Day of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II recognized in Manitoba

Most Manitobans will still have to head to work Monday as the Manitoba government recognizes Sept. 19, the date of the funeral in the U.K. for Queen Elizabeth II, as a day of mourning.

Premier Heather Stefanson announced Tuesday in a news release, non-essential government services and offices will be closed but schools and child-care facilities will remain open.

The day will not be a provincial statutory holiday as such a move would require legislative changes, said Olivia Billson, the premier’s press secretary, in an email to CTV News Winnipeg.

Chuck Davidson, president and CEO of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, said in an interview prior to the announcement the government’s approach makes sense.

“It’s a real tight turnaround for a lot of employers that would have employees coming in, they would’ve had events, they would’ve had meetings – all sorts of things planned for that Monday,” Davidson said. “I get that there’s a uniqueness to this. This isn’t going to be an ongoing thing that happens annually. We understand that but I think the best thing is just that we obviously recognize this as a day of mourning.”

The decision follows an announcement by the federal government Tuesday to make Monday a federal holiday and national day of mourning.

“We will be working with the provinces and the territories to try and see that we’re aligned on this,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said earlier on Tuesday. “There are still a few details to be worked out.”

Federal government employees will get the day off.

Seamus O’Regan, Canada’s Labour Minister, tweeted federally-regulated employers are welcome to follow suit but aren’t required to do so.

The rules for provincially-regulated sectors and companies, which affect the vast majority of Canadian workers differ across the country.

“If the provinces follow suit and announce a statutory holiday that’s where the rubber really hits the road,” said Dan Kelly, president and CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

The CFIB had urged provinces not to make it a paid day off.

In Quebec and Ontario, the day of the funeral will not be a holiday but Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick will have a one-time statutory holiday.

“It’s the paid statutory holiday element that is the worry for small business owners, in that they would either be forced to close or if they remain open in some cases they would be forced to pay time and a half,” Kelly said.”

Ron and Rhonda Neufeld, who spoke to CTV News Winnipeg outside the Manitoba Legislature, where they signed a book of condolences for the Queen were supportive of Ottawa’s decision.

“I think we’ve come to love and appreciate her and I think this is a way to hold that up,” Ron said. “We just really respect her very much and appreciate her service for 70 years. Incredible.”

But they said they understand the concerns of making it a paid day off for everyone.

“I know for business owners that would be a bigger deal,” Rhonda said.

Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Deputy Grand Chief Cornell McLean told CTV News by phone he respects the federal government’s decision to make Monday a federal holiday out of respect for the Queen who served as the head of the Crown which signed Treaties with First Nations.

The premier encourages Manitobans to take a moment to reflect on the Queen and wants schools to observe a moment of silence Monday.

There will be a 21-gun salute on the south grounds of the Manitoba Legislative Building to coincide with a federal memorial service in Ottawa.

The province said there will also be a royal gun salute of 96 rounds to honour each year of the Queen’s life.

A provincial memorial service is also slated for 7 p.m. Monday at St. John’s Anglican Cathedral.

Church bells will ring 96 times prior to the start of the service.