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Yukon announces public sector holiday for Queen’s funeral; schools to close, courts staying open

Territorial government is going ahead with a one-time holiday on Sept. 19
Britain’s King Charles III, center, and other members of the royal family hold a vigil at the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II at St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh, Scotland, Monday Sept. 12, 2022. (Jane Barlow/Pool via AP)

The Yukon will be joining other jurisdictions across the country in marking a holiday to observe the National Day of Mourning in honour of Queen Elizabeth II on Sept. 19.

The federal government declared a federal holiday to mark the Queen’s funeral. Following the lead of the federal government, the Yukon government announced in a Sept. 14 press release that it will be a one-time holiday for territorial public sector employees.

Public schools and other public-facing services in the territory will be closed for the day, the government announced.

However, a joint notice from the Supreme Court of Yukon and the Territorial Court of Yukon objects to the government’s decision.

Courts will stay open on Sept. 19, according to the notice.

“Courts have made this decision in recognition of the courts’ role in upholding the administration of justice and ensuring access to justice,” reads the notice.

In an email to families of students and staff, the department of Education recognized the short notice and apologized for any inconveniences to families, such as child care for the school-aged children of those workers who do not get the day off.

The email indicates schools will be making adjustments to their calendars to make up for lost instructional time.

“You will hear from your school soon with information about how they have decided to adjust,” reads the email.

The email also mentions the “complex, but important relationship” between Indigenous Peoples and the Crown and Canada’s “painful history of colonization.”

“We will continue working with Yukon First Nations to ensure that all schools meet the needs of Yukon First Nation students and offer all students opportunities to learn about Yukon First Nations ways of knowing, doing and being,” the email states.

The government’s release suggests the private sector also participates in the day of mourning in some way.

“Private sector employers and organizations and other levels of government are encouraged to observe the National Day of Mourning in ways that are suitable for their employees and operations,” reads the release.

In the release, Premier Sandy Silver said mourning the Queen is an important part of cherishing her legacy.

“We encourage all employers to recognize and reflect on the National Day of Mourning in a way that is appropriate for their employees,” he said.

“Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II led an exceptional life dedicated to public service and helping Canadians. On behalf of all Yukoners, I extend our sympathies once again to all members of the royal family.”

Several other jurisdictions, including British Columbia, the Atlantic provinces and Manitoba, have determined they will be closing government offices.

Saskatchewan, Ontario, Alberta and Quebec will not be recognizing the holiday.

The Queen reigned for more than 70 years before her death on Sept. 8 at the age of 96.

Sept. 19 will end the official period of mourning.

— With files from the Canadian Press

Contact Dana Hatherly at

Dana Hatherly

About the Author: Dana Hatherly

I’m the legislative reporter for the Yukon News.
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