weeks paternity leave that I could take any way I wanted. All with full pay.
    The problem we have in Canada is our Southern neighbour’s set the bar for things like vacation and they’ve traditionally set it pretty low.

  29. Claire says:

    Yeah, Canada is really bad with this. As I lived more than half of my life in Europe and came here to find this it was really a shock. Also I am embarrassed to tell this to my European friends with their 6-8 weeks vacation.
    I was laid off in April, after 14 years with the company, and to this day they did not pay me the 4% for the vacation AND they did not pay any severance. They are allowed by low to be late for 6 month!!! Yeah, this is Canada, a country once considered the first place in the world for the life quality.

  30. torontoguy says:

    All i can say is I agree. Contact your municipality representative – let’s get this matter sorted, and updated. Tell them to represent your beliefs, they get enough emails and complaints it will arise in the HOC – they will update the law –

    They will not do anything if we don’t say anything – We pay the taxes – so complain, and represent your beliefs!

  31. Brit says:

    I come from Britain and the holidays are 25 days plus all the public holidays which gives you a grand total of 33 days. I worked in Germany and they had 30 days plus 13 public days. Also in Germany many of the companies did not pay overtime for hours over 37 hours. What they did though was let you bank the extra hours worked and you could then take them as extra holidays. Very civilised, I love living in Canada the worst thing though is the holidays or lack of them. If you have a young family like me you dont get to spend nearly enpugh quality time with them, before you know it they will be grown up and gone. Something needs to be done to bring this country in line with other civilised industrial countries.

  32. sonja says:

    I am so thankful that someone at last has written about the lack of holidays we get in Canada , I personally think its a disgrace that each province in Canada gets different amount of holidays. Many Canadians have no work life balance , especially in todays climate employers are expecting more and more from their employees , and employees cant give any more because they are so tierd and over-worked. If the government looked at the amount of sick time Canadians take its most likely higher than any other country in the world. If they increase holidays , the amount of EI they would have to pay out would decrease because , less people would have to go on sick leave. Then the government would be saving money. Increase holidays to match the rest of the world , and we would be a happier and healthier Canadians.

  33. SarcasTECH says:

    I’m Canadian….it all depends on the company you work for. I get 2 months not including weekends plus 10 days stress leave and 10 personal days….Get a haircut and get a real job.

  34. Lea says:

    While I was working for one of the biggest companies in the world, the one that has been ranked best work place in Canada, I was not treated fairly, and i felt very indignant. While I was paid on salary, I had to work overtime a lot. Since I was new to the company, I was literally beaten up since all the people would give me the work that they would not wanna do, and some of them constantly complain to me or about me with others. I didn’t have a single vacation during my one year work there. During Christmas, I was told that I still had to work from home to publish some reports, so that I couldn’t even have the time to go shopping on Boxing Day! For me it was probably an extreme case, and I do believe that the working environment is generally much better that the one I experienced. But I was pretty shocked how a great company like the one I worked for would let people treat an employee like that. I felt stressed out all the time and disrespected, so it was hard to count day!
    s that I was actually happy at work. I no longer work there, and I felt so relieved and much happier and healthier too.

  35. Xyza says:

    Most of the workforce in Canada is made up of immigrants- most of them are from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe. Which means they all have families that are half across the world. 2 weeks are not enough for people to go back and resume work. Most of us will have to take unpaid vacations if we really want to enjoy our time off.
    Summer vacations for the kids itself, is 2 months. How are we supposed to spend quality time with our families and relax if we have only 2 weeks?!
    I agree that it is high time that we rethink our vacation days.

  36. Silvio says:

    In Brazil the law says 30 days, but almost everyone trades 10 days for money. 30 days is too much and also really hard for business owners.

  37. Sergio Ramos says:

    Thanks Jenna, nice article…

    Finally, someone brought up this subject! This vacation thing…in Canada, is something that I’ve thought about, for a long long time, and I feel really disgusted knowing that out of 365 days, we just get 10 days of vacation! YES, I know that there are statutory vacation days out there, but seriously, other countries also do have them, so in the end, we are still the losers here!
    Plus, it’s not like statutory vacation days matter a lot anyway, considering they’re scattered throughout the years. Those of us that like to go for holidays abroad definitely need CONTIGUOUS vacation days.

    I have experienced living in 4 different continents, and quite frankly I just can never understand why we get the lowest amount.
    Very often the tourists that go for a month-long vacation, enjoying the elegance of Europe, or the beauty of South America, or the exotic flavours of Asia, while relaxing themselves, are usually not the North Americans, because we’re stuck here in the extreme cold, feeling stressed out, wondering why in the world that out of 365 days, we are entitled to only 10 measly days off of work.

    I know people in certain European countries get up to 6 (yes, SIX) weeks of vacations, and it’s not like those countries are full of lazy people. We’re talking about industrialised countries with similar or even better economies than Canada’s, so it’s just bizarre to know that we only get 10 days.
    Here the federal government requires that its employees work for 29 years before they get 30 days of vacation…OUCH!

    In terms of vacation, clearly we’re the only one doing it differently from the majority of the rest of the world, so there’s got to be something wrong here…!

    Another thing that irritates me about North American employers is that many of them expect us to stay in touch with the company even during our vacation time. Some of them even have the heart to CALL or bother us during our vacation (about work related stuff)…not cool at all. I may be wrong though…may be this thing happens in the rest of the world too, but so far I’ve witnessed this phenomenon mostly here in Canada (and Canada isn’t even where I’ve spent most of my life.)

  38. Tim says:

    This a topic that I been wanting to discuss for years! The fact of the matter is that Canada is built based on immigrants/refugees!! There is a ton of people that have families in other countries and never get to visit because lack of time off from work!! Where is the gratitude for hard work? Personally I have a very very good retail job that pays more than an average government employee! But the fact of the matter is that I only get 10 days of paid vacation and cannot be taken off consecutively!! I even offered to opt out of getting payed just so that I can travel 10,000 km to go see family that I haven’t seen in 7 years! In past I have jumped from job to job just so I can take the time off! Is that fair? Absolutely not! Now that I have a solid job and making the money that I want but cannot go away to do things that I want! Is it stressful? Yes it is! In my opinion stress result counterproductively? Now in order for me to go see family i have to lose my career over time off! I love the fact that Canada allows and gives all the options to average Joe to open and run their business’ but the rules of time off should be the same as government employees, if not better because I’m 100% sure that I work 10 times harder than any of those 9-5 schmucks that pretend they are running this country!!! Ps I pay about 36-39k a year in taxes and that’s pretty much the wages for one person! I bet that, that person takes double the time off than I do. When it comes to making changes that make the people of this country happier and heart disease-free everyone shuts up and turn a blind eye! We need to speak up for the better of our lives!

  39. LesleyDJ says:

    We are very badly off re holiday days compared to so many other places. Surely it would, in the long run, be good for the economy to have more paid vacation. (I would suggest a 2 days a year increase for the next five years for a start). If people have more holiday they are likely to be sick less and happier when they are at work. Also more time off for most people means spending more money on home reno supplies or holiday gear, cottage rental etc or even, being able to put more back into the local community by having more time for volunteering. Yes, companies won’t like it but if most of Europe and other places can deal with a decent holiday entitlement surely we can too.

  40. Hari says:

    Yes Candians are working very hard when copared with the done by anybody in india and Pakistan be it private or govt. job.

  41. Has anyone noticed that Europe is in an economic meltdown? Perhaps an unproductive workforce with too many holidays is a contributing factor. And every country is competing in a global marketplace now where jobs can be moved with little difficulty – perhaps Brazil and China have more holidays, but they are paid one fifth of what Canadians are paid. So, Canadians want more vacation, and still be paid five times as much? Sorry, that won’t last

  42. Gonzo says:

    The international norm regarding paid vacation time is at least 20 working days per year. 20 days is the low end. When you have more work experience (for instance 5 or 10 years) you can have 30 or more paid working days per year. Souns good, right. It also depends on the employer and the position you have within the company. When i started my first job in Eastern Europe, I had 20 days vacation and 10 sick days per year. After only 5 years work experience my vacation time was 28 paid vacation days, not calendar days, 28 working days every year. Do you see the clear difference.

  43. Done IN says:

    Hear! Hear! It’s about time. The Ontario company for whom I worked until recently only grants the mandatory two weeks annual vacation, no matter what the duration of employment. After eight years, I still received just ten vacation days. There was absolutely no recognition of quality of work, length of service nor, for that matter, any loyalty incentive.

    Then, try to take that vacation; the work load was such that it was extremely difficult to use those precious ten days per year. Vacation? More like a re-allocation of work time: work an enormous number of unpaid overtime hours before you leave for vacation; then work an enormous number of unpaid overtime hours upon your return. Or take your laptop and cellphone along and just keep on truckin’

    Many employees at this, and no doubt countless other companies, are suffering burn-out and are definitely not functioning in an efficient and productive manner. Will the owners-managers learn? I doubt it. Businesses who do not now value their employees’ need for vacation time are unlikely to do so. In my opinion the only remedy is legislation.

    Oh well, at least I had lots of vacation pay owing when I left. Now I’m breathing a huge sigh of relief as I embark upon my job search.

    PS: “Hardworker” is extremely lucky if his company has a sick day policy at all.

  44. Although I have always been an employee, one should remember one small detail about vacation at work: vacation is NOT an employee’s right but rather a company’s duty. This means that the company should provide you the opportunity to take vacation not because employees want or deserve but because companies have bylaw to grant vacations to the employees. It is this way because, ultimately, is the company that pays for the employee to do nothing; in return, the company has the right to rule over its employees’ vacation.

    This changes everything.

    Usually, I would say 99.9% of the time, employers let employees choose their vacation time and period because there is no reason in doing in contrary. It’s much sensible, positive, less time consuming and productive to proceed this way because employees think they are doing whatever it pleases to them. And it works!

    However, if convenient for the company, it may request employees to take forced vacations because it is its right to do so! It is unpleasant though but it might happen and there is nothing that the employee can do about it.

    Still regarding Brazil, holidays are taken when they happen and are not transferred to the next Monday. If some holiday coincides with a Sunday – sorry – it was a Sunday! Even though there is a bit more holidays in Brazil, some of them end up coinciding with a weekend which makes the number of holidays in Brazil and Canada being somewhat the same.

    Finally, the relationship between a company and its employees should a win-win one. Therefore, it should have a balance between the rights of both sides. If this balance is disrupted, either the employee changes the company or the employer dismisses the employee (in other words, if you want the golden eggs, don’t kill the chicken).

  45. Jane Doe says:

    Is there even a petition for this anywhere? This just looks like typical Canadian complaining with no action behind it. In France, if holidays were nixed down to the Canadian average there would be riots in the streets.
    Canadians deserve such little time off if they continue to be so passive. Granted, I imagine it’s hard to have any kind of emotion when you’re being worked into the ground – spending your life as a work-aholic zombie.

  46. getreal says:

    @ SarcasTECH: I’m sorry but you are ignorant. Why don’t you talk to people around you (not your colleagues) and open your eyes to reality. Good for you that you have such a great job, but you are an exception. Canada sucks when it comes to social care for its citizens and I’m not talking only vacation here. Healthcare, minimum wage, legal aid, EI, welfare… It all just sounds good on paper (and even that not all the time) but try actually using those services. Good luck!

    Also, what’s up with the Government mandating 2 weeks while it gives its own employees min 4. If they believe 10 days is enough, why are they giving their employees double that???

  47. Burnt out says:

    I work for a company that only gives you 10 days and you have to wait a full year to get the 10 days. 1.5 years at this company and I only get 6 days this year because I only worked for 6 months last year. My 10 days won’t start till 2011. Looking very quickly to get out of this company since they don’t seem to care about employees at all

  48. @SarcasTECH. Thanks for the hair cut tip. Didn’t know this was the only ingredient missing from my job hunting formula. Here I was thinking that it required a resume, experience, a good personality, work ethic and, maybe a pinch of nepotism. But thanks to you I realize that all that was missing was a good ol’ fashion American, er, I mean Canadian haircut. You’re a genius! No wonder you’re paid the big bucks with big time off perks. You clean-cut devil you. What’t the name of your employer. I want to reassure them that they’ve hired the right idio–, er, I mean person.

  49. I agree with all the comments, that here in Canada our vacation time (2 weeks) is a joke, especially compared to Europeans. I have many cousins in Europe and they go on wonderful, long vacations every year. And they have a lot of time off. They know how to live and what is important in life. Do you live to work or do you work to live? AND WHY IS IT THAT GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES HERE GET SO MUCH TIME OFF, when we the tax paying public get a losey 2 weeks!!! It’s simply not fair. I say let’s make it an election issue!!!

  50. HMM!! says:

    One Moral of the story ..situations only change if people take action. If companies don’t treat their employees properly ..spread the bad news and vice versa… I have been told that employees refuse to go work for companies that do not have a environmental agendas or have less than ethical business practices… The government is the one we elect and it is there to manage the public needs the way the public wants, make these guys do the job we elected them to do . One life to live and everyone should have the opportunities to be enriched by it and that certainly does not happen strictly at work.

  51. Tim says:

    @Global Competition. Yah we may be getting paid 5x more than China and Brazil but i don’t know if your tiny little brain can comprehend the cost of Canadian living. Let me guess your one of those corporate or government sell outs. Worked for both and it was a big mistake, no one in those places cares about the place they live in, just themselves. Did you ever think that your neighbor may not be able to afford the mortgage any more even though they work more than they use too!! Wait you don’t care. If Australia can afford to pay $20 an hour for minimum wage and and offer 20 paid vacation days a year without huge economic setbacks, what’s stopping Canada for doing both? After all we are supposed to be a powerful country right!? After all most of our money goes to government any ways! and the rest goes to interest and fees, Canada is call a fee country for a reason.

  52. vcurelea says:

    When I came here I was in shock to find out the provisions of the Labour Law. I thought I moved to a colony. Yes it is true 10 vacation days a year and if the employer needs you more than 8 hours a day he can do that without paying OT. It will start paying OT when you accumulate over 44 hours a week. Also this is true to according to Ontario Labour Law employer can have you at work for a total of 44 hours in the first 3 days of the week for example and then let you stay home no OT paid.

    And another thing for example a firefighter can put in 24 hours of work in one shift and then take 3 days off. I was wondering how responsive he/she can be in the 23rd hour of work after responding to 5 events lets say. Are we putting public at risk here because of the backwards Labour Law?

    Labour Law it’s a mess in this country and needs to be reviewed.

  53. Jasey says:

    I don’t get any vacation for the first year, there are no such thing as sick days, and two people cannot have time off at the same time without both having a really good reason. With 9 months into this new job I have taken 1 unpaid day off, and ‘knock on wood,’ I haven’t been sick. I understand its the law and they can get away with it, but because I’m a new employee I don’t deserve any time to myself?

  54. Yam Digger says:

    The argument for better vacation leave is compelling; but as long as our (so called) national leaders are in the back pockets of the nations corporations, it’s just not going to happen.

  55. S. Edwards says:

    I totally agree with getreal! Another case of the gov’t squashing the little guy. Let’s inundate our MPs with thoughts on this topic! You can use this site to find yoru MP by your postal code:

    I worked in the UK for 15 years where I immediately got 22 days off per year upon starting full-time employment. The more paid days off the better we are enabled to manage family commitments, a home life and our own health. These are good investments in this fast-paced culture but because they are not valued, we go without.

    All Canadians have moments in their lives when the must rely on others. Much of the days we take off are not solely for relaxation, much as we hope they will be. Instead, we are often using days to tend to other matters, to assist older family members, to cover school children’s holidays, to take care of ill children or to book time off for appointments or house maintenance matters (for example). In reality, the burden of such actions disproportionately falls to the women in Canadian society so to only provide a measley 10 days of annual holiday disproportionately effects the women in our society. Factor in that we have a large proportion of single-parent families mostly headed by females and you can imagine how doubly burdened those families are.

    Gender aside, individuals, families and society as a whole all stand to gain many benefits beyond financial gains if employees were provided with more annual leave. I also think that a greater standard provision in annual leave is important because millions of workers lose their holdiday entitlements simply by changing jobs. Those in white collar employment are more likely to be able to negotiate when being hired but the fact of the matter is, most folks do not work white collar jobs. What does that say to you … that our Government supports only 10 days for most of us. Fair? I think not.

    The message I interpret from the 10 day annual leave policy in Canada is that the government has no concept of the impact of stress to its citizens, that it undervalues the so called ‘working class’ , that it refuses to look at how the policy disproportionally affects the already disadvantaged members of our society, and that the work we do outside of paid employment in order to maintain our families is not recognized nor valued simply because an obvious price tag cannot be assigned to it.

    It woud be interesting to see how crime rates in countries with the greatest number of paid days off compare to Canada.

  56. byebyebirdie says:

    bimjim says: “And if you are born a Canadian, get your training and head for somewhere else, where you will get a fair wage and decent working conditions – and a reasonable vacation.“

    Too right! I am a Canadian who lived abroad for many years, returned to care for terminally ill parents and am now at university while my children are at school. As soon as we all graduate from our respective schools, we`re outta here .. I`m taking my new degree elsewhere. I would stay if Canadians got more days off .. but that`s not likely in the next 5 years unless we all go ballistic on our MPs! Anyone started an online petition?

  57. jan says:

    After 18 years of work for one company and 4 weeks of vacation I was pushed (company closed and mooved to USA) to find new workplace. I start from the beginning to colekt my vacation. Start from 2 weeks. Have to work some years to get a little more. I’m 58, work 10 hrs a day or night and have just a little. Gready “people” looks only for profit, not for other humans. Canadian factories dosn’t even have windows in the walls, scientist said, people are more effective in work with natural light, but who cares????????????/ Some european country work 35 hrs/week, in Canada 40 is not enough, sounds like we just start to build our country, we are verry poor and just start a 20 century, we have to work double hard.
    So when WE going to be the same as civilised country (eg. South Africa ?)

  58. Lart says:

    @SarcasTECH…2 mths vacation, 10 days stress leave, 10 personal days…Sounds like you are a teacher.. A profession I highly recommend for people who want a lot of vacation time.

  59. Reg says:

    Two weeks is the typical starting minimum. We also shouldn’t forget the other holidays that are celebrated throughout the year (typically 10 days by most company calendars). Most companies increase vacation time with increasing years of service and typically max out at 6 weeks. Unfortunately, the days of serving a company for more than five years have long gone by for many people.

    Although my first impression was that of “entitlement”, perhaps this could be converted into a real opportunity to alleviate the current unemployment situation (at least in Ontario). All workers could be granted more vacation time, essentially reducing their overall net income, and more workers could be hired to relieve the increased absence. I doubt any company could afford the increased overheads associated with such a scheme.

    Of course, the ultimate solution is to work for yourself where you will have the opportunity to reap all the benefits your current employer is keeping from you or to reward yourself with those enjoyed in other countries. Running your own business will permit you to serve yourself with all the entitlements you see fit. It won’t take you long to realize that riding on someone else’s coat tails to satisfy “your needs” is not that bad after all.

    Now, remove the silver spoon, rose coloured glasses, smell the coffee, and be thankful that you have a job at all! Apparently the recession is over for too many people.

  60. ASHU says:

    I think half of the Medical problems in Canada are stress related mostly happening at work. Government take millions in taxes to cover Medical expenses. I hope If they allow more vacation time, people will feel less stressed and might lower our taxes as well.

  61. As said before me, Brazilian 30 days are contiguous days and not work days, so that includes not only weekends in between your holidays but any bank holiday in amidst your chosen holiday period.

    Second problem is, they *do* have to be contiguous, there isn’t such thing as “a couple of weeks in Jan and a couple of Weeks in June”. It’s 30 days off and that’s it.

    Other restrictions include that your holidays *must* start on a Monday.

    That obviously brings you problems as
    (1) you can’t have a day off for a particular occasion, even if you have 30 days of accrued holiday
    (2) you are required to stick to certain dates to get your holidays to maximise its benefit, for instance, you’d be silly to take holidays starting on mid december as they’ll burn out with all the season holidays.

    So, all in all, Brazilian Holiday time is not bad but the system around how to use your holidays must be one of the most pointless in the world. I do hope Canada doesn’t inspire much on that one.

    Also, I think the UK statutory number of holidays is 23, not 28. I know I have 25 by contract with my employer and that’s slightly above the required minimum.

  62. Eugene says:

    Why don’t we create a facebook site with this referendo and ask for just canadians, and computer savy person willing to set one up.
    Tired Hardworker

  63. Jean-Michel says:

    Fascinating. It is about time that Canadian people stood up and asked for their rights(Like in France).

    And yes you will still find backward or self-serving people that find faults with people complaining to change a wrong. And they will use fear and guilt tactics to fight against change that would benefit the majority.

    In a democracy we are supposed to complain since it is how we expose and change, improve things that are not right.
    Let us get one thing straight It is a privilege for companies to operate and yes we do them a favor when we show up ready to be professional and do our best. Not the other way around.
    In case you don’t get it please go read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
    The right to Dignity. The right to work.
    And the laws have be there and made for the majority to achieve this.
    Being so close to the USA we are in a war mentality where we need to do our utmost to achieve victory and meet Stock Holders expectations.

    We are forgetting that we have become so much more efficient(Ex.: Steel Industry like Dosfaco where 1 person can produce today in 2010 15 Tons of Steel in the same time in took to produce 1 Ton 30 years ago! Unfortunately that person is not paid more and 14 other people lost their jobs) So we should be paid more not less. And definitely work less.
    So it is great to read the comments including the ones where they would want us to shut up and accept being done wrong. Of course!
    Where I lose my dignity and my rights I am stolen part of my life and the laws are there to change that. Getting less greedy labour laws is a right.
    So what needs to be done can be to contact by phone, show up, mail or email your local MP, MPP and get involved in groups that are for social rights. Like they do in Europe.
    We don’t live to work, we work to live. And there is no War so why so much push and fear mongering in some companies to produce.

    Again it is incredible how efficient we have become. Each hour we work we produces now much more than we used to yet we are paid less? Why.
    Stop catering to the Stock Holders. Companies are there to efficiently manage the production of goods and delivery of services for the benefit of all the people not just a few gifted ones that know how to play the Stock Market!

  64. l taylor says:

    Info For Graham Innes (There are some other bits of information, such as Bank holidays (Statutory holidays) potentially being included in this, but just let an employer try to get away with that!) IN THE UK (where entitlement is less than in many other European countries)

    “The basics of holiday rights”
    There is a minimum right to paid holiday, but your employer may offer more than this. The main things you should know about holiday rights are that:

    You are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks paid annual leave (28 days for someone working five days a week) •part-time workers are entitled to the same level of holiday pro rata (so 5.6 times your usual working week, eg 22.4 days for someone working four days a week)“

    In Canada the minimum is far too often considered normal by employers, many of whom resent even this meagre entitlement (and consider that not all workers actually get to take ANY time off at all when so many are working 2 or more jobs out of sheer necessity) Time off one job is simply time to work at the other job, necessary (along with having to rent part of your family home to others) in an effort to try to keep your head above water. Maybe not quite so much the case of workers in the public sector, but very much a reality in the private sector. The balance is way off, and many, many people are burning out. Relatively few workers supporting so many who are off on disability leave is not economically sound and the costs to healthcare are ludicrous. Treat people with respect and allow them time off to rest and rejuvenate and Canadian production might just start to creep up towards that of other countries where the population is under less stress from overwork.

  65. I was horrified when I moved to Canada to learn that 10 days of vacation was the norm and consider I have worked so far for 2 Fortune 500 companies here. Well employees of the companies get that but I have always been on contracts with no benefits hoping to be converted to an employee only to be let go each time after years of dangling hope. I came from a 3rd world country where 3 weeks was the starting norm and 4 weeks after 3 years with more weeks added after 10 years and 15 typically.

    I do appreciate Canada for many reasons but overworking people is an aspect I would like to see changed. It does feel like slavery. I see people so stressed out, working late hours beyond what is expected, carrying home work, sacrificing family time and mental restoration time. I recently spoke with a taxi driver who came from Russia and he was not sure whether he really preferred being in Canada due to the poor quality of life he has here as he was stressed out trying to make ends meet. I was told that Germany considered that it does not want lawsuits for accidents due to burnt out workers so it provides adequate vacation time by law.

    It appears most agree this topic needs to be addressed. We are glad that it was raised here on Workopolis. Recognizing that there is strength in numbers and it is beneficial to have an organized forum, I’d like to propose that Workopolis use it’s strength and clout to create an online petition at the national level and have it presented to government for action. I have learned via other people’s comments here that government workers get 4 weeks vacation so it should not be hard for them to treat all of Canada’s workforce similarly.

  66. Graham says:

    There was a story along these lines in the Globe, I think, not long ago. Canada scored even with China in number of days off (statutory holidays plus mandated holiday time). The US was better than Canada by 4 or 5 days. Lithuania was the top country in Europe for days off. (I’m looking for ways to work there….)

    I found out recently that in most Canadian provinces, if a statutory holiday such as Christmas Day or New Year’s Day falls on a weekend (as Dec. 25, 2010 and Jan. 1, 2011 will), the employer is required to give an alternate day off, except in Alberta, so Albertans may get even less holiday time than other Canadians.

    See the URL:

  67. Robert says:

    I was shocked at my first job here in Canada. “You will get 10 days paid vacation and 4 sick days”. Sick days? What are those?

    What if I am sick for one week?

    This is just another topic with days here. The whole society is build on right for the employer (check your contract). The employee has almost no rights and it is the fault of the citizens that it has gotten so far. Modern slavery would be a good expression for this. Think about it.
    I hope it will improve soon because Canada is a great country.

  68. Joe Public says:

    I recently moved back from the UK where I lived for over 6 years. Since moving back I have been researching this exact topic. It is amazing what having 28 days vacation does for a person. Everyone is so much more happy in the workplace, not to mention relaxed and less stressed. I find it amazing that in Canada we only get 10 days vacation. Its antiquated and frankly shocking that a country of our stature is so backward toward some basic needs. Do you think if every Canadian signed a petition for more vacation time it would make a difference?? Sadly I’m not sure it would. I love my country but I really wish it would hop into the 21st century.

  69. Nina says:

    I believe that we really need a way longer vacation… 2 weeks is absolutely not enough… those who say it is, are just MONEY MONEY MONEY oriented.. but what about HEALTH, human piece of mind… remember people, we are not ROBOTS not working machines that will drop dead tomorrow, and not remember the beautiful moments of vacation… no, we are even rush rush rushing into our vacations, and to me 2 weeks vacation is exhaustion more than vacation… so I wish we had at least 4 weeks of vacation… as I was a kid, I remember Germany deeming 6weeks vacations, PAID that is… not including Stats holidays… that was seperate… so that was heaven, because my parents used to take us every summer somewhere, and the Kids, or your kids will remember the precious FAMILY moments… so it is also about your families, and spending time with your kids until they are still young… because that time you cannot bring back…

    so definietly, Bring On a Longer Vacation… and as far as the Jobs Go, there will not be less Jobs, no, there will be More Jobs created, because now as some peop’s are vacationing, there will have to be some jumpers to jump in and complete the tasks for the Vaccies…

    there you go, so think about this… and the world will be a happier place… plus every country will profit from Vacationers, as we invest into each other’s Tourism…

  70. Ross Holder says:

    Working as a software developer, my very first job offered 3 weeks’ vacation. Now with more than 15 years’ experience, I typically demand a minimum of 4 weeks and get as much as 6 offered when starting a new job. I disagree with @getreal insofar as calling this treatment “an exception”. It’s an exception when you look at individual job types across the spectrum perhaps; but a lot of people work in the tech sector (particularly in Canada) so it’s really not THAT unusual.

    But the author’s talking about “minimum leave” requirements for ALL job types, and I have to agree Canada should be more in-line with the world. I don’t think the non-union food services sector (as one example) deserves less vacation time than me working as a programmer, or a doctor or lawyer for that matter — and it wouldn’t affect the amount of vacation I would demand or expect from an employer.

    Great article!

  71. Are you forgetting about the Canadian paid Statutory Holidays? New Years Day, Good Friday, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day and here in Ontario, Family Day? That equals 19 paid days off. You do the math. I think we are very lucky in this Country and that is why it is one of the best places in the world to live.

    @getreal: “Canada sucks when it comes to social care for its citizens….” ??? Are you kidding me??!! My Aunt is on Government pension and Guaranteed Income Supplement. She gets almost $1400.00 per month and is living in a nice Government subsidized apartment geared to her income. Her Drug Prescriptions cost her $2 each!!! That comes to much more than I earn working full-time and I have no drug or dental benefits!!! I also have friends that have been on Social Assistance for short periods of time when they needed help. I, myself have been a recipient of E.I. at least twice after becoming unemployed.

    You’d better talk to some more people and do more research. The Social Resources in this Country are great. Go ask somebody that lives in the U.S.

  72. Jean-Michel says:

    Fascinating. It is about time that Canadian people stood up and asked for their rights(Like in France).

    And yes you will still find backward or self-serving people that find faults with people complaining to change a wrong. And they will use fear and guilt tactics to fight against change that would benefit the majority.
    In a democracy we are supposed to complain since it is how we expose and change, improve things that are not right.
    Let us get one thing straight It is a privilege for companies to operate and yes we do them a favor when we show up ready to be professional and do our best. Not the other way around.
    In case you don’t get it please go read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
    The right to Dignity. The right to work.
    And the laws have be there and made for the majority to achieve this.

    Being so close to the USA we are in a war mentality where we need to do our utmost to achieve victory and meet Stock Holders expectations.
    We are forgetting that we have become so much more efficient(Ex.: Steel Industry like Dosfaco where 1 person can produce today in 2010 15 Tons of Steel in the same time in took to produce 1 Ton 30 years ago! Unfortunately that person is not paid more and 14 other people lost their jobs) So we should be paid more not less. And definitely work less.
    So it is great to read the comments including the ones where they would want us to shut up and accept being done wrong. Of course!
    Where I lose my dignity and my rights I am stolen part of my life and the laws are there to change that. Getting less greedy labour laws is a right.
    So what needs to be done can be to contact by phone, show up, mail or email your local MP, MPP and get involved in groups that are for social rights. Like they do in Europe.
    We don’t live to work, we work to live. And there is no War so why so much push and fear mongering in some companies to produce.

    Again it is incredible how efficient we have become. Each hour we work we produces now much more than we used to yet we are paid less? Why.
    Stop catering to the Stock Holders. Companies are there to efficiently manage the production of goods and delivery of services for the benefit of all the people not just a few gifted ones that know how to play the Stock Market!

  73. Mary Poppins says:

    Well, I think the reason behind the two weeks vacation time, which I know is mandated for new employees – isn’t it so employers can ensure and make it difficult for new hires to look for other work? I seriously believe that is the case, and any additional weeks earned thereafter is based on length of employment. For 4 weeks vacation, I think you need to have 5 years of company loyalty under your belt. With the lack of job security these days, 4 weeks vacation is rare to obtain.

    The other reason I can think of, if someone uses all 4 weeks up at once, that means the employer may not find someone who can substitute and handle your work for you while you’re on holidays. Finding a temp. may be an added inconvenience.

    I do agree with the guy who said that the government mandates 4 weeks for its own employees yet the law is a min. of two weeks – that does sound hypocritical.

  74. Luke says:

    It probably would be better for our health if were were given the option to go beyond 10 days. Say 15 days? Time spent with relatives abroad is more meaningful. I mean realistically many Canadians being migrants have relatives overseas.

  75. Tom D says:

    My Canadian company has even taken away all of the statutory holidays that are granted by law. It seems that if your union agrees to this as a concession, it’s a legal move. My union agreed to this change during contract negotiations, signed the document and then, eleven days (11) later put it to a vote. The contract was turned down by the employees so they held another vote where it passed by 0.2%.

    Now I thought that statutory holidays were mandated by law and the law was the law. How silly of me. It appears that in Canada, a law is only law so long as there is no agreement, such as a collective agreement (union contract) between two parties that bypasses, overrules or supercedes the law, in this case the law regarding statutory holidays. It’s all perfectly legal – you just have to have two parties agree to it.

    So, who wants to rob a bank? All we have to do is get two people to agree to it in writing and using the above logic, which seems to have worked regarding statutory holidays, we should be able to legally rob a bank… after all, we agreed to it in writing.

    All kidding aside, we should not only bring the number of holidays up to date with the rest of the world, but also the way they are administered. Holidays should be transportable from one company to another. If you have worked the requisite years to earn getting three-four weeks holidays with one company, that should be the minimum that you should start with if you change jobs/companies. In this day and age, when almost no one will be working the same job at which they started and most will go through three or four companies due to “downsizing,” “rightsizing,” “globalization,” “tightening our belts,” “realigning our strategic alliances,” “working with our industry partners,” “reassessing our mission, vision and guiding principles,” etc. it is rediculous that we have to start all over again at two weeks (if we can get two weeks) holidays every time we’re put out of a job.

  76. Raza says:

    Yes, we do deserve more vacation time. Canada and US is the region with the lowest workers benefits.

  77. Jamo says:

    In Finland we do have 30 days holiday. 24 days for summertime (2nd of May – 30th of September) and rest of the time for winter time.

    I’d say if you get only 10 days in a year off time, it is a robbery :-)

  78. Kevin says:

    Canada’s track record for treating it’s workers with respect and devaluing their contribution has always been an embarrassment. Not only with regard to the scant vacation time we receive but also in the legislation that our government has passed. For example there is a piece of lawmaking that states that a worker can now be dismissed if he/she is absent from work too often for non-culpable absences. It is a piece of legislation which has been subject to widespread abuse by employers who have now been given a blank cheque to fire anyone for being sick for legitimate reasons too often. It is clear that this government only wants to keep us working as much as possible for as long as possible until we are no longer useful to them or we become a bad investment and then we are summarily disposed of. It has been proven time and again that well rested employees who have a good work/life balance are far more loyal to their employers and measurably more productive than those who d!
    o not have these benefits. Not enough employers see their employees as assets and the benefits they give them which help make their lives better balanced, as an investment. Instead they see these benefits as a drain on their revenue stream that shows no real return. France for example has a wide variety of benefits (including very generous vacation time) that help to improve the quality of life for its citizens. And their productivity is three times that of the US and Canada.

    So for those of you who believe that such benefits must be earned or believe that they are a bad investment yours is short term thinking that fails to see long term and widespread gains of these and other benefits. It is n not a treat that any valued worker should have to sit up and beg for. It is what forward thinking progressive companies offer in order to create a positive and engaging corporate culture. It is what successful companies do to attract and retain the best talent. And it is what Canada needs to do in order remain competitive and profitable.

    Remember, no one ever went to the grave wishing they’d spent more time at the office.

  79. Steve says:

    I Completely agree with this Article, I work for one of those shitty companies, which require approval for vacation time. i’m hourly, In 3 years of service I have only have 14 days of approved time off, 3 of those were sick days, two more were vacation days used to get a holiday off which i should have already gotten off. my company refuses to payout unused overtime, and instead rolls it over to the next year, which would be nice if they’d let me take it. So now i am currently pursueing legal action against my company under section 5 of the Workplace Standards Act, where in it entitles me to my two weeks under Canadian Law, and denying me such would be a rather large fine to the company, which will cause them to fire me of course, which i will follow up with a wrongfull termination lawsuit against them

    the issue is in the Act the vacation is not clearly stated, that the employee is actually intitled to take it, but because of a clause allowing the managers to ensure proper staffing, so they could technically deny you your vacation, but on the other hand you are intitled to it, and the artile is incorrect it is actually 10 months of service to obtain your two week, i’ve spoken to the MOL about this

  80. Elaine Mudge says:

    Canada is totally backwards not only in terms of vacation entitlement, even though medical studies have proved that two weeks off consecutively has productivity benefit increases of 40 %. We need a week to relax and a week to enjoy. Then we need other time off so 4 weeks should be the legal minimum. long weekends are not the answer. But also many folk are employed in an IT designated job and because they are not even covered by the employment act have no rights as employees to restricted overtime. How many work on a base 24/7 week availability with no overtime pay. Additionally, other more enlightened countries allow their people to accrue time off. So if you need a couple of days 3 months after starting, then you can take what you have accrued each month you have worked. Also when you change jobs you take you leave entitlement with you to your new employer. So if you have reach 3 weeks at the first job that is where you will start the next time. Not go back to the miserable 2. This has nothing to do with how the Americans work. More productive people work more efficiently so we would beat them every time. Besides, while they are our closest economic tie that is no reason to not spread our economic wings further. All our eggs in one basket, utterly daft.

  81. KP says:

    Ten days are definitely not enough especially when you travel abroad to Europe. There is nothing worse than your employer making you feel guilty for taking vacation time and then complaining that they do not get to get away. My boss hates when I leave on time at the end of the day – but I value time spent with my family and can’t afford to have a cleaner and cook!

  82. Valerie says:

    This article makes me fell lazy, and ashamed for being Brazilian, and can take UNTIL 30 days out per year.
    Just to make clear, according to Brazilian laws, people work 220 hours/month, and about holidays, this year 2010, we have 12 days off during the week, and for 2011, we’ll have only 8 holiday, this is because they are not transferred to the next Monday as in Canada, and lots of them end up coinciding with a weekend.
    When you say Brazil mandates 30 days per year, depends on the month, it means you will take between 18 and 22 business days.

    According to Brazilian laws, the worker can take at least 10 days per year, and no more then 30 days off, ONLY if he/she doesn’t have any delay or missing any day during the year, and most of workers prefer taking 20 days per year, and split this in two periods.

  83. I totally agree. I’m a Brit who has made the move over here to be with my Canadian boyfriend. I’ve kissed goodbye to 30 days holiday + bank holidays a year, and will be saying hello to nothing for year 1 and 10 days in year 2! It’s an abuse of human rights surely? At my last company you got 20 days + bank holidays in your first year of joining, which was pro-ratered depending on when you joined in the year. Year 2 it got increased to 25 days. In your 6th year of service it increased to 26 days, and so on until you got to your 10th year where they stop you at 30 days. Also in your 10th year you got the option to either permanently increase your holiday to 31 days or take an additional one-off 5 days during your 10th year, but you stay on 30 after that. I’m thankful that we’re heading back to the UK in a couple of years!

  84. John M. says:

    There is French saying: Travaillez moins, produit plus/ Work less in order to produce more. Vacation in North America is practically inexistent. I came from Europe almost 10 years ago and I had a shock to go from 5 weeks to only 2 weeks.
    If we look at the millions of antidepressants pills consumed yearly on the North American continent than we can see that we have a big problem. People just don’t have time for themselves and are continuously tired, stressed out and on the go.

    I strongly believe that a reduced work week combined with 4 weeks mandatory vacation will boost productivity beyond our wild immagination. People will be well rested, have more time with their families and therefore more productive. All the wining about loss productivity is nonsense.

  85. Mei Chan says:

    I absolutely agree with all the comments. We should discuss this openly with the Ministry of Labor. Employees have been working long hours since the last 15 years, min vaction time with pay for 10 days is really nothing. Canada is one of G8 and G20, and should follow the other countries’ vacation time policy, at least for comparison with other countries who are G8 and G20 members. Canada is way far behind than other 1st developing countries. It is very disgraceful.

  86. john tzikas says:

    This is not because we are workaholics it’ because management in Canada is greedy . The managers where I work take plenty of days off. I cannot afford a vacation in anyone’s lifetime. You get treated like its a privilege to work for slaveowners here. That’s just how it is that’s why they promote people who never speak up , to push wages down and make pitiful conditions acceptable. Compared to working overseas and Europeans I’ve talked to Canada is a joke in terms of employer-employee interaction.

  87. AK says:

    YES. but we need to earn it. Canada’s the greatest country. With regard to Ontario’s socialistic policies, we’re growing in to a demographic that feels entitled due to the last 8 years of crushing small businesses, the heartbeat of economic activity in Canada.

    Let’s learn from 1st generation Canadians. They’ll educate existing and 2nd generation Canadians of what the face of global competition looks like. My immigrant friends don’t complain…they take what they can get when they can and simultaneously aspire to better without looking for handouts.

    Before answering questions like the one proposed, think like a business owner who has to take all the risk (ie. unions, legal system, competition, etc) so that YOU AND ME can provide for our family. If you could get the same productivity from your workers paying them 1/3rd the price…would you? So the answer isn’t that owners are greedy, they just want to find ways to reduce costs so they could afford to do the things employees and customers want.


    By the same token, every business in today’s modern business climate should have employee profit sharing! But…the business must be built up first by employee and owner.

    Then…yes…let’s take a month off to venice:)

  88. AK says:

    In my opinion, Union “leaders”, not unionized employees are the most unethical and morally crushing forms of “legalized” manipulation. In fact, an article some time ago stated that union leaders treated employees the worst because those employees had nowhere to go!

    If anyone questions this…look at Greece, France and the automotive unions in North America. Talk about crushing the economy. Oh…and let’s not forget the government unions. A friend of mine makes $24.50 + vacation on contract to answer calls about how to read a document, employed by the government. A licensed millwright or electrician has to go through a 4 yr apprenticeship + approx. 2 yrs of journeyman experience to get this. Who do you feel povides more to our economy? All of this ties into the exhorbitant costs of government’s unnecessary spending, which increases costs to us (and uses resources that we the citizens can put to use better).

    Ps. If anyone wants to know the real reason taxes go up…ask the government pensions. If investments don’t go well…guess who gets to pay those fat government benefits??? The private sector:0(

    So that is why private sector employees deserve more time off. But the public sector is already taking it with higher wages and fatter benefits!

    Pss. I once waited 13 hours for a union worker to open a panel because his friend who was beside me couldn’t because he was a millwright and not an electrician. It took 15sec to open and 20min to do the work.

    Psss. As contractors, we bet a government employed worker he could not walk around for 2 weeks with a 2×4 without being questioned and not do any work. We lost the bet.

    This is why we need 1month off in the private sector but cannot afford to have it!

  89. Shawn Bishop says:

    These types of stories say just how ‘backward’ labour is in Canada. Perhaps it’s finally time to start thinking about people instead of money. After all, business is just another example of behaviour. Since it’s created by people, it can be controlled by people. So, lets get together and take control, eh?

  90. David Pegg says:

    Britons regularly get 20 days holiday after the first years employment (sometimes 6 months),
    25 days with some companies and that does not include long weekends/bank holidays.
    Canada really needs to catch up.

  91. R. Hiebert says:

    Vacation time is a good incentive benefit to be employed instead of self-employed. A good master agreement or employment contract should include a graduated grid of days worked relative to vacation time earned. Overtime should also be compensated by extra time off. If these are in place, Canadian workers would get what they have coming to them. Canadians should get a couple more long week-ends for starters. The boss doesn’t get more vacation time.

  92. Mike says:

    Well, what can I say.. I am from Romania. I have 3 weeks of vacation a year. But here it is reasonable to go about 2 weeks of vacation a year. Asking the employer for all your vacation days that you are entitled to could be a risky move and you must be cautious about it. Generally it is okay to go off 1 week during the Christmas – New Year period and 1 week in August, something like this. I heard that people in France and Germany are doing very good when it comes about vacation time, so I think it’s time to start learning French and German. ;-)

  93. I totally a 100% agree with Jenna. I just got back from a cruise where I got the chance to meet a lot of Brits, Australians, and Europeans, all enjoying their 6-8 weeks vacation, who laughed every time I told them how many days I was in Europe for (7 days). It is embarrassing how few days I get for vacation. I am getting unpaid holidays, but that to me is just as insulting. Last year I had to beg for a raise that matched what they took away for the unpaid holidays I took. On a daily basis, I put in about an extra hour’s work, not to mention the big city commute takes me about an hour there and back. I rarely get to take any time away for lunch without my boss nagging me about how they never take time away from the desk for lunch (all then masked as jokes, letting me go to grab lunch as a major favour they do for me). This is ridiculous. All this, while the sword hangs over where “you know if you don’t bring in enough $$ for the company, you are just drawing upon it !
    and you become a liability” threat. I will vote for anybody who will even breathe a word of an extra week of dignified vacation and not pay out of their own pocket to take time of. Sad, stressed, and really not looking forward to the coming cold months where I don’t get to see the sun during my weekdays ever! I am usually underground commuting before the sun rises, and back underground well after the sun has set to rush hom! Stressed in the city!

  94. Gonzo says:

    To improve YOUR working conditions YOU should contact your MP and explain to him/her the REAL emploee-employer picture. The labour code should be improved this fall and the changes made should be in effect in 2011. The minimum vacation time will be 20 days (4 weeks) per year, starting from year 1 of your full-time employment. There is a need to be adressed regarding the so called WORKING POOR people in Canada. Earning the minimum hourly rate of 10 bucks when YOU are working full time and quite often without any benefits is a JOKE and in reality YOU are a modern slave in a country called Canada. These issues should be adressed as soon as possible.

  95. Haroon says:

    Canada is such a beautiful great country, Canadians should get more time off so they can go and see more of it ! Thank you for this idea !

  96. Pierre says:

    I agree with Jenna,
    By the the way could you please start a petition Jenna?
    It’s about time to start one

    It is a shame for country like Canada to have just 10 days of vacation in the 21-st century.
    I’m sure many businesses are keeping the pressure to keep the number unchanged. Those are the companies without a vision and under average IQ…
    If the number of vacation days is increased it will increase employment numbers and decrease stress plus number of sick days.
    Relaxed and “recharged” workers will have higher productivity and better attitude.
    To further decrease unemployment numbers I suggest to mandate limit of overtime to 2-4-hours max. per week / per person.

    Some people are working 55-65 hours per week and others are struggling to work 15-25 hours per week or do not work at all.

    It’s out of balance.

    Let’s start to bug (email etc.) our MPs about these issues maybe they will start to finally move in the right direction.

  97. Yes, more vacation time to spend with family, and a shorter work week, such as a 4 day work week. There would be less stress.

  98. K-pup says:

    i beleive that vacation time is ridiculas in Canada and is completely unfair.
    I have lived in Canada my whole life and seen other countries who live healther and happier in the Eastern side of the world.

    Don’t get me wrong, their are employers who offer different bonus’s when joining a company, every second friday off, or summer fridays, but realisticly those companies are just hard to get into! Nor do they accept anyone into their companies or have much openings do to employees not wanting to leave what they have because they know its better than everywhere else.

    Also, to add to the stress of local Canadians, if you decide you want to switch jobs or goto another companie, your vacation time is cut to a minimum due to you being ‘new’ to the company. Well after working 10 years in the industry and slowly earning weeks and weeks of vacation time, to be cut back down to 2 weeks or 10 days is ridiculas. All hail Canada, the voltunary slavery work force just to feed our stomaches and not live outside in winter wonderland.

    Canada is a joke! and so is the government! If we say, oh we want more vacation time, the government doesn’t stand up for us, it stands up for their own pockets and say “oh well the standard of living will go down and blah blah blah and you can’t expect Canada to be what it is without working hard and the workforce blah blah blah” Canada government, you took a 12% increase to your pockets and yet we took a nose dive! how is that fair!!! Government workers should make less money than everyone else, they get a decent pension after 25 years and full beneifts!!!!!!!

  99. Jaime says:

    Most federal government jobs start at 15 days per year. We also have other leave for things like personal sick time, family sick time, doctor’s appointments, and a personal day. This means that I get to use my 15 days for an actual vacation. At my old job, I had only 10 days and used it up during the year for dental appointments, staying home with sick kids, and running errands. I don’t make as much money as I could in the private sector, but quality of life, is definitely better. Vacation time equals happier, healthier employees and better productivity.

  100. Brenda says:

    All I have to say is about how I feel. Life passes us by too quickly. I’m tired and I always feel like I need a vacation, which probably proves that I don’t have enough time off. I suspect that the majority of Canadians feel the same as I do.

  101. Susan says:

    This needs to change NOW. If we people dont speak up or do something about, then we will be sentenced to this for years and years and years to come. It is unacceptable for us as canadians or any other employee working in Canada to receive 2 weeks vacation per year. My family in southamerica and in Europe gets 4 to 6 weeks per year and Canada only 2? And it is considered one of the best places to live in? Yes it is one of the best places to live(regarding security etc) but not the best place to have a decent lifestyle.

  102. Cyber Hawk says:

    Well, you want capitalism, and you got it.
    In the Czech Republic (the EU), where I lived 18 years before I came to Canada, they have free university education and 4 weeks of payed holiday by law. Some companies even offer 1 week more.
    Software developers tend to have about 2000 US$$ of monthly net income, and lot of companies offer meal vouchers plus other benefits.
    And job usually RUN AFTER EMPLOYEES, to the contrary where here in Canada one must literally kiss asses in order to survive.
    After 3 years in Canada I came to conclusion, the Canadian job market is a joke, and the rich elite in this country doesn’t want to do a damn thing to progress with this country, hell the communists in Eastern Europe were far better!

  103. Kunle says:

    I will be running for federal office and my main agenda is to bring this legislation to parliament making it mandatory for employers in Canada to give minimum 21 days of vacation for employee as their base vacation days. Stress and sickness has dominated the country on people’s lives and the governement cannot even see it.

  104. Darryl Y. says:

    Low number of statutory holidays, was it ll last I heard? Low number of holidays in Canada.

    Workman’s Comp a disaster in all provinces in Canada according to a productivity expert.

    Sociologists saying that businesses in North America have redefined the meaning of loyalty.

    Large extended families broken up to a small family by businesses trying to make it easier for mom and dad and kids to be mobile – widespread damage to our society by making life more uncertain, where loneliness and emotional problems are rampant.

    Widespread consumerism, encouraged by advertising and marketing, results in a cascading social effect where some individuals are forced to spend more and more to survive socially. If you don’t believe that, then ask yourself how expensive your interview outfit needs to be to get a good job in your community.

    Lovely. Time to move to Brazil.

  105. Helen says:

    I hate thinking about vacation – it depresses me so much. Like others who have commented I came here (to Canada) from the UK. Going from 4 weeks to just 2 is so dismal! I was lucky enough to work in travel and get 3 weeks but still it’s not enough (and unfortunately they wanted me to work 24/7 so I decided the pay was not worth it even with 3 weeks vacation)! I want to spend at least a week visiting my best friends and family back home and have some time to see the world but with 2 weeks it’s not possible.
    I detest how Canada is governed by the US and their thinking.
    How can Canadians have ‘one of the best qualities of life’ when they have such little holiday time. No time to enjoy a week of skiing in their wonderful mountains, no time to explore outside of the province one lives in.
    When my boyfriend started work (he is Canadian) he got the stat holiday – nothing until he had been with the company for a year. It astounds me how this is thought of as productive. HOW??

    I will fight to get more holiday. If I am not successful then I will think hard about returning to the UK, earning GBP, and getting 4 weeks + holiday – then coming back here to visit my partners family for 2 weeks and actually relaxing for the other 2.

    While Canada has some plus points (it’s beautiful) the work ethic here (Work Work Work – and don’t even think about time off) really sucks.

  106. Kendra says:

    The interesting thing is that sometimes you have to decide for yourself what is more important for your well-being – more money (more purchasing power) or more quality life (lifestyle). that is the reality in canada.


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