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N.B. residents feeling mixed on one-time holiday for Queen Elizabeth II

Click to play video: 'One-time holiday for Queen Elizabeth II receiving mixed reactions in N.B.'
One-time holiday for Queen Elizabeth II receiving mixed reactions in N.B.
WATCH: Across Canada, provinces have laid out plans to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II on the day of her funeral next Monday. In New Brunswick it will mean a one-time provincial holiday, meaning most people will have to work. As Robert Lothian reports, that decision is receiving mixed reactions – Sep 14, 2022

The decision to observe the National Day of Mourning in New Brunswick with the closure of schools and government offices on the day of the queen’s funeral has received mixed reactions.

With the intent of honouring Queen Elizabeth II, Sept. 19 has been named a one-time national holiday and, in some provinces, including New Brunswick, a one-time provincial holiday.

However, for private sector businesses and employers, the holiday has been made optional.

Read more: N.B. to observe National Day of Mourning for Queen Elizabeth II on Sept. 19

“These quasi-holidays make it difficult for those of us that are working, we’re not exactly sure who’s working and who’s not working. So, I think if we’re really going to commemorate the queen, it should probably be something that’s provincewide, probably national,” Jo-Anne MacDonald told Global News Wednesday afternoon.

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MacDonald, a consultant, said she was happy to hear the province would commemorate the queen’s passing, though it’s been the cause of confusion with some clients.

“I was just speaking with somebody who referred to themselves as the peasants who are continuing to work.”

Click to play video: 'Canada declares federal holiday on Sept. 19 to mark Queen’s state funeral'
Canada declares federal holiday on Sept. 19 to mark Queen’s state funeral

In P.E.I., Sept. 19 will be considered a one-time statutory holiday.

For Mary-Clare Jacob, who moved from England at a young age, observing the National Day of Mourning was a “great step,” that is certain to aid residents become “more in-touch” with the Royal Family.

Jacob doesn’t fall under the category of those who do not have to work on Monday, but that won’t prevent her from keeping an eye on the queen’s funeral.

“I work with seniors, so we will have the TV glued on. In fact, it hasn’t really come off since this happened,” Jacob said of the queen’s passing.

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“And we’re going to have our cup of tea, and we will probably have some biscuits with marmalade – but I prefer marmite.”

Read more: Canada announces a holiday to mark Queen Elizabeth’s death. Here’s who gets it

Initial word of the one-time holiday stoked concern among the business community, given the lingering financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Louis-Philippe Gauthier, vice-president, Atlantic for the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses.

“Let’s not forget we’ve got all the pandemic debt that’s been accumulated throughout the pandemic. On top of that, many are not back at their revenue levels, and on top everyone would recognize we have inflation,” Gauthier told Global News.

Click to play video: 'N.B. woman recalls meeting Queen Elizabeth II three times'
N.B. woman recalls meeting Queen Elizabeth II three times

According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses, previous cost analysis conducted by New Brunswick on the Family Day statutory holiday in February revealed the observance costs the private sector $47 million in lost productivity.

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Read more: Queen’s funeral set to be ‘largest farewell this country’s ever staged’: Royal biographer

While Gauthier said they are pleased New Brunswick did not follow in the footsteps of P.E.I. by implementing a statutory holiday, they would have preferred a model that did not take workers off the job – or at least kept students in the classroom.

“If their employees aren’t able to find child care for the kids that are going to school, they might have to stay home, so that might provide additional challenges to some businesses already in a tight labour market, for some that aren’t even open with full hours. “

In the meantime, New Brunswickers continue to have options for paying tribute to the queen, with books of condolence online, at Government House, or at the legislative assembly. The province also plans to hold a memorial service, though the details have yet to be released.

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