Countries across the world celebrate Labour Day, which typically falls on May 1, designated International Workers’ Day or “May Day”. In Canada, Labour Day has been celebrated on the first Monday in September since the 1880s. The holiday’s origins can be traced back to April 1872, when labour leaders in a number of industries staged a parade in Toronto to support the Toronto Typographical Union’s strike for a 58-hour work week. At the time, union activity was considered a criminal act under Canadian law, and 24 union leaders were arrested for their involvement.

Other, similar demonstrations were subsequently held to protest the arrests, prompting Prime Minister John A. Macdonald to vow to repeal the “barbarous” anti-union laws. Parliament passed the Trade Union Act later that year, legalizing union activity in Canada. The Toronto Trades and Labour Council continued to hold parades in the years that followed to recognize the contributions of Canada’s workers to their country, while similar events also spread to the United States. On July 23, 1894, the government of Prime Minister John Thompson declared Labour Day a national holiday.

Today, the school year typically begins following Labour Day, and for many families, the holiday represents the end of summer and a final opportunity to travel before a return to the routine of fall. We at NorthBridge Consultants would like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday!