Division News Article

Why is November 12th a day off this year?

November 8th, 2018

In Canada and many countries around the world, November 11th is the day when we honor the sacrifices of people in armed conflicts. In Canada, we call it Remembrance Day. In the US, it’s known as Veteran’s Day. Other names include Armistice Day and informally, Poppy Day. Most countries recognize that the end of World War I occurred on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month of 1918. Alberta continues to hold the day as a General Statutory Holiday, sometimes called a “Stat”.

Assistant Superintendent Mark Thiesen is the person who drafts each school year calendar. He puts in all the dates and then offers it to school communities and the school board for adjustments and suggestions. We asked Mark about the holidays in a typical Pembina Hills school year calendar.

Alberta’s Employment Standards legislation provides the direction for placement of holidays in any work year calendar. A school system calendar is obligated to follow these rules.

When November 11th falls on a Saturday the “Stat” is observed on the Friday before, and when it falls on a Sunday, the “Stat” is observed on the following Monday. As an Alberta general statutory holiday, all employees are entitled to a paid day off. That’s why there is no school on November 12th this year.

This is also the reason why when November 11th falls on a Wednesday, students get a day off in the middle of the week. When November 11th falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, we tend to also take Monday or Friday off as well. This helps with the difficulty teachers and learners have with the disrupted momentum. When November 11th falls on a Tuesday we might schedule a single day off. But this results in Monday being an isolated instructional day. This can be very disruptive to our students and teachers. The same happens at the other end of the week when November 11th falls on a Thursday. We use those opportunities to create a four day weekend. A short break like this, mid-way through the first semester, actually has proven positive effects. So it’s a good thing when we can do it.

November 11th is one of four general holidays that are fixed to a particular calendar date. Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day are also fixed to specific dates. When they fall on a weekend, similar rules apply. Good Friday and Easter Monday are also set to certain dates, but they move according to a 400 year-old chart that lines up with the spring equinox. The confusing placement of Easter’s date is explained in this video.

Alberta recognizes several other Stat holidays which also impact our school year calendar. These include:

  • Thanksgiving – second Monday of October
  • Family Day – third Monday in February
  • Victoria Day – the Monday before May 25
  • Labour Day – the first Monday of September and the topic of a previous article, Starting School After Labour Day

See this news article for more information about our schools’ Remembrance Day ceremonies.