The B.C. government announced last Friday, February 9th, they are shifting BC Family Day to the third week in February to bring it in line with the rest of the country.
“Moving Family Day is the right thing to do for businesses small and large, and is better for families who may be spread out across the country,” said Premier John Horgan. “This gives families an opportunity to schedule and spend more time with loved ones from other provinces.”
However, the local business community is not happy with the decision.
“Alberta Family Day is one of the busiest weekends between Christmas and spring break,” comments Susan Clovechok, Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce (CVCC) executive director. “The social benefits of Family Day are not going to be realized by our hospitality and tourism industry-focused businesses, and the economic benefits are not going to be realized by our business community.”
She says for our valley, “there is no win in this change. No win for Albertans; no win for British Columbians.”
Andrea Tubbs, incoming president of the CVCC, says her initial reaction to the news is disappointment.
“Our region has spoken quite vocally about where we stand,” said Ms. Tubbs. “For this area, aligning with the third week is not a benefit to us. It’s disappointing (our concerns have) fallen on deaf ears in Victoria.”
The CVCC undertook a survey to address the proposed change when it was under consideration. The survey was open from the end of November to the third week of January. Almost 69 per cent of respondents supported the Chamber’s statement that BC Family Day should remain on the second weekend in February. Voting to align BC’s Family Day with the rest of Canada was supported by 26 per cent of respondents, with almost 4 per cent reporting it made no difference either way.
Respondents had the opportunity to provide comment within the survey. One comment read, “It’s such a no brainer. I can NOT believe that they are thinking of changing it!” Another said, “If it is moved to align with the other provinces many employees will not actually get a holiday and will have to work because the 3rd weekend in February is busy for many employers. Moving this holiday to the 3rd week will also increase employee wage costs by having to have people work on the busy weekend.”
In response to the survey results, the CVCC concluded that the Columbia Valley business community strongly supports the CVCC Board of Director’s position to have BC’s Family Day remain on the second weekend of February.
Family Day was established in 2013 in B.C. following consultation that recommended the holiday be either on the second or third Monday of February.
The move will take effect for the 2019 BC Family Day. Not all businesses are opposed to the change. In the press release from the Office of the Premier, Surrey Board of Trade CEO Anita Huberman stated she welcomed the change.
“The misalignment of Family Day causes inconvenience, increased costs, and lost opportunity for businesses of all sizes and in various industries,” said Ms. Huberman. “The economic benefit from this change will greatly assist our members, and especially small- and medium-sized businesses, across the province.”